WDI Sounds Workforce Solutions

The Workforce Development Institute (WDI) is a non-profit organization that partners with NYS businesses, unions, and community organizations to create positive workforce outcomes. WDI began in 2003 as a partner to the NYS AFL-CIO and Area Labor Federations to provide workforce training and education services to regional and local unions. Since then, WDI’s role has evolved as demand for its services have grown.


Steve Melito: Hey, welcome to New York State Manufacturing Now, a podcast powered by FuzeHub. I’m your host, Steve Melito. And today, we are here with members of the Workforce Development Institute. Welcome, everyone.

Lisa Futterman: Hello.

Eliot Creswell: Thank you. Good to be here.

Dave Goodness: Hi, Steve. Thanks for having us.

Steve Melito: All right, fantastic. So I think to get started, probably the best thing to do would be to go around the table here, have you introduce yourself and maybe tell us a little bit about what you do. And then at the end, Eliot, we’ll come back to you and ask you for more information.

Eliot Creswell: Excellent. Well, thanks again for having us. We’ve had a long standing relationship with FuzeHub, and we’re always happy to tell our story with friends and allies. My name is Eliot Creswell. I’m a policy analyst at Workforce Development Institute based in Troy, New York. But very often I get around the state and work with a lot of my colleagues, which I really enjoy.

Dave Goodness: I’m Dave Goodness. I’m the Regional Director of Workforce Development Institute in Central New York, and my main goal is to work with business, industry, community groups, unions, what have you, and collect what we like to call boots on the ground intelligence for the purposes of using our flexible phoning sources to help companies retain skilled needs that they have in our workplace.

Lisa Futterman: Hi, my name is Lisa Futterman. I’m the regional director for New York City. I do a lot of similar things that Dave mentioned. One main thing that we’ll talk about today is how we help manufacturers in the city.

Steve Melito: So Eliot, we’ve introduced ourselves, a little high level discussion. What more can you tell us about the Workforce Development Institute? What should people know? How do you help manufacturers in particular?

Eliot Creswell: Yeah, it’s a great question because we’re not necessarily an organization that you would think exists. As far as we know, there isn’t necessarily a direct analog in other states that people might be familiar with. So we are a private not- for- profit. We’ve been around for the better part of two decades. We operate statewide. We have a staff of roughly 30 people. And there’s essentially two sides of the house. One is, it comes from what Dave and Lisa talked about, which is workforce development with a particular focus on energy, manufacturing, building trades, organized labor, those sorts of things. And we can get into that in a little bit. And the other side of the house is our childcare subsidy program, which serves select counties around the state. We have staff dedicated to that, and we reach out and help a lot of families and our funding and a lot of our guidance comes with the generous support of the New York State Senate. We’re very grateful for their ongoing support. And occasionally, we have funding from other areas. So we have offices in Albany and Troy that allow us to interact with organizations and centers of government and executive agencies and whatnot. And then in addition to Lisa and Dave, we have eight other regional directors positioned in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Plattsburgh. Our capital region director is based in Troy. We have a regional director in Rock Tavern, which is Hudson Valley, lower Hudson Valley in White Plains, New York City, and Long Island, and Mohawk Valley.

Steve Melito: So to think about this as an org chart, are there 10 regions?

Eliot Creswell: That’s right, yep. And they’re more or less divided along the regional lines. Historically, we came out of the Area Labor Federation county guidelines in the boroughs. That’s kind of the regions that we follow. But we are flexible enough that, for example, if Lisa and Dave or any of our regional colleagues need or desire to work together for the benefit of a project or an employer, they have every liberty to do that. And so we’re not bound by jurisdictions necessarily. Essentially, if we have the skills and tools to bring to bear on a project, we can go ahead and do that. And we have a ton of expertise and a ton of talent and experience on staff. So we do have our county regions, which each regional director is very proud and works their tail off to represent, but very often we’ll collaborate across those lines.

