Management Team

Amy Desjardins

Amy Desjardins, Assistant to the President for Internal Operations at the New York State AFL-CIO, has been appointed to serve as Interim Executive Director of the Workforce Development Institute (WDI) by the Executive Board. She has also served on the Executive Committee of WDI since December 2011. In her role at the New York State AFL-CIO, Amy coordinates with Area Labor Federations and Central Labor Councils across the state to strengthen their effectiveness while working to implement labor’s programmatic goals. In her time serving on WDI’s Executive Board, she acted as a liaison and supported the coordination and communication of workforce challenges and trends across the state with Area Labor Federations and WDI regional centers. Amy will use this interim period to transition to full-time Executive Director in the fall. As an upstate transplant from Staten Island, she currently resides in the Capital District with her husband and son. An avid hockey mom, Amy enjoys spending time with her family when she’s not fighting for workers’ rights.

Allison Bashkoff

Allison Bashkoff joined WDI as Chief Financial Officer in 2011. She began her career at Honeywell Information Systems in Boston working in the manufacturing sector. After moving back to the Capital Region, where she was born and raised, Allison held a variety of leadership and CFO positions in both financial services and healthcare before arriving at WDI. Allison’s diverse work experience in various industries for both large and small organizations, coupled with her strategic thinking, have made her an integral part of WDI’s leadership team as the organization has grown. She holds a BA in Economics and Finance from Boston College and an MBA from the University at Albany.

Dan Cullen

As WDI’s Director of Field Services, Dan Cullen manages and coordinates the activities of WDI’s ten Regional Directors, and therefore has a broad statewide view of our work. Prior to his current role, Dan held the position of Regional Director for the Capital Region. In this capacity Dan supported programs in a variety of industries and facilitated workforce solutions including employee training, skill development for unemployed individuals, and improving employment accessibility for immigrants, refugees, and individuals with disabilities. 

Prior to joining WDI, Dan spent several years in the staffing sector, recruiting for businesses in manufacturing, warehousing, and financial services. He then went on to the NYS Department of Labor where he was involved in the design and operation of programs aimed to help long-term unemployed individuals return to the workforce.

In 2017, Dan was named "40 Under 40" by the Albany Business Review. He is on the Board of Directors for the Capital District Women's Employment & Resource Center, and is active on the Advisory Boards of the Upstate Alliance for a Creative Economy (ACE) and the Occupational and Environmental Health Center. Dan is a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in Political Science and History.

Lois Johnson

Lois Johnson is the Director of Workforce Strategies where she works on scalable solutions to 21st century workforce challenges. Prior to WDI, Lois served as the Chief Strategy Officer for Innovate+Educate working on building skills-based economies in New Mexico as well as nationally. She also served as Director of Workforce for the State of New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions where she led a statewide reorganization of the public workforce system, including consolidation of 41 workforce centers, development of a new demand-driven service model, and system-wide staff re-training. Lois was the founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Employment and Resource Center (WERC) in New York’s Capital Region, noted for successful workforce training programs for low-income women.