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> Workforce New York - FAQs

Contact Information


Jackie Mouillesseaux, Interim Director
Center Ithaca, Suite 241
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 272-7570

Natalie Branosky, Executive Director
401 E. State Street / E. MLK Jr. Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-7526

Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Employment Questions

1. Who is Tompkins Workforce New York?

Tompkins Workforce New York (TWFNY) is eleven partner agencies, both government and private, who have coordinated their resources and offer services to: assist employers in meeting current and future workforce needs, provide job seekers with the tools needed for a successful work search and fund training programs to upgrade skills and enhance employability. Tompkins Workforce New York provides a convenient, one-stop shopping approach for accessing employment-related services for businesses, workers, and jobseekers in Tompkins County. The full-service Workforce New York Career Center is located on the Commons in Center Ithaca.

2. What kinds of jobs are available?

All types of jobs are available through America’s Job Exchange. Positions may be found in all areas of the country (and world) and in all types of fields. This service is a computerized job matching service that may be accessed from numerous sites throughout the Workforce Development System. Customers may also access America’s Job Exchange through their home computers. Registering on the system allows individuals the opportunity to receive job opening notices from the New York State Department of Labor, Division of Employment and Workforce Services when jobs become available that match customers’ skills and interests. America’s Job Exchange:

3. How can I get a better paying job?

Research, research, research! Tompkins Workforce New York is a great place to start finding out about job opportunities. There are many online resources available where you can access information about companies, jobs and requirements necessary to get the jobs you want. Information on area educational programs can also be found at Tompkins Workforce New York. Informational interviewing and networking are job searching techniques that can help you find jobs.

4. What information do you have on employers?

Internet: use computers at the Center to access information about area employers. Many local companies can be accessed through: - click on membership, and

Cornell: The job application process is de-centralized, however, individuals can fill out applications for temporary or regular position openings at Cornell

If individuals apply directly to a business, a resume and cover letter is usually required. Individuals may contact Human Resource offices for an expanded job description. Temporary positions are often a good “in” for regular positions.

5. What kind of training can I get?

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Funding: Funding is available for individualized training services for customers meeting specific low-income, dislocated, and other criteria. Individualized skill upgrading is also available for under-employed individuals who meet eligibility guidelines.

PACE Program at Tompkins Cortland Community College: Public Assistance Comprehensive Employment (PACE) Program for Family Assistance recipients. Program components include screening and assessment of college readiness, enrollment activities, remedial courses, academic assistance, academic programs, job development counseling, case management, employment, placement and retention activities.

STEPS Program at Challenge Industries: Support Training and Education for Placement Success program for Public Services recipients. Program components include: employment assessment, job seeking skills training, job development assistance, job placement assistance, developing appropriate work habits and attitudes, follow-up supports after placement and job retention skills training.

GED at TST BOCES: The Adult Learning Center offers GED classes as well as support to help individuals complete their GED through a home study program. Call 273-8804 (may also offer free transportation to qualifying individuals working on their GED).

VESID (Vocational and Educational Services to Individuals with Disabilities): Training, educational support, and job coaching may be available for qualified individuals.

6. Where can I use computers?

Tompkins Workforce New York: Computers are available for online job searching, employer research, and interviewing materials (resume, cover letter, references) development.

Women’s Opportunity Center: Computers are available for job search related use.

Public libraries

7. Do you have civil service listings?

Tompkins Workforce New York has civil service listings available on site. Tompkins County Civil Service:

Federal Jobs:
NYS Civil Service:

8. What is a cover letter, resume, who helps?

Tompkins Workforce New York: Resume and cover letter assistance is available using on-site computers. Appointments may be scheduled with a career counselor for career exploration and assessment, resume critiquing assistance, interview practice, and additional job readiness assistance.

Other Partner Locations: Assistance is available for individuals meeting specific program criteria.

9. What are references?

References are individuals (usually 3) who can give information about an applicant’s work history. Applicants should contact these individuals in advance of giving their information (name, title, work address, work phone, home phone – optional, e-mail – optional, and relationship – optional) in writing to prospective employers.


Post-Employment Questions

10. What is the minimum wage? How can I obtain more information about wages, hours, minimum wage, working conditions, including meal period, payment of holidays and vacations?

The minimum wage is $7.15 per hour (increasing to $7.25 in mid-July 2009). Additional information can be obtained by contacting New York State Labor Standards at 607-721-8014 or by going to

11. How do I sign up for unemployment? If I quit or am fired from my job, am I eligible to file for Unemployment Insurance?

