The New York State Department of Labor today announced it will dedicate its internship program to labor leader Ed Vargas, naming it the “Ed Vargas Internship Program.” Vargas's legacy, built upon years of passionate advocacy and his tenure as the Director of Labor Relations at NYSDOL, exemplified commitment, empathy, and a genuine desire to ensure every voice was heard. His life and work embodied the ideals of respect, equality, and unwavering dedication to the working class. Launched in 2022, NYSDOL’s internship program offers students a comprehensive glimpse into various roles involved in safeguarding New York’s workforce, a core mission of Vargas’s career.
“The New York State Department of Labor’s Ed Vargas Internship Program will give young New Yorkers the opportunity to gain real work experience at the Department and inspire them to serve and protect all workers.” New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “Ed believed that everyone deserved an equal opportunity, making this internship program is a fitting tribute to him.”
Among Vargas’s many accomplishments in his six years at NYSDOL, a standout was his pivotal role in the establishment of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial, an enduring testament to the importance of worker's rights and safety. It stands as a reminder of the event's significant impact on labor reforms and Vargas's personal inspiration in his union endeavors.
Liz Weiner, wife of Ed Vargas, said, “Ed would be so proud of this honor. He loved mentoring young people and knew how important it is to pass along the stories and values of labor and workers’ rights to the next generation. Our family deeply appreciates this tribute to Ed.”
President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Vincent Alvarez, said, “Ed Vargas was a respected labor organizer, a champion of working families, and a tireless advocate for the creation of a permanent memorial to those lost in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. I cannot think of a more appropriate honor than to name this internship program in Ed’s memory, so that his legacy can continue through future generations of worker leaders.”
Secretary Treasurer of Workers United Edgar Romney said, “I thank Commissioner Reardon for recognizing one of my close friends and colleagues, Ed Vargas, for his tireless efforts on behalf of working people by naming this internship program after him.”
NYSDOL internships create a pathway into rewarding careers in public service. The program provides interns with opportunities to gain valuable experience, interact with government leaders and policy makers, perform rewarding and meaningful work, and to receive academic credit toward their degrees.
Those interested in participating in the Ed Vargas Internship Program Spring 2024 session are encouraged to apply through December 20 on the Department of Civil Service internship page.