Steve Melito: So no matter where you are in New York state, if you’re a manufacturer, you can access Workforce Development Institute for help.

Eliot Creswell: 100%.

Steve Melito: So let’s talk about some of the help that you hear manufacturers need. What’s the biggest, most pressing challenge these days? Dave, we’ll start with you.

Dave Goodness: Well, what I find is manufacturers are constantly calling and asking for supply needs and skills that they have for what they’re trying to produce. The one issue that they have isn’t always the pressing problem that they are experiencing though, and that’s probably one of the big things as regional directors that we can spot on with our onset conversations. And I say that insofar as they may look for a specific skill. Like in Central New York, the big issue is now they can’t find skilled people, and it’s mostly in electro mechanical skilled availability. And it also comes down to pain points. To what degree does a manufacturer want to take that step to do something? Whether they’re going to take on part of the issue by themselves, they’re going to take it on with them with a partnering group or whatnot. In Central New York, there are two counties within the area that we use a group called Street Leaders. And it is a group of funding opportunities, grant programs, technical expertise. It could be through an MEP, it could be through a community college. National Grid, which has a workforce development initiative with loan agencies. What we do is we sit around a table once a month, we call it a secret society, so to speak. And the whole premise of the program is we talk amongst ourselves. There’s 16 people in the organization, and what programs have been developed within the last 30 days? So the other 15 people, because there are 16 in the group, know what other tools are available with the other partnering agencies, which is a huge thing that we do at WDI. And second, what companies have you talked with? And in doing so, if I’ve talked with 14 companies over the last 30 days, the other 15 are going to know about those and in those instances, what we will do is say, ” Okay, we need to either, one, go out as a group to meet this company, so the company can explain exactly what their needs are.” And then each entity that sits around that table can explain to that company exactly what they do. Or we’ll invite them to our meeting to say, ” Okay, if you want to present to us what your issues are,” and those companies can, number one, meet all the individuals, but also get a Rolodex of information. Because if they don’t need it now, they may need it down the road. We’ve been successful in Oneida County. We started the program in (inaudible) , which fell off a little. And we have a program in Cortland County right now. It’s one of the most effective groups that I’ve worked with since I’ve been a regional director.

Steve Melito: Lisa, what are some of the challenges that you’re seeing? The most pressing ones.

Lisa Futterman: Number one really is real estate, and that’s indicative of the New York City region. The cost of real estate, even zones of the city that offer more affordable square footage through some protections that are in place in the industrial business zone areas of the city. Space is hard to come by, affordable space is hard to come by. Very challenging for companies that grow and need to find a larger space. Because the cost of real estate’s so high, it creates a lot of challenges around increasing efficiencies in order to remain competitive and be able to operate out of New York City. Logistics are a huge challenge. Just having garbage pickup, not getting citations for trucks being parked on the street. Lots and lots of challenges around that. The raising the minimum wage is really challenging for some employers due to now really having a higher labor cost than any other part of the country essentially outside of California. And finding skilled labor is an ongoing challenge as well. So manufacturers that want to be in the city generally have a really specific reason for wanting to be there, and it’s worth it to them because they’ve garnered a reputation for being there. Their customers are local. They’re producing really special, artisanal, high skill products that can only be made in New York City.

Steve Melito: Sort of as a follow- up to that question, as I listen to you both speak, it’s clear that the challenges upstate and downstate are not identical. There are some similarities of course. And I guess, Lisa, as a follow- up, the New York City workforce is perhaps more diverse than elsewhere in this state. What are some of the challenges there?

