To: BALCONY Members &
BALCONY, at its recent Advisory Board
meeting in Albany on February 10, 2011, decided to urge its members and
friends to support the efforts of the Workforce Development
Institute to be reauthorized and financed in the 2011/2012 New York
The following is a message from Mr. Ed
Murphy, WDI Executive Director.
I have spent the last ten years building WDI, a
non-profit that serves working families, unions, businesses, the disabled
and offering childcare funding for low income
families. Governor Cuomo's budget office proposes to reclaim funds
that previous Governors and legislators gave us and that would close our
operation. I am sending this letter asking for help;
that letters and e mails to be sent to the Governor and Director of
Budget. Please click on the email links and send a note to the
Governor and Budget Director letting them know WDI is an asset
not a liability for New Yorkers.
February 8, 2011
The Governor's proposed budget will
close WDI on March 31, 2011. I am asking you to alert Governor
Cuomo and Budget Director Robert Megna that this is a mistake, damaging
working families and counterproductive to the new administration's
strategy to strengthen regional economic capacity. This memo offers
an overview of our situation and a strategy to address it.
Annual Report, explains what we do for working men and women, our service
to business and labor and our role as a third party intermediary between
business, labor, government and environmental organizations. In the
last year, WDI has operated on reappropriations from previous years,
providing targeted and flexible services where government agency funds
have been restricted. These operating funds have enabled us to develop
regional capacity, strategic alliances with businesses and unions, and
bring in millions of dollars in Federal funds.
The Governor's proposed repeal of our
reappropriations is a mistake; part of a general sweep of available funds
by staff in the Division of the Budget (DOB). They do not know what
we do. We need those funds to keep our doors open. Even if we
were to get new money in the coming budget, it would take us six (6)
months to get contracts in place, signed and approved by the Attorney
General and Comptroller; and then gain access to any new funds. On
April 1, 2011, we could not pay rent and staff salaries or offer services
without the funds we already have contracts for. Those contracts
would not be valid if funds are repealed, as is being proposed.
Further, no bank would lend us money
without valid contracts in place to back it up. We have no
assurance of a budget being passed on time. Also, as long as the
word repeal remains in the proposed budget, state agencies will not be
allowed by DOB to reimburse us until the word repeal is removed with the
Governor's signature. That is what happened last year, but we had
some reappropriations that were not repealed and were able to continue
using them until the word repealed was removed when the Governor signed
the 2010-11 budget. This year they propose to repeal everything.
STRATEGY and MESSAGES:
The first phase of our strategy
toward enabling WDI to exist after March 31, 2011 is to get Governor
Cuomo to amend his proposed budget submission to include the
reappropriation of our
funds. This is the highest
priority for us now. Under the NYS Constitution, the Governor has
30 days to amend his budget, but recent practice established by the
Budget Reform Act, gives him only 21 days from February 1, 2011, when he
submitted the budget.
Therefore, we must get all of our
allies focused on immediately communicating to Governor Cuomo and the
Director of DOB that the repeal is a "mistake". We need
to get letters and e-mails to both the Governor and Director of DOB
immediately. Our message is that
this was done by DOB staff as part of
a larger move to save money without them knowing what WDI does and how
effective our work is, and that it supports the Governor's efforts to
strengthen New York's economy.
The Annual Report has plenty of
examples of success for letter writers to use; of where we help
businesses, workers and families, region by region. We do that with
flexible funds; filling gaps in available resources, distribute money
quickly, when existing state agency programs are unable to respond,
especially during a transition in government. The Governor wants to
streamline programs and make them more responsive. It will take him
time to establish his programs, and we are already operating, in place
The next message is that these
operating funds have enabled us to bring in millions in federal funds,
like the Smart Grid money which has created 65 outside lineworker jobs in
five (5) months, is on track to create 150 jobs per year for 450 jobs in
three (3) years. We were supported by Governor Paterson, NYS Smart
Grid Consortium and NYSTAR in this application and one of only two (2)
projects in NYS to receive funds and mentioned by the PSC in their energy
plan. Our successful childcare program, which serves 1,700 families
and 2,500 children, will end if we do not have people to staff it.
So will our community college program for the disabled. Without our
operating funds, we cannot support these supplemental programs and our
federal funds will not come into the state.
Further, we will no longer be here to
provide workforce intelligence, green jobs training and serve as an
intermediary between, state agencies, organized labor, environmentalists
Please get all our partners in your
regions and across the state, businesses, those we have trained and other
partners to write letters this week. We must act now. Each of
them can use the messages I mention and those in the Annual Report, on
Page 3, and examples on the following pages to draft their letters.
It is less important whether the letters are perfect. We need lots
sent now from all over the state.
should be very clear and specific.
We want the
Governor to renew our funds
as seen in his 2011-12 proposed budget.
Bill Numbers S2803
Aid to Localities
Pg 404, Line
14-22, WDI Operations, $4,823,000
Pg 405, Line
28-31, Erie Canal, $1,354,000
Pg 405, Line
32-34, IBEW $108,000
Pg 405, Line
49-52, ATU, $307,000
Pg 405, Line
53-57, Bldg. Trades, $325,000
Not all of that money is left to
spend, but these line items focus on the original appropriations from
Please distribute the Annual Report
and e-mail copies of the report to your complete personal and
professional network asking them to write to the Governor and Budget
Director immediately. The Report is also available on our web page:
Letters should be
Honorable Andrew M
Albany, New York
Robert L. Megna,
Albany, NY 12224
While letters are
most important they should also e-mail messages through the following
Division of the Budget: Comment Form
Please let me know if you need more
copies of the Annual Report. While we are focused on the Governor
and Director of the Budget now, we will need to continue our focus on the
Legislature to renew our funds. Legislators can also communicate
with the Governor directly, so please ask them to do that making the same
case, that WDI is an essential partner. We will also need them in
the next phase to get funds for next year.
Please share this information with
your personal and professional networks by e-mail.
People are speaking out through
e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. We are standing up for working
families. This strategy will work if we use these technologies,
engaging our personal, social and professional networks and get them to
act, NOW. Tomorrow could be too late. Each day counts.
The more we flood the Governor's office and DOB with information showing
how valuable WDI is to New York State, the better chance we have of
continuing to help the workers of New York.
For more information, please contact
Ed Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, in
advance, for your help.
The Workforce Development Institute (WDI)
uses workforce intelligence to identify new skills required by New York's
workforce, and then develops programs to teach these skills.
WDI provides funding
for training when training couldn't happen otherwise.
WDI works with
business to strengthen current skills and teach new ones, allowing union
workers to get and keep jobs.
WDI provides training
to help all workers (union and non-union) learn new technologies to keep
up with the changing nature of work.
WDI provides timely
skills training to help individuals get and keep jobs.
WDI prepares the
workforce for jobs in emerging green sectors, such as renewable energy,
smart grid technology, and energy efficient building renovations.
WDI brings together
labor, business, environmental groups, government, and other
constituencies to seek new avenues of growth for manufacturing in New
WDI supports low
income and underserved workers, promoting diversity in the workplace.
WDI helps keep jobs in
New York State.