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Launch of $175 Million Workforce Development Initiative

Consolidated Funding Application through the Regional Economic Development Councils Aims to Create Economic Opportunity for Every New Yorker

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the Workforce Development Initiative, which invests $175 million statewide for workforce development to support strategic regional efforts that 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. These funds will also support efforts to improve the economic security of women, youth and other groups facing significant barriers to career advancement.

“We must ensure the workforce of today is not only prepared for the jobs we have now but also ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Workforce Development Initiative is another significant step to ensure future growth in the state and help New Yorkers succeed in the 21st Century economy.”

“Investing in workforce development is essential to provide individuals with the skills they need for jobs in industries across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils. “In order to keep up with the needs of the labor market, New York must lead the way to train workers in advanced manufacturing, health care, and energy to close the skills gap and create a pipeline of talent for employers. The Workforce Development Initiative will target resources to ensure training is available in our communities for good paying jobs that will continue to move our economy forward.”

In January 2018, Governor Cuomo announced the Workforce Development Initiative concept to strengthen workforce development in New York State. This new Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) will serve as the single point of entry for workforce development funding. Additionally, the State’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) will play a critical role in recommending projects that align with their region’s economic and workforce development plans. Awarding economic development funds through the REDCs utilizes a tested and successful model that brings together higher education, industry, and government leaders to plan the future of their regions. After eight rounds of the REDC process, more than $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 230,000 jobs. Establishing a new CFA for workforce investments builds on the success of this bottom-up model.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “As our economy continues to evolve, the Workforce Development Initiative will develop a model for the nation that will give New Yorkers the necessary tools to compete in a job market that is constantly changing and increasingly competitive.” 

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Technology achievements and new generations of consumers are rapidly changing the nature of our jobs. The Governor is making sure that New York is ready to meet the challenges of these transitions head-on by focusing on new ideas for workforce development.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, “Providing high-quality education and preparing students for the competitive jobs of the future is at the core of SUNY and this initiative will continue to strengthen New York’s already premier workforce. I applaud the Governor for once again dedicating resources and leadership to ensure every existing and future employer have the best and most highly skilled workers available.” 

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “Governor Cuomo’s Workplace Development Initiative will be a powerful catalyst for CUNY’s efforts as a vital engine of economic mobility in New York City. In growing local talent pipelines and creating more adaptable workforces, this sweeping plan will expand opportunities for our students. At the same time, by addressing the strategic needs of growing industries, the initiative will help CUNY educate and train graduates who will continue to make important contributions to New York.”

Melinda Mack, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals, said “We are encouraged that the Governor is taking a bold step to make workforce development a priority in New York. About 40% of New Yorkers have a high school diploma or less, and if we want to reach our full economic potential as a State we need to open up access to career pathways for anyone willing and able to work as a core principle of our economic development.”

A list of available resources will be accessible here. The CFA will open to applicants on May 8, 2019 and project plans 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.

Awards will fall into one of three categories:

·          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. The 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 science, STEM, and advanced manufacturing. 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: These programs expand employer investment in a skilled workforce pipeline. Resources will provide funding or tax credits to train incumbent workers and to recruit and train entry-level workers. Applications tend to come directly from employers. Funds available in this category are provided by the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Empire State Development for employer-driven employee.

·          Workforce Solutions: 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, and expand apprenticeships. The focus will be on regionally significant industries in emerging fields with growing demands for jobs. Funds will also support efforts to improve the economic security of women, young workers and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement. Successful applications could include sector and industry-cluster-based strategies that regionally address a worker shortage and projects that have the potential to rapidly deploy and meet the demonstrated demand for current or anticipated job openings. Sources of funding from participating agencies and authorities will be matched to proposals, based on details of the project.

In recognition of the varied workforce development challenges faced across the state, a range of projects will be eligible for funding. The focus will be on regionally significant industries in emerging fields with growing demands for jobs, including those in clean energy, life science, computer science, and advanced technologies. All projects and activities must be consistent with the region’s workforce development plans. Regional Councils will focus on supporting strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ near-term workforce needs, address long-term industry needs, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, improve regional talent pipelines and expand apprenticeships.

About the Consolidated Funding Application

As part of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to improve the state’s economic development model, the NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive. To access the CFA, please visit https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/

About the Regional Economic Development Councils

The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils is public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom-up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.


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