Michael Bernick, the former director of the California labor department, the Employment Development Department (EDD), joined the Milken Institute in February 2004, as a research fellow, focusing on job creation and workforce development projects.
Bernick was the EDD director from 1999 through January 2004. He is a graduate of Harvard College, Oxford University (Balliol College), and the Boalt Hall law school at the University of California, Berkeley.
Since joining the Milken Institute, Bernick has been active in workforce projects throughout California, including projects of job placement for the long term unemployed, workforce preparation tied to major infrastructure projects, skills upgrading for low wage workers, training for the emerging health care workforce, and training tied to the rapidly growing social media/internet commerce firms. He hosts an Autism Job Club for adults with autism and is on the board of AASCEND, the adult autism group of Northern California.
Bernick’s most recent book is "The Autism Job Club" (second edition, 2018), with Richard Holden, which sets out individual and collective strategies to improve employment among the growing neurodiverse workforce. He is the author of three previous books on employment: "The Dreams of Jobs" (1985), "Urban Illusions" (1987) and "Job Training That Gets Results" (2006). He is also the author of "Transit Villages in the 21st Century" (1996) with UC Berkeley Professor Robert Cervero. Bernick writes a monthly column on employment for Forbes.com, and in recent years has been a contributing editor to Zocalo Public Square and contributor to the Fox & Hounds site.
A collection of Bernick's papers and writings, related to job training in California and California government, has been established in the California State Library. Bernick resides in San Francisco.