Lisa Futterman: Sure. Well, you notice in an immigrant fueled industry, like the apparel manufacturing industry for example, which still it’s the second largest manufacturing industry in New York City. There’s still a large presence in the garment district, which is in midtown Manhattan. You come across some factories where every single sewer that’s working there is speaking Mandarin or Cantonese and may not have a lot of English language skills outside of their own language. So sometimes bringing workers in that aren’t from the same cultural background can just have communication challenges around that. And WDI has funded contextualized ESL onsite for manufacturers really specific to the job that they are doing, and particularly designed to assist them to be able to interact better with other coworkers, to interact better with customers, to be able to achieve promotion into management positions. Yeah, so you do see that a lot. And so thinking about training needs as well as pipeline. In some cases, like the example I gave of some companies, there are many garment- centered factories where many of the workers or all the workers are Chinese, just as an example. There are other cultures represented as well. Generally, it’s difficult to recruit from that group now because children of immigrants, a lot of cases once they’re second generation are on a college path, maybe aren’t thinking about working in a factory. But there are folks that are interested in a career in a factory. So sometimes connecting to welfare- to- work programs, connecting to people that maybe have been formally incarcerated, people that maybe have had some barriers from cross- cultural groups who haven’t traditionally been connected to manufacturing can be a group to think about. And there are organizations that are running great training programs that are connecting folks that really have a desire to work in manufacturing to those types of skills.

Steve Melito: So the challenges are numerous, they’re diverse, they’re across the state. I’ll tell you, I’ve been to a lot of events where I hear we have a workforce challenge in New York state, but I don’t always hear solutions. But you actually have some case studies of how you’ve helped individual companies. That’s some of what we’d like to explore. Dave, is there a manufacturer you’d like to talk about? A case study of sorts where you went in, they had a problem, and you were able to help?

Dave Goodness: Well, yeah. There’s a company in Cayuga County, Auburn, New York called Courier Plastics. And they in the last year and a half secured a contract with Siemens Corporation. Courier used to make injection mold products or different things such as antiperspirant containers and stuff such as that. Well, they secured a contract with Siemens and now they’re going to make plastic medical devices. And in order to do that, number one, they had to change the culture of the environment in which everybody works. Number one because the way they do business and what they’re going to do business in, all the criterion for what they’re doing has changed. Second, the machinery in which they’re going to be using and the primers in which they’re going to do that has changed. Some of those that were doing some operation work and also doing some machine operating work had to change. The machines were different, the technology’s different. And how they go about securing the cleanliness and the safety issues around what they’re making is very important. In doing so, they’ve had to upskill a lot of their workers. They’ve had to change their environment. They just completed a huge clean room at their facility. And with this contract that they’ve secured with Siemens, not only they’ve already been through the design phase of what they’re going to make, but what they’re going to produce in the future. Some of that’s going to take place on the premise of Courier Plastics in Auburn, New York, which they have a lot of property in which to do. The other thing that we’ve been able to do is we’ve been able to plug them into surrounding economic and technical people within the region, because, again, I’ll emphasize what we do at WDI is goes beyond the flexible funding in which we have, as we are a bridge to other entities that can help manufacturers or other industries as well. And sometimes, it goes unnoticed even in the manufacturing world. And those companies that may not know what to do because there is no, quote, one- stop shop to go to find out what you can do in manufacturing. When you get those questions all the time here, Steve, I know when someone calls up for a lot of different things.

Steve Melito: Sure.

Dave Goodness: But we are a bridge to other defining companies and collaborating partnerships that can help those companies.

Steve Melito: Lisa, is there a company that you’ve worked with perhaps recently that you’d like to describe?

Lisa Futterman: Sure.

Steve Melito: As how you’ve helped them?

