Office of Strategic Workforce Development Grant Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

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All Grant Programs

Q. What is the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA)?

A. The CFA is a modern and easy to use online application for accessing state resources currently available from multiple New York State agencies and authorities. The CFA serves as the single point of entry for workforce development funding for the state.

Q. Are individual businesses with training programs that serve their company alone eligible for either grant program?

A. They are not. They may partner with any of the eligible community-based organizations, training and education providers, chamber of commerce or trade association, or any of the other eligible applicants. Sector-based training with multiple employers is highly recommended.

Q. Are 501(c)4 and 501(c)6 organizations included as eligible “not-for-profit organization” applicants?

A. Yes.

Q. Are economic development organizations eligible applicants?

A. If they are a 501(c)4 or 501(c)6 they are eligible as a “not-for-profit organization” – and if they are a membership-based organization, they would also be eligible under “chambers of commerce and trade associations.”

Q. If my organization applies for a grant and is awarded through either the Capital Grant Program or the Pay-For-Performance Grant Program, can we also apply for a grant through the other program?

A. Yes, you can apply and receive awards for both programs as long you meet the eligibility criteria.

Q. How many Workforce Development awards can my organization apply for and be awarded?

A. For each of the three funding tracks (Workforce Development Capital Grants, P4P Operating Grants, and P4P Capacity-Building Awards) applicants will be allowed a maximum of two active projects underway per track at one time. For example, an organization funded for two Capital Grants could also receive funding for two Operating Grants, and two Capacity-Building Awards, so long as the two grants/awards under each separate funding track are for distinct training programs, per the guidelines. A separate application must be submitted for each project for which you are applying.

Q. If a training program focuses on an industry that is a target industry in a region different from where the training takes place, does that meet the criteria for eligibility?

A. Yes. Training programs can serve an industry that is a statewide target industry or a target industry of any region. Training programs that do not focus on one of the identified target industries will still be considered, but preference is for a statewide or regional targeted industry sector.

Q. What is the due date for submitting an application for funding through either program?

A. . Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis but reviewed every three months for awards. The deadlines for the first two batches of 2023 are March 31 and June 30.  Due dates for subsequent batches will be communicated publicly.

Q. Does the start-date begin at the time the award is announced or at the time of project commencement?

A. ESD staff will work with awardees to develop a contract with applicants that explicitly states the start-date of the project, which is the mutually agreed upon date of project commencement and may be up to six months after the award announcement.

Q. If letters of support are included with the application, from whom should those letters of support be written?

A. Letters of support are optional; however, beneficial letters of support could be from a partnering organization involved in the training and or job placement process. Note that this would not include letters from industry partners, as those letters are mandatory and are uploaded in a different part of the application.

Q. Can the grant funds be used to pay for expenses that have already been incurred?

A. No. The funds may only be used for expenses incurred after an ESD Incentive Proposal has been countersigned by the applicant.

Q. Are training programs to support incumbent workers eligible for the Capital Grant or P4P Operating Grants?

A.  In-house, company run training programs for incumbent workers are not eligible to apply for these programs; however, if a business sends their incumbent workers to attend training at an external training or education provider, then the provider would be eligible to apply for either program, as long as the training results in career progression of participants into good jobs (as defined in the guidelines) and creates job openings in their previous positions. Incumbent worker training would not be eligible for a Capacity-Building Award.

Q: Will any of the funding be advanced at the project start or is it based on 100% reimbursement? 

A. Funding will typically be by reimbursement.  There may be some instances when funding is provided up front or in periodic payments based on project milestones, but this would be by exception and there would need to be a compelling reason for why it would not be possible to execute the project through reimbursable funding.

Q: Our organization primarily serves individuals who need a high school diploma or equivalency, or basic literacy and numeracy before they can enter a hard skills training program. If the program does not directly end in employment, but ends in a successful transition to training that leads to employment is that eligible for funding?

