Workforce Development Capital Grant Program

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The Workforce Development Capital Grant Program will support the capital needs of workforce training providers that seek to enhance or expand their offerings. The Program is open to training programs offering industry-recognized credentials and certificates in high-demand-fields by helping trainers make capital investments crucial to industry-driven workforce training. 

Priority Industries:

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

Applicants can apply for funding to be used for modernization of existing training centers, building new facilities, or to purchase machinery and/or equipment for workforce training.

The following is an overview of the Capital Grant program requirements. The full program guidelines can be found here

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$35 million is available through the Workforce Development Capital Grant Program to support the capital needs of workforce training providers that seek to enhance or expand their offerings.

Awards ranging from $100,000 to $3 million will be available for projects that help achieve the following:

  • Responsiveness to industry needs and workforce challenges;
  • Support growing industries in New York by increasing the qualified workforce available through training programs created in partnership with industry;
  • Ensure workers of all skill levels, socioeconomic groups, racial and ethnic groups, gender identities and expressions, and geographies have opportunities to participate and progress in the labor force;
  • Increase the capacity of workforce training providers with a proven track record of results-oriented workforce training and fostering opportunity for underserved populations; and
  • Improvements in data collection and impact tracking across funded programs.

ESD may provide up to fifty percent (50%) of total project cost. Preference will be given to applicants leveraging more than the minimum fifty percent (50%) of the project cost from additional sources.

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Eligible applicants include:

  • Community-based organizations
  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • Chambers of Commerce and Trade Associations
  • Certain Governmental Organizations (such as workforce development boards, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), municipalities, etc.)
  • Higher educational institutions (public or private four-year colleges/universities, or two-year technical/community colleges)
  • Career & technical education providers
  • Organized labor training programs
  • For-profit training providers                     

Applicants will be required to complete the Consolidated Funding Application to apply.

In addition to completing the Consolidated Funding Application, the following are required of each applicant:

  • Organizational chart and resumes of key personnel involved in program implementation
  • Full project budget using the provided budget template (please see "Eligible Uses of Funds" and "Use Restrictions" sections below for eligible and ineligible expenses)
  • Detailed overview of the training to be offered for which the applicant is seeking assistance from this funding, including an estimate of the increased capacity to-be-created using the grant award
  • Three (3) years of most recent audited financial statements
  • Applications must demonstrate that the training program will prepare participants for in-demand, good jobs with career advancement. Applicants will be asked to describe how their training leads to “good jobs,” or skilled jobs that pay minimally a living wage for workers to support themselves in the modern economy, allow for career and salary growth, provide economic security, and remove the need for public assistance.
  • Applications must be developed in partnership with a business or multiple businesses to maximize industry focused curriculum development and promote direct job placement.
  • The required letters of commitment from industry partners should explain the company’s specific role(s) in the project such as financial commitment, involvement in curriculum development, instructional partner, apprenticeship/internship/job placement partner, recruitment of program trainees, projected hiring needs, etc.
  • Preference will be given to training programs that provide opportunities for direct job placement and those involving proactive placement approaches, such as job shadowing, internships, partnerships with companies that will hire participants for full-time employment, and programs that provide post-placement support.

Detailed eligibility information can be found in the Workforce Development Capital Grant guidelines.

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Eligible Uses of Funds

Funding can cover the modernization of existing training centers, construction of new facilities, the purchase of machinery, and/or equipment necessary to provide training. 

Eligible uses include:

  • Purchase and/or installation of machinery and/or equipment used in workforce training
  • Purchase and/or installation of furniture and fixtures for workforce training
  • Fit out and/or renovation of an existing building related to the specific training program
  • New construction or expansion of a building on property already owned or controlled by the applicant, in full compliance with local development regulations and not involving property listed on the State/National Registers of Historic Places
  • Soft costs of up to 15% of total project cost such as architectural and engineering costs necessary to complete a capital project
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Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the extent to which they fulfill the goals of the program and meet the following criteria.

Project Concept and Readiness

  • The related training program provides career pathway opportunities for entry-level and mid-skill workers in high demand, good jobs as demonstrated by the detailed project description and industry partners. 
  • The related training program prioritizes un/underemployed, underrepresented, underserved populations, and/or incumbent workers or other marginalized populations.
  • Applicant demonstrates sufficient planning to implement the proposed activity within the stated timeline as shown through application materials which will include a detailed project description and timeline for implementation with proposed actions and deliverables.
  • The project can commence within six months of award.
  • The project can be completed within four years, with a preference for projects that can be completed within two years.
  • The applicant owns the project site or has a long-term lease that allows capital development (if applicable).

Financing, Leverage, and Demonstration of Need

  • The applicant includes a detailed description of how the capital project will increase training program capacity and better serve trainees.
  • The submitted budget is complete, and all sources and uses of funds are clearly defined and documented.
  • The budget demonstrates a need for this funding that cannot be obtained through other sources.
  • The budget does not include any uses of funds listed in the Use Restrictions section.
  • The budget has matching funds from the private sector, including prospective financial contributions from industry partners benefitting from the training program (not required but preferred).
  • There is evidence that the training program will be sustained beyond the implementation of the grant. Applicants will be required to demonstrate expected financial sustainability following the grant period in the program application.

Program Impact

  • The applicant presents evidence that there is a need for the project to address a specific challenge in both the industry it will assist and the population it will serve.
  • The applicant demonstrates industry buy-in through letters submitted by partner companies listed in the application that explain the company’s involvement in the program, including anticipated hiring needs, potential commitment to provide interviews for trained candidates, internships, or job shadowing.
  • The applicant demonstrates a commitment to serving historically marginalized communities or has meaningful partnership(s) with organizations serving these communities to ensure diverse and equitable access to training and education programs.
  • The applicant addresses program participants’ need for wraparound services and either provides them directly or partners with other organizations to provide them.
  • The applicant demonstrates an effective way to measure the impact of the program and meet data reporting requirements.

Applicant Experience, Qualifications, and Capacity

  • The applicant demonstrates they have the capacity to complete the project, as evidenced by examples of previous projects of a similar size and scale.
  • A demonstration that ESD funding will increase capacity to conduct training, and the degree to which training capacity will increase through this funding.