The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated job displacement and unemployment trends — precipitated by advancements in technology and automation. Although these disruptive forces impacting the workforce are not new, they do exacerbate long standing social inequities embedded in our pre-COVID economic landscape.

CalMatters and the Milken Institute hosted a discussion to reimagine traditional economic development approaches that prioritize diversity and inclusion while also identifying new ways to fund and structure advancements in workforce and infrastructure development. This event took place on May 11.

The Post-COVID Future of Work

Given the disparate impact from the pandemic on women, frontline workers and other vulnerable populations, along with how the Employment Development Department’s crisis has exposed critical holes in the state’s safety net for displaced workers, what reforms to the state’s unemployment insurance, childcare and EITC systems can help those in need of immediate assistance? For those disproportionately displaced from the workforce, how can higher education adapt upskilling and apprenticeships programs to offer new career pathways?


  • Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblymember, California State Assembly 80th District
  • Rob Lapsley, President, California Business Roundtable
  • Sarah Bohn, Vice President of Research, Public Policy Institute of California
  • Aleida Ramirez, Single mother and low-wage worker, Concord, CA

The conversation was moderated by CalMatters economic inequality reporter Jackie Botts.

This event is part of the Future of Work discussions, a series of virtual events hosted by CalMatters and the Milken Institute exploring California’s recovery from recession and progress toward an economy centered on equity, mobility and opportunity.

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