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Cuomo launches second round of $175 million Workforce Development Initiative


Wed, Jul 28th 2021 03:30 pm

Second round of funding makes $48 million available to help New Yorkers find quality, well-paid jobs and to meet short- & long-term workforce needs of businesses

√ Consolidated funding application through Regional Economic Development Councils opens Monday, Aug. 2

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced the launch of the second round of the $175 million Workforce Development Initiative. This second round of funding makes $48 million available to support strategic regional efforts that help New Yorkers find quality, well-paid jobs and meet businesses' short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, expand apprenticeships and address the long-term needs of growing industries.

In this second call for applications, the Workforce Development Initiative will bring together the resources, plans and perspectives of multiple state agencies and authorities, the Regional Economic Development Councils, nonprofit training providers and private sector employers to further New York's goal to “Reimagine, Rebuild, and Renew” from the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the initiative will open Monday, Aug. 2.

"Economic development isn't about making the rich richer – it's about ensuring everyone has the opportunity to get a piece of the pie," Cuomo said. "During a time when our economy has struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's even more critical that we build a skilled and capable workforce, and that's exactly what this $175 million initiative does. The second round of the state's Workforce Development Initiative will leverage our resources to educate and train New Yorkers to both support their families and succeed in their professional lives."

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils, said, "The economic impact of COVID-19 has completely upended the traditional workplace, and we are committed to helping New Yorkers get the skills and experience needed for the jobs of tomorrow. Our Workforce Development Initiative will continue to keep New Yorkers ahead of the job curve and create a more inclusive postpandemic future where success is accessible to all."

Information about the application process and program guidelines is available HERE. The consolidated funding application will open to applicants Monday, and applications will be accepted on a continual basis. The funding made available for this initiative consolidates multiple programs administered by various state agencies and authorities.

Applications that are targeted to the zones designated under Cuomo's Gun Violence Prevention Initiative and that incorporate strategies designed to engage young at-risk New Yorkers in these areas with opportunities to cultivate skills in high-demand, good-paying jobs will be awarded additional points in agency scoring.

Funding and incentives provided by the New York State Department of Labor, the State University of New York, the City University of New York, Empire State Development and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will support job training and employment opportunities in high-demand industries for nearly 22,000 New Yorkers across the state.

Awards will fall into one of three categories. As described in a press release:

Public-Private Partnerships to Advance 21st Century Skills: These programs expand the infrastructure and capacity of SUNY and CUNY to produce skilled talent that meets the needs of regional employers. These resources will provide funding for classroom space, technology and equipment, and industry-engaged curriculum development. These programs will also foster connections with regional employers by building structured work-based learning experiences, such as internships, co-op learning, apprenticeships and direct on-the-job training, in high-demand sectors like life sciences, STEM and advanced manufacturing. Also of interest is development of "stackable" commonly accepted worker credentials like skill certificates, badges and ladders. Funds available in this category are provided through SUNY and CUNY and include capital, apprenticeship, customized curriculum and new job linkage opportunities.

Employer-Driven Skills so Training Leads to Quality Jobs: These programs expand employer investment in a skilled workforce pipeline. Resources will provide direct funding or tax credits to train incumbent workers and to recruit and train entry-level workers. Applications will tend to come directly from employers. Funds available in this category are provided by DOL, NYSERDA and ESD for employer-driven employee training and internships.

Workforce Solutions that Match Business Needs: The Workforce Solutions programs provide flexible funding for innovative workforce development projects. Funds will support strategic regional efforts that meet businesses' near-term workforce needs, address long-term industry needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, and expand apprenticeships. The programs will focus on regionally significant industries in emerging fields with growing demands for jobs. Examples of successful applications could include sector and industry-cluster-based strategies that regionally address a worker shortage or projects that have the potential to rapidly deploy and meet the demonstrated demand for jobs open currently or imminently. Sources of funding from participating agencies and authorities will be matched to proposals, based on the details of the project.

All projects and activities must be consistent with the region's workforce development plans. More information about the Workforce Development Initiative can be found at workforcedevelopment.ny.gov.

Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "Workforce development is at the forefront of Gov. Cuomo's postpandemic economic recovery plan. The Workforce Development Initiative gives New Yorkers the opportunity to pursue their career dreams through education, training and skill enhancement while helping businesses secure a skilled workforce to accomplish their goals and stimulate economic growth. This incentive is oil to help rev New York's economic engine."

ESD Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis said, "Workforce development is a pillar of the state's strategy to generate sustainable economic growth. Supporting programs that train the workforce of tomorrow better positions the state to attract new businesses and industries that will establish roots, knowing that there is a pipeline of skilled New Yorkers with the training and expertise to help companies thrive."

State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras said, "The Workforce Development Initiative is a significant investment that will help close the skills gap by training more people for in-demand jobs – an effort that coincides perfectly with the reopening and rebirth of the New York state economy. With nonstop advancements in technology consistently reshaping how businesses are run, employers need professionals who are consistently building new skills. With meaningful investment from New York state and leadership from the governor, we can continue to align the advanced training offered at our colleges with the evolving needs of the workforce – a synergy that benefits students, businesses and the economy as a whole."

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Career pathway training for high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning careers that specialize in heat pump technologies is critical to creating a pipeline of workers that will support our nation-leading efforts to transition New York state to a clean energy economy. NYSERDA is proud to offer funding that will help high schools, unions, trade associations, community organizations and community colleges offer the training needed for young adults and unemployed or underemployed adults – especially within disadvantaged communities and priority populations – so that they can acquire the skills needed to take advantage of new and exciting career opportunities within the flourishing clean energy sector."

In the first round of funding, over $70 million was awarded to 225 organizations to support regionally significant industries in emerging fields with growing demands for jobs – including clean energy, life sciences, computer science and advanced technologies – as well as efforts to improve the economic security of women, young workers, and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement. To date, the businesses and organizations that have received Workforce Development awards include:

•Western New York: SoPark Corp., People Inc., Time Release Sciences Inc., Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, Pfannenberg, Mercy Flight, Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology, Erie 1 BOCES, St. Bonaventure University, Northland Workforce Training Center, Assembly House 150, Fresenius Kabi, and Catholic Charities.

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