Sign up through the NYS Department of Labor’s Telephone Claims Center: 1-888-209-8124 or sign up via the Internet at Each situation is determined on a case-by-case basis. Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance can only be determined once the case is filed.

12. I did not get my unemployment check last week. Who do I call?

You should first try the automated telephone certification number 1-800-581-5812 option 2. This option will tell you when your last payment was made. If this option does not mention the payment in question, please call 1-888-209-8124 to speak to a representative.

13. I speak limited English, who should I call to file for Unemployment Insurance?

Sign up through the NYS Department of Labor’s Telephone Claims Center: 1-888-209-8124 and listen for option 3, there are many languages available.

14. I wish to report a possible Unemployment Insurance fraud case. Who do I call?

Contact Unemployment Fraud Control at 1-888-598-2077.

15. Can my employer fire me for no valid reason?

Yes, New York State is an employment at will state. The employer can fire an employee for any reason, just as an employee can quit for any reason. If you believe you have been discriminated against contact Tompkins County Human Rights: 607-277-4080 or New York State Human Rights: 607-721-8467 or on the web at

16. What is the difference between workers compensation and disability coverage and how do I apply for them?

Disability is for off-the-job injuries or illnesses, while workers' compensation covers on-the-job injuries or illnesses. Both programs are administrered by the New York State Workers Compensation Board.

NYS Disability: 607-721-8353; Workers’ Compensation: 607-721-8356
or on the web at

17. I have questions regarding safety procedures and the safety of my work environment.

Contact New York State Safety and Health at 607-272-7570 ext. 122

18. Is my employer treating me OK (and other Human Rights questions)?

Call Tompkins County Human Rights: 607-277-4080 or New York State Human Rights: 607-721-8467 or on the web at


General Supplementary Questions

19. Who will pay for college, childcare, medical, etc.?

Financial Aid: Brochures available at Tompkins Workforce New York and at Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3).

Displaced homemakers may contact the Women’s Opportunity Center for informational sessions on finding both non-traditional and traditional financial aid.

Low-income daycare: Daycare assistance is available for eligible low-income parents. The fee will be based on the income of the parents. Call 607-274-5030 for assistance.

Contact the Child Development Council at 607-273-0259 for a current listing of certified daycare providers.

20. Who will provide transportation?

TCAT: Tompkins Workforce New York is accessible by TCAT.

Gadabout: a transportation service for individuals who are disabled or over 60. Call 607-273-1878 for more information.

Social Services Recipients: For individuals who are in receipt of temporary assistance or whose temporary assistance cases have closed due to employment, transportation assistance may be available.

21. How do I get a uniform?

Social Services recipients may be eligible for uniform assistance. In addition, customers can speak with a Workforce Development Specialist at Tompkins Workforce New York for assistance in locating resources.

22. Will employment affect my Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Income?

Many individuals with disabilities would like to work, but are worried they will lose essential benefits if they have earnings of any kind. Tompkins Workforce New York employs an individual (Disability Program Navigator) who has up to date information concerning work incentives, SSDI and SSI reinstatement rules, and can assess the effects of earnings on other state and federal programs. The DPN will also help individuals take advantage of programs and support services to get and keep a job as well as information about protection and advocacy services. For more information contact Kevin Nickerson, Disability Program Navigator at 607-272-7570 ext. 136.

23. How do I get housing?

Homeless individuals or families call the Special Services Unit of DSS at 274-5293.

Section 8: This is a service for people who need housing. There is a two-year waiting list. There are two lists, and it is worth applying for both. Contact Tompkins Community Action at 273-8816 and Ithaca Housing Authority 273-1244. There is also a Family self-sufficiency program and another financial management program for people on Section 8.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing 277-4500 and Better Housing for Tompkins County 273-2187 offer home ownership information, classes and lending assistance for people who qualify.

COFA (County Office For the Aging) has a program that links individuals who need housing and want to help care for the elderly with elderly homeowners who want someone to live in with them. The Office for the Aging also has information on senior housing for individuals who are disabled or aged 62 or older.

24. What is Title V?

Title V is the section of the Older American’s Act that funds the Senior Community Service Program, SCSEP. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Title V’s mission is to strengthen families, communities and our nation by providing older and disadvantaged individuals with opportunities to learn, work and serve others.

25. How long can I receive help after my Social Services assistance has ended? (i.e. childcare, health benefits, support of employment)

Child Care for applicants and recipients in Social Services orientation and/or work activities: contact Special Services staff at DSS. Additional services that may be possible: Transportation related expenses, Uniforms, safety equipment, etc., and educational materials.