Lisa Futterman: Yeah. So one that I’ve started working with recently, and I think we’ll be working together for a while, is Steinway & Sons, who are located in Astoria. They are, I believe, the only piano manufacturer left in North America. It’s an amazing place. I encourage anyone to go on a tour there if you find yourself down in the city. So as you can imagine, you can’t just recruit a piano maker. Even recruiting a carpenter, that person’s not going to have all the skills necessary to make a Steinway piano or be part of the production team that goes into making a Steinway piano. And so the company has to do all of their training in- house. They are a unionized company, but they do have to find their own talent and they do have to do all of that training themselves. And so they’ve been grappling with this for a long time and have been able to meet that challenge to keep going. But they really need to be thinking about the future now and thinking about bringing young people into the company that can stay with them for a long time, learn the level of craftsmanship that is needed, which is probably at least a two- year if not longer process. And so they had a challenge in knowing how to connect with those young people that they wanted to connect with. And they decided that they were going to put together their own in- house apprenticeship program as a trial, initially a two- year program. And so because at WDI, in my role at WDI, I am connected to the career and technical education high schools, I sit on one of the commissions that helps out the schools, one that is focused on fashion, technology, and media. Because of that, I’ve gotten to know some of the key department of education folks that are working with the different high schools, and learned that there are actually five or six high schools that are specifically focusing on carpentry as a main part of those high school student studies. So connected Steinway & Sons to those high schools, and one of them brought a group of about 10 students on a tour recently and got those young people really excited and interested in what’s being made at Steinway, including not just their traditional pianos. They have a really amazing new prodigal, the Spirio, which is a player piano which records. And musicians are writing music on it, it’s recording what they’ve written. They can build upon that. So a lot of really advanced technology going into a really traditional company like that. But they really need to connect with their next group of master piano makers. They have an aging workforce. They have lots of folks that have been with them for a very long time, very loyal to the company. So WDI is playing a key role in helping connect them to those folks, and will likely play an ongoing role in looking at projects where we could support the cost of some of that training that’s going to go into that apprenticeship program once they recruit those folks.

Eliot Creswell: Lisa mentioned apprenticeships and the way she’s been able to build a relationship with Steinway and dozens of other manufacturers. And part of our model that brings a lot of value, even though we’re a relatively small shop, is I’ll use the example of Dave who apprenticeships have gotten justifiably a lot of increased attention over the past couple years, increased resources. It’s seen as a model and a solution to a lot of the longstanding workforce problems, particularly in the technical and manufacturing areas. I’m sorry, apprenticeships have been around for centuries. This is not a new model, but it’s been perfected by the building trades and others, and many folks are looking to adapt that. And through Dave’s hard work, although he’s too modest to really toot his own horn too loudly, he’s educated himself very deeply. He comes out of the trades around apprenticeships, he’s made a ton of connections and he’s become, on some level, a go- to person for that, both in terms of expertise and connections and we have other staff that have done the same thing. Lisa’s been able to educate the rest of us and all our external colleagues on the apparel manufacturing industry, dynamics that are affecting it, needs that it might have. And so just by way of further explaining how we operate, whatever expertise or connections Dave might accumulate or Lisa or other colleagues we have, we can amplify it with each other. We can check in with resources and allies like FuzeHub and the statewide MEP network to see, what are we learning? What part of this is novel? What part of this is scalable? What part of this should be shared? What employers are looking for and what resources need to be brought to bear? So it’s a really great model that allows me to learn from them and vice versa all in the effort of fortifying workforce development around the state.

Steve Melito: So when people think about workforce, sometimes they think about robots and they think about robots taking their jobs. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about this very subject, robots in the workforce. And please consider it very broadly whatever you’d like to contribute to this discussion. But I think it’s a topic of interest.

Dave Goodness: Well, the whole discussion of robots, it all depends on who’s controlling the narrative in the world that I work, so to speak. You hear a lot of news accounts where robots may be taking a lot of the skilled jobs that are out there right now. The one problem that all industries have right now is they can’t find enough people, enough skilled people to handle the job. So the only other option is to look at artificial intelligence and robotics. The one thing that gets lost in this whole discussion, my belief is you may have robotics to replace some of those mundane jobs, but you’re going to need people, number one, to operate, manipulate the robots, to maintain those. There’s going to be a lot of IT skills. And those people that are in those so- called mundane jobs are going to have opportunities to upskill to other opportunities within the company. That is a culture change that’s going to have to be made within the environment of those companies. And to me, that’s something that has to be addressed first. But I’m not here to say or I don’t believe that just because robotics are coming in the workforce that we’re going to get rid of a lot of those jobs. You just don’t see that happening.