A: If there is a direct pathway into a workforce program that has a clear connection and pathway into the workforce in a target industry sector from those programs, then an application would be considered. Grantees would be responsible for tracking participant outcomes for a year following the subsequent training that connects them to the workforce.

Q: What is the timeframe grantees will need to track participants after completing training?

A: Grantees will be responsible for reporting participant outcomes for one year after training programs that lead to the workforce are completed. If the grantee is providing basic skills training required to enter a training program that is connected to the workforce, they would be required to track participant outcomes for a year following the subsequent training that connects them to the workforce.

Q: Do business partners need to guarantee that they will hire trainees from programs?

A: While the goal is for business partners to hire trainees, they do not need to guarantee it. However, there should be a commitment to, at minimum, interview trainees and program graduates, and/or provide internships or job shadowing experiences. 

Q: What sources of funds are eligible for the required match and are there funding sources that are ineligible for a match?

A: While public funding sources can serve as match, as well as private funding sources and in-kind; as expressed in the guidelines, applicants are encouraged to seek – and will be scored favorably – if they show matching funds from beyond public sources. Capital grant applications with at least 50% private funding will be more competitive.  It should also be noted that there is significant documentation and reporting required for an in-kind match.

Q: Are indirect costs eligible expenses under any of the grants?

A: No, indirect costs are not eligible expenses under the Capital or Operating Grants. 

Q: Are in-kind matching funds allowed in the budget?

A: In-kind matching funds are allowed, but only for allowable expenses. For example, for a P4P Operating Grant, “instruction and instructional materials” are eligible expenses, so they would be eligible to show as a match; however, administrative costs such as executive leadership salaries are not eligible expenses so they would also be ineligible to serve as an in-kind match. Additionally, in-kind expenses must be prorated based on the portion of the expense dedicated exclusively to the project (the new program or the expansion of existing program/s).

Q: Is there a minimum number of training participants for a program to be eligible?

A: There is no minimum number of training participants to be eligible to apply, though the number of trainees served will be a factor when reviewing the budget ask and scope of the project. Additionally, there are minimum dollar value amounts that can be awarded under the Capital Grant and Operating Grant Programs, so applicants must ensure the funding required for their proposed project falls within the funding range for the program to which they are applying. Funding ranges can be found in the grant guidelines.

Q: What types of healthcare-related programs are eligible?

A: Eligible healthcare-related training programs must be non-degree awarding programs that lead to good jobs, as defined in the grant guidelines, for unemployed, underemployed, entry-level, and mid-level workers. They must also meet any additional eligibility criteria in the grant guidelines.  Selection for an award would be contingent upon non-availability of funding from other sources for which the proposed project could be funded (i.e. Department of Health funding).

Q: Will awards be announced publicly?

A: Yes, we do anticipate that awards will be announced via press release and project information will be made available in alignment with public disclosure regulations.

Q: The guidelines reference “certain governmental organizations (such as workforce development boards)” as eligible for funding. Which organizations does that include or exclude?

A: The governmental organizations that are eligible for the Capital Grants and Operating grants include: workforce development boards, public school districts (only for training and education programs that lead directly to the workforce), BOCES (Board of Cooperative Extension Services), and municipalities. Those that are ineligible are: New York State agencies, authorities, and corporations.

Q: Are public sector workforce training programs considered eligible applicants?

                A: No, training for public sector employees are not eligible applicants.

Q: Can the funding be spent on projects related to p-12, and would charter schools be eligible?

A: Funding for p-12 education institutions will only be allowed for adult education or training and education programs that lead directly to the workforce. Charter schools would be eligible so long it is for a project that directly leads students into the workforce.  

Q: What if I have a strong employer partnership, but the sector isn't included on the Target Industry Sector list?

A: Training for industries that are not on the targeted industry list are still eligible to apply, so long as they can demonstrate they lead to a “good job” with designated industry partners and ideally removes barriers to employment for historically marginalized communities.

Q. Are organizations that operate nationally or internationally, or organizations based outside the State of New York eligible to apply for the OSWD Grant Programs?

