WDI Remains Active - Impact of COVID-19

Vivian Benton


WDI Remains Active and Focused

The impact of COVID-19 has had profound effects on employers, workers, parents, and children alike. WDI staff has quickly shifted to working remotely and remains available to NYS employers, unions, and parents.

Regional Work & Grants Program

  • WDI Regional Directors continue to work with employers and unions to gather information, provide guidance, and support programming. Please feel free to reach out to share information about how your business is being impacted by COVID-19, or challenges you anticipate in the near future. 
  • WDI’s review committee for our small grants program is still meeting every other week, and contracts for programming are continuing to go out the door. That said, we anticipate a shift in prioritizing the types of programs we support. 

    We’re starting to hear from employers that are interested in pivoting production to meet a key need caused by the COVID-19 Crisis (PPE or sanitizing / cleaning products, for example) and by others that are pivoting to keep staff employed. With the Governor’s mandate that only the workforce for essential services remain in place, still others need to cross-train employees quickly. These are great examples of projects we would support.
  • We’re a small non-profit that moves quickly. We’d like to hear from employers and unions around what type of support makes the most sense now. Recommendations made by NYATEP and partners (the community of workforce development professionals) to federal legislators include small grants to businesses for operations, payroll loans, expanded shared work, and easier access to unemployment insurance. We think these recommendations make sense for a federal stimulus package, but are interested in whether employers and unions have different training or other short-term needs where WDI could help with any adaptations or cross-training needs. Contact your Regional Director to discuss any ideas you have (specific Regional Office information is located at the bottom of this link above).
  • We’re also hearing that some previously-approved programming will be rescheduled. Again, we ask that you contact your Regional Director so that we can extend contracts, where necessary.


Child Care Subsidy Program

The Child Care Subsidy Facilitated Enrollment Program remains available in the eight (8) counties where it has existed which includes Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Oneida, Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga*. The quickest method for parents to apply is via our Online Prescreening Form and WDI staff will follow-up.

We’ve made a series of recommendations around expansion of the child care subsidy program for essential workers during this crisis.

For additional information about the child care subsidy program, please visit our website. Families can also contact our regional team members:

Capital Region
Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga* & Schenectady Counties
*funding for Saratoga County had been depleted prior to the pandemic.
Program Associate: Betty Bellino
email: bbellino@wdiny.org
phone: 518-272-3530

Oneida County
Program Associate: Mary Mott
email: mmott@wdiny.org
phone: 315-793-5305

Onondaga County
Program Associate: Brittany Buffum
email: bbuffum@wdiny.org
phone: 315-426-0378

Monroe County
Program Associate: Naquetta Davis
email: monroechildcare@wdiny.org
phone: 585-530-2402

Erie County
Program Associate: Malika Lee
email: mlee@wdiny.org
phone: 716-632-1900

Resources For Remote Training - For Parents/Teachers/Employers

We’ve had requests from employers, parents, and educators for help or ideas on engaging with distance learning. Here are a few online training programs we recommend. Please visit their websites and social media directly to learn more.

  • AlbanyCanCode is a non-profit located in the Capital Region that is offering online coding tutorials for high school students. AlbanyCanCode also works with Schenectady Community College to offer coding boot camps that lead to (well compensated) employment. This non-profit is expanding to other regions (however, it is currently available remotely regardless of your region).

  • Tooling U-SME and 180Skills are both tried and true online manufacturing training.

  • ed2go is online training in a variety of fields from Arts and Design, to Math and Science, to Writing.

  • Cengage is online training for audiences ranging from K-12 to Professionals.


Other Activities

We remain committed to working on longer term activities as well, such as strategies for development of a workforce for a variety of sectors.

If you have opinions or recommendations on how a business could best be supported once this passes, we’d be interested in hearing from you. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s suggestion on short-term loans converting to loan forgiveness if employees are brought back is interesting. Other suggestions?