Jeanette Castagnola Lazelle is the Director of the Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs (DIPA). Prior to joining the Department of Labor, Jeanette worked for the US Small Business Administration's Disaster Assistance Division as an Attorney Advisor. In 2004, Jeanette joined the New York State Department of Labor. She has worked as a Labor Standards Investigator- Spanish Language, New York State Monitor Advocate, and Acting Assistant Director of DIPA. Jeanette became the Division Director in 2013. Throughout her career, Jeanette has ensured that workers and employers understood their labor law rights and responsibilities. Through education and access to services, immigrant, refugee, and English Language Learner (ELL) individuals in New York are empowered to navigate state resources. Jeanette has direct oversight of all the DIPA programs, which include outreach to Immigrant, Refugee, and ELL Communities; language services within the NYSDOL; Anti-Human Trafficking Services/U and T-Visa Certifications; Agriculture Labor Program and the Foreign Labor Certification Unit.
Jeanette Castagnola Lazelle is a licensed attorney in the State of New York and is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Counsel to the Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs
Estelle joined the NYSDOL in 2012 as a Supervisor for DIPA's Agriculture Labor Program. In 2014, Estelle became DIPA Counsel. As Counsel, Estelle provides legal support for the various programs under DIPA including labor trafficking and U/T visa certifications. Before joining DIPA, Estelle worked at Cabrini providing legal assistance and social services to immigrant populations. Estelle also has experience in Trafficking and Domestic Violence cases through Safe Horizon. She speaks English and Spanish, and is a member of the New York State Bar.
Community Relations Officer
As a DIPA Community Relations Officer, Geovanny reaches out to workers, and collaborates with faith-based groups, community organizations, and government representatives on behalf of immigrants and limited English proficient workers. His territory includes western, central, and upstate New York State. He speaks English and Spanish.
Geovanny has been a Community Relations Officer since July 2007. Before joining DIPA, Geovanny was the Outreach Coordinator for the Workers' Rights Law Center of New York, and before that, held a similar position at the Farmworker Law Project, a statewide program of the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York. Both are non-for-profit advocacy organizations that educate, counsel, and represent indigent workers regarding labor and civil rights matters.
In his current position, Geovanny continues to educate workers about labor rights and available nonprofit and government services. He partners with organizations to improve the Department of Labor's accessibility and responsiveness to workers, with a focus on low-wage and immigrant workers, and he collaborates on inter-organizational initiatives to assist members of New Yorks vulnerable workforce.
Supervising Community Relations Liaison
As a DIPA Community Relations Officer, Carmen reaches out to workers, and collaborates with faith-based groups, community organizations, and government representatives on behalf of immigrants and limited English proficient workers. Her territory includes New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties. She speaks English and Spanish.
Before joining DIPA, Carmen worked at various community organizations, including at the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health as an Immigrant Safety & Health Specialist, where her work was dedicated to assisting immigrant workers who helped in rescue, cleanup, and recovery efforts after 9/11. She also worked at Latino Justice as an intake and outreach worker/paralegal, and co-founded its 9/11 program, Proyecto Ayuda. She has worked extensively in the areas of social services and civil rights, advocating for equal justice in the Latino and immigrant communities, including as the chair of the Williamsburg/Southside Fair Housing Committee for Equal Justice. She has also served on many boards and helped co-found organizations such as El Puente, Habitantes Unidos para Preservar a Williamsburg, Trinity SRO, Trinity/Transfiguration Church Homeless Shelter, Casa Bethsaida, Musica against Drugs, and La Cocina.
Supervisor and Foreign Labor Certification Specialist
Since joining DIPA in 2013, she has worked in the field serving agricultural employers and workers, and more recently, has been working in the Foreign Labor Certification Unit, processing thousands of H-2A and H-2B visa applications for New York businesses. Melissa came to us from county government. Prior to that, Melissa’s professional experiences include providing translation and interpretation services for the federal government, teaching high school Spanish, and working as the Director of Development for non-profit agencies. Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, with minors in Political Science and Philosophy from Virginia Wesleyan College. In 2013, she earned a Master of Science degree in Creativity and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity, housed at Buffalo State College.
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