Steve Melito: Lisa, what are your thoughts on the entire subject?

Lisa Futterman: Yeah. I mean, in a lot of ways automation is going to help companies be more competitive. And a lot of companies are using aspects of automation that aren’t necessarily replacing anyone’s job, but are allowing a company to be more efficient. And in some cases, jobs are added because with increased efficiencies and competitiveness, a company can grow and hire more people. They may need people with a higher skillset, and so training is really essential to that. Sometimes we’ll help look at issues around an industry and coming automation and see if we can help provide solutions to how to anticipate that and ensure that current workers are able to remain employed and develop skills that allows them to grow with those changing technologies. So an example of that in New York City is a company that we’ve worked with several times now called Shimmy Technologies, which is really looking at the coming automation in the apparel manufacturing industry and so they’ve actually developed a tool, an app which can be used on a tablet to assess the skill level of current garment workers. And it’s in several different languages as well. And the ability of people that might be in a traditional industrial sewing environment without automation currently to be able to adapt to the current changes and to be able to operate equipment and technology and perform aspects around their job on a screen rather than physically sitting on a sewing machine. And so we’ve supported Shimmy’s exploration of that technology in New York. They’ve actually done an international project, but we’ve focused on the New York piece and assessing the skill of New York City industrial sewers to be able to anticipate that coming automation so that we can be involved in supporting development of training that’ll be needed for that workforce so that they can remain in that industry and grow their skill set to be able to retain those jobs.

Steve Melito: And Eliot, what are your thoughts in general on robotics and workforce?

Eliot Creswell: This is one of the fun parts of my job where I largely ride the coattails of my hardworking colleagues. So I’ve been able to benefit from a lot of their project experience, a lot of the information they’ve gathered from the regions and so on and trying to couple it with research that’s going on from places like Center for an Urban Future and other shops like that. And part of what Lisa is underlining is there’s a big question about, what does this all mean for us? Are they coming for my jobs? Are they coming for other jobs? How soon? What’s it going to look like? And on some level, we just don’t know yet. It’s unfolding. On another level, automation and robotics have been with us for quite a long time in one form or another and in another view, what happens is going to be the result of countless decisions that get made by individual businesses that together will start to form trends or industry direction. Meaning if a particular employer wants to be able to retain their legacy staff and move them up the chain while robotics comes in and maybe replaces some of the more mundane or repeatable or maybe high risk tasks, then that’s their decision. That’s how robotics is going to affect their workforce. And we’ve worked with a handful of companies now that really want to take that approach. They built a family of workforce, they want to retain it, they like the people they have, but they realize to stay competitive that they’re going to start to introduce some of these efficiencies and outside technology. But we try the best we can to stay abreast of these discussions, and we need as much good thinking as we can about it. That’s why we rely on the partners we can. We try to stay abreast of this stuff. But again, I think a lot of it’s going to be the result of individual decisions. And we try to be around when those decisions are either being made or those discussions start so we can be on the cutting edge and we can keep our partners in the legislature, in the manufacturing community, and organized labor. We can keep them informed and try to make sure there’s maximum benefit to the workforce.

Steve Melito: Yeah. There’s a lot to think about if you’re a manufacturer, the decision whether or not to automate or to buy robots. And then what do you do? How do you pay for it? How do you implement it? There is a lot to think about. And then at the same time, what your existing workforce thinks about the robot that might be right next to them.

Eliot Creswell: That’s right, yeah. And we all know at this table manufacturers day- to- day are already dealing with a score of challenges, some good, some more sticky than others. So to add this on top of it, they need help. And when they reach out to FuzeHub or to WDI, we can often get that conversation rolling, introduce them to resources, that kind of thing that they may not know are out there.

