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Empire State Development: Applications available for New York Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program

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Wed, Apr 21st 2021 10:55 am

Provides over $1 million annually for job creation & training programs that support a diverse & inclusive workforce in motion picture, television production & postproduction industries

Eligible training programs may receive up to $500,000

Empire State Development announced the launch of the New York Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program. More than $1 million annually in matching funds will support diversity and inclusivity in job creation and training programs for New York's film and television industries. The grant program is funded through the Empire State Entertainment Diversity Job Training Development Fund which, at the suggestion of industry leaders, is financed by an allocated percentage from New York state’s film tax credit program.

ESD Acting Commissioner, and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Through this important initiative, more than $1 million will support the development of a more diverse and inclusive workforce for one of New York's fastest-growing industries. Film and television production has a multiplier effect in both creating jobs and spending with a significant economic impact on our economy, and this program will help ensure the industry reflects the New York's greatest strength – our diversity."

Matching grants from $25,000 to $500,000 will be awarded for job creation and training programs that support efforts to recruit, hire, promote, retain, develop and train a diverse and inclusive workforce. These training programs should aim to provide talent to production and postproduction companies in the motion picture and television industries within the state of New York. Eligible applicants will be required to provide 2:1 matching funds and can be a not-for-profit organization or corporation, a for-profit corporation, a guild or a labor union.

Eligible programs include the training of individuals involved in the principle creation of or editing of a film or television product. These skills and crafts include but are not limited to:

  • Grip/electric
  • Carpentry
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Showrunners
  • Production assistant

More information, instructions and registration for the virtual information sessions are available here.

This program is part of a larger statewide initiative to increase diversity and inclusion and create equal opportunities in the film and television industry. This includes the New York State Multicultural Summit, an interactive workshop that guides content creators of diverse backgrounds to better understand and advance their careers within the film and television industry, and PITCHNY, which provides aspiring young filmmakers, producers and writers from across New York with resources and mentorship from entertainment industry leaders.

Additionally, this program builds upon the Film Production Training Program, an unprecedented partnership between New York, Bronx Community College and IATSE Local 52 to train students for work in union trade crafts, such as property, carpentry and electric.

A press release noted, “New York state’s film and TV production industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing industry sectors across the state. A recent report from HR&A Advisors, an economic development consultant and research agency, found that the New York film and television industry grew 4.5 times faster than the overall state economy, translating to a 55% increase from 2004 to 2018, and capturing one in three jobs added to the sector nationwide.”

Since media production has been permitted to return at the end of summer 2020, more than 80 productions that applied to participate in the New York State Film Tax Credit Program have returned to work. These productions anticipated hiring over 195,000 individuals over the course of their production and directly spending more than $4 billion across New York. In 2019 and 2020, the film tax incentive program led to over $20 billion in anticipated economic impact and supported 114,200 full time jobs. Every dollar in tax credit issued through the New York State Film Tax Credit Program leads to more than $9 in economic activity.

The press release continued, “New York state has made unprecedented investments in workforce development. Since 2019, when Gov. Cuomo announced $175 million state investment for job training projects, nearly $32 million in awards have been announced to 278 projects benefitting more than 18,000 New York workers. Awarded projects under the new WDI consolidated funding application will support strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, long-term industry needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, and expand workplace learning opportunities.”

Motion Picture Association Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said, “We are proud to be part of the development of this important program to create a more diverse production workforce in New York and look forward to working with our companies to facilitate this new pipeline for employment.”

IATSE International Vice President and Local 52 President John Ford said, "Local 52 looks forward to engaging in these programs as they come to fruition. Thanks to the support of the governor and the Legislature, we anticipate the need for a diverse workforce trained to provide production with the people they need to get the job done.”

Chair, Post New York Alliance President and COO Trevanna Post Yana Collins Lehman said, “The Post New York Alliance looks forward to participating in the NYS workforce development program. We share ESD’s strong commitment to extending opportunities to all communities in New York state and to diversifying the film and television post-production industry.”

The New York State Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development, a division of ESD, aims to grow and support the film, television and commercial industry by guiding filmmakers through the many programs and assets New York has to offer, promoting and publicizing the state’s infrastructure, talent and film production, postproduction, and commercial tax incentives for qualified expenditures in the state. The office also serves as a liaison between production companies and city and local governments, state agencies, a network of statewide contacts, local film offices and professional location scouts and managers. More information can be found here.

Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. More information on Regional Councils and ESD can be found here and here

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