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NYS: Launch of $150 million Office of Strategic Workforce Development grant programs


Wed, Oct 19th 2022 08:50 am

$115 million Pay for Performance Grant Program will support training programs offering industry-recognized credentials and certifications in high-demand fields

$35 Million Workforce Development Capital Grant Program will help education and workforce training providers, with capital expenses to provide programs for an evolving jobs landscape

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the launch of New York state's $150 million workforce development grant programs, administered by the newly formed Office of Strategic Workforce Development within Empire State Development. The $115 million Pay for Performance Grant Program and the $35 million Workforce Development Capital Grant Program are designed to meet New York State's workforce needs, increase the capacity of workforce training providers, and position New Yorkers to fill high-quality, in-demand jobs.

Hochul’s team said, “The grant programs represent the latest piece of the state's reimagined approach to strategic, collaborative and equitable workforce development to encourage economic growth.”

The governor said, "With this $150 million investment in the state's workforce, we are standing by our commitment to making New York the most business-friendly and worker-friendly state in the nation. I announced the new Office of Strategic Workforce Development in my State of the State address to ensure that New York is building its workforce from all sides – both by attracting high-growth companies to our state and developing top-tier talent to fill the jobs they bring. Thanks to this investment, we are helping to fill critical roles all over the state, and preparing New York job seekers for careers of the future."

The full program guidelines and links to the consolidated funding applications are available on the Office of Strategic Workforce Development's website here. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis, and awards are expected to be announced every two months beginning in December. The deadline for applications for the first round of grant funding is Nov. 14.

Hochul first proposed the new Office of Strategic Workforce Development in her State of the State address. She established the office in April to better meet the needs of industry, and create career opportunities for New Yorkers.

Her team said, “The office will work with workforce training providers to support industry-driven training that provides in-demand skills and direct job placement. Additionally, ESD will work hand-in-hand with the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils, which will engage with local stakeholders and help to identify specific skills and industries to prioritize in each region in the post-pandemic economy. The goal is to encourage new economic opportunities for unemployed, underemployed and underrepresented workers, while meeting the needs of businesses in targeted tradable sectors.”

Funding for the Office of Strategic Workforce Development and these grant programs was included as part of the fiscal year 23 state budget.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "For New York state to grow and thrive in the 21st century, we need to invest in the programs that provide and create opportunities for more New Yorkers to learn the skills that employers need. These grants will help to create a 'future-ready' workforce – one that includes people who have traditionally faced barriers to employment – so that we can attract new businesses, grow good jobs, and create a more diverse and resilient New York state economy."

New York State Sen. Anna M. Kaplan said, "The success of our economic recovery depends on our ability to meet the needs of employers with a local workforce that's prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Meeting those needs requires a focused and well-coordinated approach to workforce development that we finally have in New York state under the new Office of Strategic Workforce Development. These grants are a game-changer that will finally build up the workforce development infrastructure we need to help New Yorkers and grow our economy."

Assembly member Harry B. Bronson said, "Workforce development is economic development. This is more than just a philosophy, and I am proud the state of New York has committed it's resources to creating the Office of Strategic Workforce Development. As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot forget the workforce that saw us through the early days of the pandemic. Workers all across this state kept essential services running, and sacrificed for our communities. It quickly became clear a well-prepared workforce was our best line of defense against COVID-19, and that strategic investments in our workforce was long overdue. Moving forward, this new office will help to connect workforce development programs and new emerging industries across our state. I have long been a proponent of this model, and I thank Gov. Hochul for this innovative approach as we push for an inclusive and equitable recovery for the families of New York State."

Melinda Mack, executive director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals, said, "New York's ability to economically thrive is dependent on having a workforce that is skilled and ready for work. That means something different for everyone. We look forward to working with Empire State Development to ensure this exciting program meets the needs of New Yorkers looking for a good or better job, so that the business community can fill the thousands of open jobs across the State."

As explained by Hochul’s team:

$115 Million Pay for Performance Grant Program

The Pay for Performance Grant Program will support the operational resource needs of training programs offering industry-recognized credentials and certificates in high-demand fields to reinforce and expand their operations. Additionally, grants will support the scaling of workforce development training programs across New York state serving populations and industries identified as priorities by ESD and the state's Regional Economic Development Councils. Funding will be provided through two tracks: operating grants, which focus on covering programmatic expenses; and incentive-based capacity-building awards to grow training programs that successfully place trainees in good jobs.

Eligible applicants include community-based organizations; not-for-profit organizations; chambers of commerce and trade associations; certain governmental organizations like workforce development boards; educational institutions, including higher education, career and technical education providers; organized labor training programs; and for-profit training providers.

Operating grants awards will range between $50,000 and $1 million. Capacity-building awards range from $1,500-$4,000 per trained person placed in a qualifying "good job" – in a high-growth targeted industry as defined in the guidelines. The exact amount will be based on the depth and breadth of services, including:

√ Extent of wraparound services provided such as child care, online programming, public transit passes or other transportation supports, career coaching, and professional skills or success skills training; and

√ Need of the population served, and whether it serves socially and economically disadvantaged individuals not in the labor force, unemployed, underemployed, and/or low-income individuals.

$35 Million Capital Grant Program

The Capital Grant Program will provide $35 million in grants to support the capital needs of workforce training programs necessary to expand and improve trainings for promising projects across the state's economic development regions and industry sectors. Grants will be used for capital improvements like modernizing training centers, building new facilities, and purchasing machinery and equipment.

Capital Grant funding will increase the capacity of workforce training providers who have consistently shown favorable results and created employment opportunities for underserved communities, providing a source of funding for innovative programs and efforts in New York state that may not be able to utilize federal workforce funding. Preference will be given to training programs that provide opportunities for direct job placement, and those involving proactive placement approaches, including internships, industry partnerships with companies that hire participants for full-time positions, and programs that provide post-placement support. Capital grant awards will range from $100,000 to $3 million, while providing up to 50% of project costs.

For more information about the Office of Strategic Workforce Development, or to learn more about these grant programs, visit https://esd.ny.gov/office-strategic-workforce-development.

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