a blue-tinted image of Harry Hechehouche surrounded by cast and crew from Park Playhouse

Our DOL August 2022

Issue 43


Tech Corner: CSO to Streamline and Modernize DOL

a color photo of hands on a laptop keyboard, surrounded by floating app icons

The DOL is undergoing a significant modernization effort to update our systems and it is spearheaded by the Chief Strategic Office (CSO). The CSO is working to streamline our programs and technology to help employees do their jobs more efficiently and better serve our customers across the state.

The CSO has four divisions: ISO (Information Security Office), PMO (Portfolio Management Office), SIMS (Strategic Initiatives for Modernizing Services), and UIPPD (Unemployment Insurance Policy and Planning Division).

Our focus for this Tech Corner is the SIMS division. Wait, the family you can control in the computer? No, not that Sims. SIMS has three branches: service improvement, customer experience and architecture, and strategic operations.

  • The Service Improvement Branch identifies existing business processes and technology platforms and works to streamline them. They create standardized approaches to assist customers in the most efficient way possible.
  • The Customer Experience Branch works to modernize and standardize call center services, as well as website experiences for customers. They also manage the new and improved data dashboards that provide up to date information on labor in New York state.
  • The Strategic Operations Branch is responsible for working with ITS to implement technology solutions. They also work to create a standard process to assist customers and employees with technology needs.

Overall, the CSO is responsible for keeping DOL systems up to date with the latest technology and methods. If you have any ideas or questions, reach out to Deputy Commissioner and Chief Strategic Officer, Steven Spalten.

DOL to Create Employee Resource Groups

a color photo of two employees smiling and bumping fists over a conference table

In the near future, DOL will be implementing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) as the next step in our efforts to create a supportive environment for all employees. ERGs are networks of employees formed around shared characteristics, cultures, or backgrounds.

These voluntary, employee-led groups are intended to create a sense of belonging and allow employees to feel a sense of empowerment. ERG members will be able to have meaningful discussions in spaces that foster dialogue and inclusivity, as well as personal and professional development.

ERGs can be formed based on a variety of backgrounds or shared life experiences, including:

  • Race/Ethnicities
  • Gender Identity
  • Religion
  • Disabilities
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Veteran Status
  • And more!

But before we move forward, we need your input! Please take a few minutes to answer this short survey about ERGs and your interest level: https://on.ny.gov/ergsurvey

For more information about ERGs, view the DOL one-pager. If you are interested in forming an ERG or have questions, contact NYS DOL’s Chief Diversity Officer Selica Grant. Stay tuned for additional information!

Our DOL Family: Harry Hechehouche

Harry Hechehouche’s path to state government is a bit more unique than most. Before his time in public service, Harry had a career in event production, where he sharpened his planning and organizational skills that eventually led to a job in the Governor’s Office. While Harry now works for DOL’s External Affairs team, he still manages to do a show or two, and even finds many parallels between the government and entertainment events.

Executive Deputy Commissioner Scott Melvin to Host Brainstorming Sessions with Employees

Scott Melvin will soon begin holding informal virtual meet-and-greet sessions for staff each week.

If you would like the opportunity to meet and talk with the Executive Deputy Commissioner, please email Brittany Birnbach to schedule an informal meeting.

a color photo of Scott Melvin giving a presentation

Employee Engagement Survey Coming Soon!

a color photo of a close view of a multiple choice survey, with a pencil and a checkmark under the Somewhat Agree option

In the next few days, all DOL employees will receive an email with information about a new employee engagement survey. We are always looking for new ways to improve employee experience, so your feedback is highly valued, as survey responses will be utilized to guide future enhancements at DOL.

Participation in this survey is completely anonymous and employees should feel free to provide honest recommendations.

Three-Day Retreat Brings Worker Protection Division Together

a color photo of Worker Protection employees in a conference room, surrounded by idea boards and listening to a speaker

Members of our Worker Protection Division are preparing for the future and enhancing the ways they serve New York’s workers following a three-day retreat in late July.

The event featured activities and discussions on topics like the division’s pandemic response, defining success, workplace injustices and hazards, and maximizing partnerships. Attendees also heard from other DOL division leaders on their roles and how they contribute to protecting workers.

“I think the retreat was a great idea and opportunity for us to get together, learn from each other and network outside of our typical environments,” a participant said.

The final day of the retreat featured a discussion on the division’s recent initiative aimed at modernizing our worker protection systems and technologies, which will include a unified Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

DOL Says Goodbye to Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection Milan Bhatt

This month, we say farewell to Milan Bhatt, who is leaving his post as Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection. Milan’s career has been informed by a passion for advocacy, born from his post-graduate work with Amnesty International and with youth-based HIV/AIDS-related work in South Africa. Whether he was working to expand immigrant access to driver’s licenses with the New York Immigration Coalition, or leading efforts to establish the Worker Justice Center of New York, Milan has always remained committed to working on behalf of others.  

Milan joined NYS DOL as Associate Commissioner for Worker Protection in 2016 and, at the height of the pandemic in 2020 he was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection.  In that role, he oversaw agency programs that were vital in protecting and promoting the safety and health, wages, and working conditions of New York’s workers. Milan’s tireless work with the Joint Task Force, the groundbreaking Excluded Workers Fund, and the fight for farmworker overtime will have a long-lasting impact on workers’ rights. We want to take this opportunity to thank Milan for all that he has accomplished here at the DOL, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

a color landscape-oriented photo of Milan Bhatt, who is looking towards the camera with his arms crossed over his chest