Office of Strategic Workforce Development

Fostering industry-driven training of in-demand skills and direct job placement

In April 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new investment of $350 million for workforce development and the creation of the Office of Strategic Workforce Development (OSWD) within Empire State Development (ESD), a new division charged with better aligning workforce development efforts with the needs and priorities of today's employers. 

This investment represents a decisive shift toward a state workforce development strategy that is laser-focused on connecting New Yorkers to quality, in-demand jobs in the state’s fastest-growing industries. Funding will support $150 million workforce development grant programs, administered by OSWD, that will support employer-driven, high skilled workforce training programs. 

Investments will be focused on statewide and regional targeted industry sectors. Through OSWD, ESD will help create new economic opportunities for unemployed, underemployed and underrepresented workers, while simultaneously meeting the labor needs of the state’s highest-growth industry sectors.

Close up of a individuals arms and hands handling a semiconductor chip

Statewide Target Industries

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Materials
  • Biotech and Life Sciences
  • Cleantech and Renewable Energy
  • Construction
  • Electronics and Optics, Photonics, and Imaging (OPI)
  • Film and TV Production and Post-Production
  • Software and Digital Media

Since formally launching on October 17, 2022, OSWD has hit the ground running and has begun to lay the foundation for the State’s new approach to workforce development. The office announced its first round of grant awards in December 2022, the second round in March 2023, a third round in June 2023, and a fourth in November 2023, with combined awards totaling over $36 million to 53 workforce development projects across the state which will train over 11,000 New Yorkers for over 400 business partners.

The success of the Governor’s historic investment and of this Office depends on partnership and collaboration from numerous parties – employers and industries, workers and unions, workforce development providers and advocates, academic and philanthropic institutions, regional partners, and government agencies. OSWD is committed to partnering with all stakeholders to advance its mission and have a transformative impact on New York State’s workforce ecosystem.

In April 2023, OSWD released its first progress report, highlighting progress to date and outlining some of the work ahead. Press release with executive summary and full report can be found here.

Click here to view the OSWD one-pager.

OSWD Workforce Development Grant Programs

OSWD grant program guidelines and materials can be found on the program pages below. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Round 5 applications are currently under review.

Workforce Development Capital Grant Program

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Pay for Performance Grant Program: Operating Grants

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Pay for Performance Grant Program: Capacity-Building Awards

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Frequently Asked Questions

OSWD Overview

View the OSWD webinar for an overview on key priorities, high-growth target industries, grant programs and more.

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New York State's Workforce Development Investments

Find out more about New York State's investment in workforce development. A holistic approach will foster collaboration among state agency partners, industry, employers, higher ed, and workforce trainers.

Contact the Office of Strategic Workforce Development