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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 priority 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.

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Statewide Priority 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 in 2022, OSWD has hit the ground running and has begun to lay the foundation for the State’s new approach to workforce development, with combined awards totaling almost $40 million to 61 workforce development projects across the state which will train 12,000 New Yorkers for 460 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.

Click here to view the OSWD one-pager

OSWD Workforce Development Grant Programs

OSWD manages two grant programs focused on creating and expanding industry-driven training that provides in-demand skills and direct job placements in specifically priority economic sectors that have been identified as high-growth throughout the state. Training programs must lead directly to employment in good jobs that pay minimally a living wage, allow for career and salary growth, provide economic security, and remove the need for public assistance. OSWD’s programs also emphasize creating opportunities for underserved populations, including those not in the labor force, un/underemployed and low-income individuals, and which provide wraparound services to help get trainees to and through training. 

Grant applications are received and reviewed on a rolling basis. Please review the program guidelines and materials linked below for more information on eligibility and how to apply.

Workforce Development Capital Grant Program

Provides funding for capital expenses related to new or expanding workforce training programs, including modernization of existing training centers, building new facilities, or to purchase machinery and/or equipment for training.

Pay for Performance (P4P) Operating Grant Program

Provides funding that can be used for programmatic expenses related to new program development or expansion of an existing program, including curricula development, instruction and instructional materials, technology, marketing , and/or trainee supports.

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New York State's Workforce Development Investments

Find out more about New York State's investment in workforce development across state agencies.

Contact the Office of Strategic Workforce Development