Workforce Education and Workforce Development

The Worker Education and Workforce Development (WEWD) Unit at Murphy serves as a gateway to higher education and all CUNY Colleges for adult learners.

WEWD equips workers with skills and training and provides career pathway programs. It matches the educational needs of workers and union members to academic programs by developing industry-related curricula and providing supportive services to students of the Institute and other units of CUNY.  WEWD is positioned to develop new programs that expand our portfolio to meet the changing needs of the workforce in both private industry and city and state governments.

Goals of WEWD include:

  1. Increase higher educational opportunities for workers, providing them with the knowledge and skills they need for personal growth, career advancement, and economic mobility
  2. Address the economic and workforce development needs of the City and State. The Institute works with employers, unions, and labor-management funds to develop and offer new education and training programs that provide workers with the skills employers need
  3. Provide education for workers in three areas: Basic skills; job-related skills; and liberal arts education.
  • The job-related skills education and training programs are offered on all levels and within different sectors based on the union’s and employer’s needs.
  • By offering special courses using the integration of basic education into skills training (IBEST model) and college-level courses, underprepared students can improve their literacy level and obtain the skills they need to excel in a chosen field and thereby advance their careers.
  • The liberal arts education encourages critical thinking and better prepares students for a complex, diverse, and ever-changing world. It also promotes civic participation and empowers workers in their professional and personal lives.
  1. Provide the support services that potential and continuing students need to achieve their educational and professional goals. The Murphy Institute offers a range of individualized services at no cost to prospective and currently enrolled students. These services are available at both the Murphy Institute site in midtown Manhattan and the Flushing campus of Queens College.


Dr. Maryam (Sara) Esfarayeni

Academic Manager, Worker Education and Workforce Development

(212) 642-2062


Murphy Institute for Worker Education at Queens College

The Murphy Institute for Worker Education at the Queens College (QC) has been serving adult workers and union members since the 1980’s. We assist union members returning to school in pursuit of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students can enroll in more than 70 undergraduate and 100 graduate and certificate programs at Queens College. The Institute supports students by using a caseload model of academic advising and counseling from pre-admission to graduation. Union programs such as Urban Leadership and Leap to Teacher are available at this campus. Our students belong to a variety of unions including DC-37, UFT, CSEA, CWA 1180, SEIU, 1199, RWDSU, IATSE and many others.

Services for Union Members at Queens College

Pre-Admission and Admissions Services

  • Pre-application & application advisement
    • Adult-friendly admissions criteria
    • Assistance in transferring from other colleges

Post-Admissions Services

Advising and Counseling Support

  • Personalized academic advising from time of entry to graduation
  • Assistance with transfer credit evaluation
  • Registration
    • Major selection
    • Applying for up to 36 life experience credits for eligible students
    • Short-term personal counseling
    • Career Counseling
    • Frequent communication alerts for important deadlines

Financial Aid, Union Benefits, and Tuition Support

  • Assistance with financial aid and special grant opportunities
  • Information about union specific tuition benefits and other payment plans
  • Assistance with voucher and waiver processing for various unions

Other Specialized Support

  • Individualized writing tutoring 
  • Academic support workshops on research, writing, and basic computer and time-management skills
  • A designated computer lab and student lounge
  • Teacher certification preparation workshops



Joanne Mason

Academic Program Manager at Queens College

(718) 997-3060