Steve Melito: It is important for those manufacturers to understand that help is available. In general, how do companies find you? Lisa, in the city, how do they find you? Is it at an event? Do they pick up the phone?

Lisa Futterman: Word of mouth spreads fast.

Steve Melito: Okay, good.

Lisa Futterman: Yeah, I have no shortage of opportunities to work with different companies and entities in the city. It really depends. There are a lot of really great industry events that I’m at. Eliot mentioned Center for an Urban Future. They put out some really great research. A lot of it is around workforce development, and there have been several things they’ve done around manufacturing. There are several other centers like that, that are great partners. The Pratt Center for Community Development. I work closely with my MEP, iTack. In the apparel industry, Fashion Institute of Technology actually runs an event twice a year called City Source, which is a really fantastic sourcing event for manufacturers, contract manufacturers to be able to meet designers that might want to use their products and in fact, in October for manufacturing day this year, WDI is partnering with iTack, FIT, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Pratt Center for Community Development, the high school fashion industries, a number of partners where we’re going to build upon this idea of connecting contract manufacturers to brands and designers, as well as some panels of industry experts. And even a short fashion show from the high school students to be able to show their designs to a room full of high up big brand folks in the room and other designers. So we’re looking at doing that together, but there’s so many opportunities in New York City to connect with companies that could use our help. So I attend a lot of those. I’m out and about in the community a lot.

Steve Melito: And Dave, I’m always amazed upstate, you cover a pretty large territory. When I talk to a company, they tend to know you already. So how is that? How do you get your name out there? How do you get the organization out there?

Dave Goodness: Well, I don’t know if it’s fortunate or unfortunate, but I sit on three workforce development boards in my region. One of those counties, it’s really a two county board, but I also sit on two business development councils within the region also. So my name gets tossed around a lot as the savior, so to speak, which I’m not. I’d like to be in some instances. It’s taken some time. When I came on board six years ago, we didn’t do a lot with manufacturing. And probably the biggest connection I have is with the community partners that are willing to tear down the silos and be willing to bring up everybody around us, no matter who gets the credit. When you work with partnering organizations that do that, and that’s something, again, that I want to reiterate that gets sloshed with WDI. Our funding is flexible and we can do a lot of good with our funding, but sometimes the partnering, the bridge buildings that we have is just as important because those issues that need to be addressed right now might not come with a need of our funding. It may become with another MEP with a training initiative. It may be coming with an economic development partner, so to speak. But those things sometimes go unnoticed. But partnering with those collaborative partners around upstate New York has made it easy for me. And again, I don’t know that any of us have to cold call anybody because our phones ring off the wall, so to speak. And we’re willing to help anybody who calls. But sometimes, that help comes with bridging those partnerships with other partners.

Steve Melito: Right.

Lisa Futterman: I’m sorry. I would just add that we do seek out bigger multi- employer projects or where we see an industry need. We might be the impetus to bring together partners to look at how we could look at solving a bigger issue. That happens sometimes. I’m doing a little bit around reassuring of manufacturing in the apparel industry and helping some companies look at potential solutions of space to create a new factory or helping out with the skill needs of some of the current contract manufacturers that a brand may be using to help them be able to take on more capacity to reassure some of that manufacturing that’s happening. So sometimes we’ll look at a bigger issue and see, how can we insert ourselves into this and be helpful to whatever that challenge is?

Dave Goodness: And another issue in the Central New York region is we were approached by SUNY- ESF to try and help their students get into summer co- ops, internships, and career opportunities. And it just so happened that I sit on the board in (inaudible) County with the plant manager at Addis Industries, the ethanol plant up in Fulton. And they’ve had a hard time garnering skilled people, not only for the ethanol side, which was just bought by the Georgia company, but they also have a malt house. And we were able to broker a meeting to start the conversation of how we can do that and show SUNY- ESF, who now is in the workforce development business, they reached out to us and ask help to do that, but how to plug their students into those highly qualified jobs that they’re going to have now and the potential 30 to 40 they’re going to have when they develop that biomass development out there.

