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Empire State Development Releases Report Outlining 2023 Accomplishments of the Office Of Strategic Workforce Development

Office has Awarded $35 Million to 52 Innovative Training Programs Across the State

Read Executive Summary Report Here

Read Progress Report Here 

Empire State Development (ESD) today released its annual progress report from its Office of Strategic Workforce Development which was unveiled by Governor Hochul in her 2022 State of the State address to reimagine New York State’s approach to strategic, collaborative and equitable workforce development. The report, which provides detailed information regarding the implementation of the Governor’s $350 million Workforce Development Initiative, includes an update on the Office’s $150 million workforce development grant programs and other major milestones for 2023. 

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Our Office of Strategic Workforce Development has made smart and strategic investments that offers opportunity to New Yorkers for New York State’s high growth industries and will provide our workforce with the tools they need to succeed today, and for the future. We are also laying the important groundwork for standardized and quantifiable metrics to evaluate and track the impact these grants are making across industries, organizations and participants to guide future rounds of funding."

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "Governor Hochul continues to deliver for all New Yorkers seeking the skills they need to thrive in our robust economy. The New York State Department of Labor is proud to partner with the Office of Strategic Workforce Development to continue to connect New Yorkers to exciting new careers they love."

The Office of Strategic Workforce Development has made major progress in its first 16 months, including awarding four rounds of grants totaling over $35 million to launch and grow 52 innovative projects across the state. These grants will reach more than 12,000 trainees and partner with more than 400 employers across New York State. Importantly, the Office prioritized applicants that committed to scalable, wraparound service models that benefit historically marginalized groups. Every project funded by the Office of Strategic Workforce Development offers critical wraparound services such as childcare support, transportation vouchers and translation services, allowing programs to reach communities that would otherwise be unable to participate in training programs. 

Additionally, the Office of Strategic Workforce Development developed a robust set of metrics to evaluate the impacts of its grantmaking, including job placement, wages before and after program participation, hiring barriers faced, and the support services utilized by trainees. All awardees are required to report standardized outcomes data throughout the grant period and beyond, including training completion and job placements rates, and will seek to track wage growth for participants, among other data. These metrics are allowing ESD to evaluate the impact of funded projects and adapt its grantmaking strategy in future rounds to meet the needs of job seekers and employers. 

The Office of Strategic Workforce Development is investing in innovative programs that are working to diversify representation in high-opportunity industries, and grantees from the first four rounds are making meaningful progress. For example, Syracuse Build works to build a more inclusive workforce in the building trades, and the United Way of Long Island's Power Up! Wind Solar and Renewables is doing the same for the clean energy workforce. 

Additional information about The Office of Strategic Workforce Development’s progress, including active investments, are also available in the report.

ESD is also charged with reporting on the success of other workforce programs under the initial $350 million investment and subsequent $180 million across six with sister agencies. While some of the programs are still in planning phases, and too early to report outcomes, there are great successes with programs like with the Office of Mental Health (OMH) who has successfully added employment specialists to its Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) program to provide individualized employment support for people with serious mental illness and served over 460 people in the past year. The City University of New York (CUNY) also launched a successful internship program with 649 students, 201 business partners and 599 graduates. Many more programs are set to launch in 2024, including the Department of Labor’s Empire State Teacher Residency Program which has already announced $24.6 million in awards to support 980 teacher residents across the state. 

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, "Thanks to significant investments from Governor Kathy Hochul, ESD and its Office of Strategic Workforce Development, and our partners in the state legislature, SUNY plays a pivotal role in economic and workforce development across New York State. Funding supports increased internship and apprenticeship offerings to thousands of students, allows our campuses and faculty members to build on degrees and credentials in high-demand careers, and expand pre-medical opportunities for SUNY EOP students. Our partnership helps to meet the needs of New York students and employers."

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, "Thank you to Governor Hochul and Empire State Developments’ Office of Strategic Workforce Development for their leadership in providing the funding to bolster our state’s workforce in various industries, especially the health care industry which has experienced a shortage in recent years. Grant funding through this initiative is helping to recruit and train skilled health care workers that will assist in alleviating the burden on current staff and improve the health of our communities."

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Kerri Neifeld said, "OPWDD is thrilled to support Governor Hochul’s ongoing commitment to making New York a Model Employer for people with disabilities and to advance this goal by helping more New Yorkers with developmental disabilities prepare to enter the workforce and to enjoy fulfilling careers. With this funding opportunity, OPWDD was able to award $13 million to support eight different projects targeting Career Specific Vocational Training throughout the state, as well as technical assistance to generate referrals for classes and new vocational experiences for people with developmental disabilities."

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "For people living with mental illness, suitable employment plays an extremely important role in the recovery process. In addition to providing a livelihood, employment also gives us a sense of achievement and purpose as well as opportunities to develop positive relationships. OMH is proud to have partnered with the Office of Strategic Workforce Development to provide employment opportunities to hundreds of additional New Yorkers living with mental illness."

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York's chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State's iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | 518-414-1087
ESD Press Office | [email protected] | 800-260-7313