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Patricia Campos-Medina announced as WI Executive Director

The Worker Institute is proud to announce that as of January 1st, 2021, extension faculty member and co-director of the NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute, Patricia Campos-Medina, will serve as Executive Director of The Worker Institute alongside Academic Director, Ileen DeVault.

Campos-Medina joined the Worker Institute team in 2015 to co-direct the Worker Institute’s foundational labor leadership development program – the NYS AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute program. During her five years at the Institute, Patricia has also conducted field research on immigrant workers’ rights, served as a policy advisor to labor unions and worker justice organizations seeking to expand organizing rights to workers in the warehousing and service industries, and served as a liaison to ILR students interested in pursuing careers in the labor and social justice movements. In October 2019, Campos-Medina earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University-Newark. Her dissertation research focused on the integration experience of Central American workers under temporary protective status (TPS) and she continues that research at ILR today.

Prior to joining the Worker Institute, Patricia was Assistant Political Director for SEIU, Political Director for Workers United (SEIU); Director of the New Jersey State Council of UNITE HERE; National Legislative Director for UNITE; Deputy Director for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; and a Strategic Campaign Director for UNITE. Campos-Medina is also a graduate of Cornell University’s ILR School (BS ’96) and the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (MPA ’97).

Former Worker Institute Executive Director, Lara Skinner, is stepping down from her role to focus on directing the Institute’s growing Labor Leading on Climate Initiative. Skinner served as Executive Director since 2018 and built a successful footprint for policy innovation at the Worker Institute. Lara has been a part of the Worker Institute’s leadership team since 2013 and served as co-Executive Director of the Worker Institute with Campos-Medina from September 7, 2020, to December 31, Skinner will continue to be a critical member of the Worker Institute Team as she leads the expanding program focused on a building a truly sustainable society and economy

In January 2020, the Worker Institute began partnering with the new Climate Jobs National Resource Center to provide research, policy, training, and education support to unions in multiple U.S. states that are developing bold plans to tackle climate change and reverse inequality through high-quality, union job creation. This national climate jobs work builds on the successful “climate jobs” work that Skinner and the Worker Institute led in New York State after Hurricanes Sandy and Irene.