A. Organizations that operate nationally or internationally and organizations who are headquartered outside of the State of New York are eligible to apply for Operating Grants, but only for grant funding for training programs dedicated specifically toward training New York State residents for placement in jobs located within the State of New York. These organizations would not be eligible for Capital Grants if the project is not physically located in New York State.

Q. Can an industry partner be located outside the State of New York?

A. An industry partner can be headquartered or have facilities outside of the State of New York, but the associated training program for which grant funding is being requested must be working in partnership with a facility located within the State of New York and must lead to job placement primarily within the State of New York.

Q: Are apprenticeship programs eligible to apply?

A: Yes, apprenticeships are eligible to apply.  Selection for an award would be contingent upon non-availability of funding from other apprenticeship funding sources for which the proposed project would be eligible.

Q: Can veteran transition programs apply and what types would be eligible?

A: Yes, veteran transition programs that provide training leading directly to placement in good jobs, as defined in the grant guidelines, are eligible to apply.

Q: Who reviews and approves the applications?

A: Applications are reviewed and recommended for approval by the Office of Strategic Workforce Development, in consultation with ESD leadership.

Q: Can our organization reapply in the next round if not selected for award?

A: Yes, an organization can apply in the next round if not selected; however, they should first review the grant guidelines to ensure they have met all the requirements for eligibility. If not selected, applicants can seek feedback from the Office of Strategic Workforce Development to improve their application for future rounds.

Q: Are there Minority and Women-Owned Business requirements that will need to be met for these grant programs?

A: All projects will be reviewed by ESD’s Office of Contractor Supplier and Diversity to determine if there will be requirements. 

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Capital Grants

Q. Does “groundbreaking” need to take place within six months for projects funded under that Capital Grant program?

A. No. The project must commence within six months, but this should not be interpreted to mean groundbreaking must take place within six months.

Q. What is the maximum amount of time allowed for completion of a project funded under the Capital Grant program?

A. Equipment purchases and renovations of existing buildings are examples of projects that may be completed within two years. If a project is not a new construction project, the preference is that they are completed within two years. It is understood that new construction projects are longer projects, so up to four years is allowed. All projects should be completed within four years. Extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis based on progress made.

Q. What does “a preference for projects that can be completed in two years” mean?

A. Equipment purchases and renovations of existing buildings are examples of projects that may be completed within two years. If a project is not a new construction project, the preference is that they are completed within two years. It is understood that new construction projects are longer projects, so up to four years is allowed.

Q. Can funding under the Capital Grant program be used for operating expenses, working capital such as administrative costs needed for daily operations, or recapitalization/refinancing?

No. The funding can be used only for capital projects such as modernization of existing training centers, construction of new facilities, or the purchase of equipment and machinery needed for workforce training. Eligible organizations can apply to the Pay for Performance Operating Grant program for operating expenses and would be able to receive awards from both programs.

Q. How much of a capital project can be funded by ESD through the Capital Grant program?

A. ESD can fund up to 50% of the total project cost, with a maximum level of assistance of $3,000,000. However, preference will be given to applicants that can leverage more than 50% of the total project cost from other sources. 

Q: What are the evaluation criteria for selecting awardees for the Capital Grants?

A: Evaluation criteria for Capital Grants includes project concept and readiness; financing, leverage, and demonstration of need; program impact; and applicant experience, qualifications, and capacity. Details about evaluation criteria are found in the grant guidelines.

Q: For Capital Grants, do we have to own the building, or can it be leased?

A: No, it is not a requirement to own the building. ESD may require applicants to provide proof of ownership or a long-term lease that allows for capital improvements with their application.

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P4P Program

Q. Are labor unions eligible to apply for funding under the P4P Grant Program?

A. Organized labor training programs are eligible to apply for the Operating Grants track, but not the Capacity-Building Awards track.

