DOB Wants to Repeal WDI

February 10, 2011
By Ed Murphy

The Governor’s budget would “repeal” existing funds from the Workforce Development Institute.
For ten years, WDI has strengthened New York’s regional economies and now DOB blindly proposes to shut us down. WDI provides workforce intelligence, technical assistance and training grants to local businesses and labor; offers safe childcare to 1,700 families, serving 2,500 children and has taken the lead in fostering partnerships between state government, business, labor and environmental advocates to create green jobs.

Our Green Trades program trains union members to build and retrofit energy efficient buildings according to US Green Building Council standards. WDI was awarded a $1.5 million Smart Grid grant by the US DOE, to add 450 new IBEW outside line workers. Unions and businesses see immediate benefits! Schweizer Aircraft, near Elmira, was able to fulfill DOD contracts for helicopters because of WDI.

Bus mechanics across the state have received specialized training. Farm workers, immigrants and disenfranchised youth have found & kept work through WDI programs.

WDI needs your help, now!  DOB is taking back funds provided by earlier Governors and legislators. “Repeal” would close WDI. Without last year’s money, carried forward, WDI could not pay rent, staff salaries; offer grants, help businesses and unions. New York would have to turn back federal funds and families would go back to paying up to 20% of their income for childcare.

We need to act now. The Governor can amend his budget and save WDI. We are proud what has been accomplished for New York. DOB must not be shortsighted! They are sabotaging working families, business, unions and the Governor’s hopes to revitalize our economy. It will take this new administration more than one year to set up new programs. WDI is already in place;  a trusted resource, on the NYS Workforce Investment Board; supporting labor representatives on each of 33 local WIBs; has strong relationships with the NYS AFL-CIO, Building Trades; with local governments and DOL, NYSERDA, OCFS, OTDA, PSC, SED, the NYS Smart Grid Consortium, local unions, business and educators. In addition, WDI is helping leaders of labor and environmental groups build a common agenda.

I ask that you write today. Ask both the Governor and DOB Director Megna to correct their mistake. More information is available on WDI’s website, www.wdiny.org. Their Annual Report may be downloaded, is transparent, showing where companies and unions have been helped, how money is spent, what has been accomplished; and you can hear the voices of workers, parents; hopes for their children, see lives expressed through photography, essays and video. I have a letter there explaining why WDI needs help. Please write today to Governor Cuomo and DOB Director Robert L. Megna, c/o State Capitol, Albany, New York 12224 and by e mail at:

Contact Governor Cuomo  & Contact Division of the Budget: Comment Form

WDI needs help now!

Thank you

Ed Murphy

February 11, 2011

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