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Hochul announces launch of round XII Regional Economic Development Council Initiative


Mon, May 2nd 2022 04:25 pm

Regional Councils will identify employers' workforce needs and recommend priority projects that drive each region's economic strategic goals

√ New York state consolidated funding application now open

√ Guidebook for REDC members on this year's process now available here

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the launch of round XII of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. Round XII includes core capital grant and tax-credit funding to be combined with a wide range of programs from 10 state agencies that will provide funding for prospective projects. As with round XI, $150 million in grant funds from Empire State Development will be available to projects on a continuous basis, in order to be responsive to the immediate needs of communities.

"The Regional Economic Development Councils have been transformative for communities across the state, and we will continue supporting impactful projects that align with each region's strategic goals," Hochul said. "Through round XII, we are addressing one of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – in our state's economic development strategy by supporting New Yorkers in developing the skills they need to succeed, both today and in the future. The REDCs will identify strategies to ensure employers in growing industries have access to the skilled labor they need to be competitive, helping usher in a more prosperous New York for all."

This year, the REDCs will prioritize workforce development, with a specific focus on developing and funding job training and placement programs that address the current and future needs for talent of employers in the state and each region. As part of this focus on equitable growth, each Regional Council will work in concert with ESD and the new Office of Strategic Workforce Development to create a tailored regional strategy identifying the specific jobs and skills needed by employers in that area of the state. The Regional Councils and ESD will then seek to fund programs that help workers meet these specific needs.

Hochul's team said that, under her leadership, “the state is continuously improving the Regional Council process to maximize impact in each region. This includes measures to promote transparency, streamline the work of the REDCs, and focus on talent as a pillar of equitable economic growth.

Regional Workforce Inventory

Earlier this year, Hochul created a new Office of Strategic Workforce and Economic Development within ESD. Her team said the office's purpose is to leverage ESD's expertise in working with businesses in New York state to inform the design of workforce training and placement programs. The office's mission is to help New Yorkers get the skills and opportunities to succeed in growing fields. “By ensuring that employers in these industries have access to high-quality, skilled labor, New York will improve its competitive position and help its people attain greater opportunities to prosper.”

The office will utilize the expertise of the Regional Councils, which possess local knowledge of workforce needs, trends and opportunities. Regional Councils will create a "Regional Workforce Inventory" to identify each region's post-pandemic workforce needs. This will serve as a guide as ESD and the Regional Councils review applications to new grant programs that will be offered later this year.

To inform this effort, New York state – in partnership with the Business Council of New York State – has developed an online survey to solicit feedback from businesses on the skills required for workers to be successful in today's complex economy, and how New York can prepare and position its labor force to better serve companies' needs. Hochul’s team said, “This demand-driven approach will ensure that New York has access to real-time feedback on in-demand jobs and skills to inform its statewide and regional workforce development efforts.”

Consolidated Funding Application

The Regional Councils will score projects submitted through the Consolidated Funding Application, which is the state's single application for state resources and includes programs from numerous agencies. It is designed to give project applicants expedited and streamlined access to a combined pool of grant funds and tax credits from dozens of existing programs. Regional Councils will review projects and provide scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region's goals and strategies.

To guide the Regional Councils in these efforts, ESD has prepared its annual “Guidebook for REDC” members. The 2022 edition and a list of additional resources available to REDC members are accessible here. The CFA is available here. The deadline for applications is 4 p.m. Friday, July 29. Open enrollment programs are not subject to the July 29 deadline and will continue to accept applications on an ongoing basis until funds are exhausted.

The REDC process continues to support and empower regional stakeholders in developing strategic plans and funding priorities that meet local economic needs. To date, through the REDC Initiative, more than $7.5 billion has been awarded to more than 9,200 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plan.

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