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Hochul announces first-ever round of Office of Strategic Workforce Development Grant awards totaling more than $6 million


Tue, Jan 3rd 2023 01:25 pm

Eight projects across state will leverage more than $4 million in public/private funding, support nearly 3,000 trainees for over 100 business partners

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development has awarded more than $6 million in grants to eight projects across the state through the first round of the Capital and Pay for Performance Grant Programs.

A press release explained, “These grants will support the training of nearly 3,000 workers through collaboration between training providers and more than 100 employer partners in fields like advanced manufacturing, information technology, and film and television. The office, which operates under Empire State Development, is charged with supporting workforce development programs and practices to ensure New Yorkers are prepared to meet the needs and priorities of today's employers.”

Hochul said, "New York state is making bold, strategic investments in our economy that are attracting and growing companies in New York, and we are laser-focused on ensuring that we have ready and able workers to fill these jobs of the future. Our new Office of Strategic Workforce Development will help reduce barriers to training and employment while supporting businesses with their workforce needs. This funding is just the beginning of our investment in developing a strong and diverse workforce for decades to come."

Hochul first proposed the new Office of Strategic Workforce Development in her State of the State address, and established the office in April 2022 to better meet the needs of industry and create career opportunities for New Yorkers.

The grants awarded to eight projects intend to support employer-driven, high-skilled workforce training programs, and reward innovative approaches and best practices that reduce the barriers to participation for high-need communities. The $35 million Capital Grant Program will support the capital needs of workforce training providers that seek to enhance or expand their offerings.

The $115 million Pay for Performance Grant Program has two funding tracks:

•Flexible Operating Grants that help providers cover programmatic expenses like curriculum development and wraparound services to prepare New Yorkers with in-demand skills and industry-recognized credentials.

•Capacity-Building Awards, a data- and metrics-driven approach to scale up proven workforce training programs actively placing graduates in good jobs. Using achievement-based awards, workforce training providers will receive funding to expand the capacity of successful programs with high placement rates.

Round one awardees include:

Pay for Performance (P4P) Operating Grant Awardees:

Buffalo Niagara Partnership (Western New York) – $1 Million: This program will provide preemployment and occupational skills training for manufacturing and other employer-led collaboratives through the Employ Buffalo Niagara Talent Pipeline Management Program. Industry partners include SoPark, Zehnder Rittling, Cobey Inc., National Fuel Gas, Independent Health, Univera Healthcare, ABC-Amega, People Inc., Aspire of WNY and Suburban Adult Services Inc..

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) (Finger Lakes) – $999,000: This program will provide training for six programs geared toward critical occupations such as manufacturing technicians, IT support analysts, cyber defense analysts, skilled tradespeople, and building construction managers. It also includes an employer training program to prepare employers to support new workers from historically marginalized communities. RIT is partnering with L3Harrie and will engage up to 20 other regional employers.

The office is actively accepting applications for both the Capital and Pay for Performance Grant Programs and will continue to make awards on a rolling basis. Applicants can apply through the consolidated funding application (CFA). Program guidelines and deadlines can be found on the ESD website at https://esd.ny.gov/workforce.

The press release added, “The creation of the Office of Strategic Workforce Development represents a decisive change in New York state's workforce development strategy to one that is laser-focused on supporting the labor needs of the state's highest-growth sectors while producing new economic opportunity for un/underemployed and underrepresented workers. The office will leverage ESD's relationships with employers throughout the state, and its standing as a trusted partner in the business community to help identify employer needs early and train New Yorkers to meet those needs. Additionally, the office will also establish and maintain metrics for tracking the implementation and success of each of these programs.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Gov. Hochul is delivering on her commitment to strengthen the skills and talents of New York's workforce and help grow the economy. These grants will support wide-reaching, coordinated investments in workforce development that support employer-driven, high skilled workforce training programs."

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "By investing in workforce development, we are ensuring that New Yorkers will be successful in careers across the economic spectrum.”

SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said, "Gov. Hochul has shown an unwavering commitment to prepare the workforce of the future. These strategic investments will create rewarding careers for SUNY students, keep talented graduates here in the Empire State, and continue to revitalize regional economies. From agriculture to financial services to our emerging semiconductor industry, we're cementing key partnerships and investing in opportunity. At SUNY, we are proud to be a partner with the governor and her team, Empire State Development, and the Department of Labor to ensure SUNY is properly preparing students to meet the demands of today's and tomorrow's employers."

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