Q. Can P4P Grants be used to fund capital projects?

A. No. Funding for capital projects should be sought through the Capital Grant program.

Q. Can P4P Grants be used toward higher education degree programs?

A. No. Higher education degree programs are not eligible for these grant programs.

Q. Can P4P Grants be used for higher education programs that carry some credit but are not part of a degree program?

A. Yes. Provided they meet the program requirements, non-degree certificate programs are eligible even if they carry some credit. Programs that can be completed independent of a degree but may earn credits for a future degree are eligible.

Q. How much time do we have to use the funding provided under the P4P Grant Program?

A. Funding must be utilized within 24 months of the contract mutually agreed upon with ESD. Extensions may be considered on a case-by-case basis based on progress during the first 24 months.

Q. Will there be opportunities to extend funding issued under the P4P Grant program?

A. Additional awards, subject to availability of funds, may be available for organizations demonstrating consistently positive completion and placement metrics, and showing that they continue to achieve program goals while reaching priority populations.

Q. Would a fully online training program meet the criteria to apply for either of the Pay for Performance program tracks?

A. A fully online program would be eligible if it is dedicated specifically toward training New York State residents for placement in jobs located within the State of New York and meets the other criteria of the grant guidelines.

Q: Can P4P Program funding be used for multiple locations under one project?

A: P4P Operating Grants and P4P Capacity-Building Awards can be applied to a project taking place at multiple sites concurrently, provided it is the same training program under a training provider with the same Employer Identification Number at each site.

Q. Can an applicant use funds to cover costs for credentialing exam fees?

A. Yes, credentialing exam fees are eligible expenses under both P4P programs.

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P4P Operating Grants

Q. Can an applicant use funds to cover costs for credentialing exam fees? 

A. Yes, credentialing exam fees are eligible expenses under Operating Grants.   

Q. Can the Operating Grant funding be used toward expenses for a new training program? 

A. Yes. However, applicants will have to demonstrate past success with similar programs. 

Q: Can the Operating Grants be used to support higher education credential programs?

A: Yes, Operating Grants can be used for higher education credentialing programs but not higher education degree programs.

Q: What are the evaluation criteria for selecting awardees for the Operating Grants?

A: Evaluation criteria for P4P Operating Grants includes project concept and readiness, project budget and sustainability, project partnerships and innovation, program impact, and support services. Details about evaluation criteria are found in the grant guidelines. 

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P4P Capacity-Building Awards

Q. If I am applying for a Capacity-Building Award, can I use the funding for capital improvements?

A. No, Capacity-Building Awards can only be spent on operating expenses, similar to what is eligible for funding under the Operating Grants (instruction and instructional material, technology, marketing expenses, wrap around services, etc.). If your organization is in need of funding for capital improvements to expand program capacity, please apply for a Capital Grant.

Q. Can the Capacity-Building Awards be used toward expenses for a new program? 

A. No. Capacity Building Awards are intended to be used to expand capacity of an established and successful training program connecting trainees to good jobs. 

Q. Are awards based on the performance metrics of the previous training cohort or the current training cohort? 

A. Awards are based on the performance metrics of previous cohorts, but metrics of subsequent cohorts will need to be reported to ESD. Applicants are required to report previous and current calendar year training enrollment, completion, and job placement data.

Q. What is the maximum amount that can be awarded under the Capacity-Building Awards Program? 

A. The maximum amount that can be awarded is $1,000,000 per program per calendar year. 

Q: How does the funding work for the Capacity Building Awards?

A: Applicants for Capacity Building Awards will submit enrollment, graduation, job placement, and job retention metrics from past training cohorts, along with any additional metrics requested by OSWD.  If awarded, an award ranging between $1,500 - $4,000 will be granted to the training program for each successfully placed candidate from previous cohorts to be used to build additional capacity of the program.  The amount awarded per successfully placed candidate will be determined by OSWD based on the extent of wraparound services, needs of the population served, and placements in good jobs in target industries, per the grant guidelines.

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Contact

All questions for the OSWD grant programs can be sent to [email protected].