Eliot Creswell: One of the recent developments that’s helped us keep refining and getting the word out there and differentiating ourselves is what we internally are calling the other WDI. And the timing of this compels me to introduce it. Recently announced through the governor’s office was the Workforce Development Initiative, which has the same initials that we have, although it is separate and apart from what we do entirely. Some of our staff sit on some of those advisory boards and are deeply involved in that, but we are the Workforce Development Institute. And so in addition to dealing with getting our name out there, finding partners, working with employers, that was a new wrinkle that we had to get our heads together and say, ” All right, what does this mean? Are you getting questions about the differences?” We’ve gotten inquiries about that. We do not have $ 175 million. That is not our money. That is a separate entity and you can find information about that. But we are the institute Workforce Development Institute, and if anybody ever has trouble finding us online, we can use the institute word to differentiate the two.

Steve Melito: Very good. And we’re certainly happy to help as well at FuzeHub. I know when talking to a lot of manufacturers they can be overwhelmed by the number of acronyms. And so we always do our best to try to translate that into the language that they understand.

Eliot Creswell: Right. We appreciate that.

Steve Melito: Good. Any final thoughts? Anything you’d like to add?

Eliot Creswell: I would just say we were writing some other documents this week for related projects, and we kept coming back to this idea of collaboration because the documents we were writing called for evidence of collaboration. And we just kept coming back that this was an internal discussion. The collaboration is not an exception. It’s what we do by design by default. We can’t carry out the work we do both without each other, our own internal colleagues, without the employers, without the labor unions, without the partners like FuzeHub and the MEP network. So it really gets driven home every week for us. It takes a team to tackle some of these challenges. We’re not going to solve workforce overnight, and no single entity has all the keys to those problems. So we value the collaboration we have with other partners and it’s how we operate because we have to. These are big issues and the resources are spread out.

Lisa Futterman: Yeah, I would just add that partnerships are key. I would just build upon what Eliot was saying, that in New York City, the average size of a manufacturer is only 12 workers. So these are small companies where people are wearing many hats. They don’t tend to have an HR person. They aren’t necessarily investing in training themselves. They may not have the resources for that. They might not be able to go to conferences and leave the shop floor for the day. So having good connections who can connect them to other organizations. And so therefore, our role and our partnerships with other organizations that are also helping manufacturers are really key because we’re able to play a role in connecting them to the right resources.

Steve Melito: Excellent. Dave?

Dave Goodness: The only thing I would say, it’s important for us to be good listeners because in order for us to plug someone into the best partner, we’d be able to hear the forest or the trees, so to speak, on what someone thinks there’s an initial problem could not necessarily be an initial problem. It’s something that may be secondary or tertiary down the road. And to make those clients feel comfortable enough to say, ” Listen, if you’re willing to work with WDI, we can plug you into people and help you get this done in a methodical way to whatnot.” So, I mean, I think that’s very important.

Steve Melito: Concur entirely. The partnerships, the collaboration are so important. If you’re a manufacturer and come to pretty much any few sub solutions forum, which is one of our signature events, you will find a table there with someone from WDI that is ready to work with you. And for that, we’re very thankful. It’s been great having you with us on the podcast. I appreciate you coming all the way out to Albany to do this. And so on behalf of New York State Manufacturing Now, I’d just like to wrap this up by saying, if you need assistance, if you’re a manufacturer in the state, you need help, business technical assistance of any type, you don’t really know where to turn, you can always go to www.fuzehub.com. That’s our website here at FuzeHub. And 24/7 it’s available. Go to the solutions program menu and look for a menu item that’ll let you submit a request for assistance. And when you do that, explain what you need. And chances are you and I will probably have a conversation, at least to start, until we get you connected with the resource, and there are many of them that can provide the assistance that you need. So again, on behalf of New York State Manufacturing Now I’m your host, Steve Melito, signing off.

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