New York is moving ahead to revitalize its economy by targeting support for high-growth industries. High-tech fields such as nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, engineering and design as well as traditional areas such as healthcare and entrepreneurship/business/hospitality have been identified as high-demand sectors. New York is also making great strides in developing green jobs such as manufacturing, installing and maintaining solar panels and wind turbines, and building energy efficient schools and homes. Officials at the State, federal and local level have collaboratively worked with the business and workforce development community to provide support for training workers for these jobs. Two training initiatives are discussed below.

New York Schools Form Job Training Consortium

In an effort to secure a $50 million federal employment and training funding grant under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program (TAACCCT) 30 schools in the State University of New York (SUNY) system and 26 community colleges across the State have formed a job training alliance.

The U.S. DOL TAACCCT program is designed to meet industry needs while accelerating individual learning and improving college retention and achievement rates. One of the primary goals of the program is to increase industry-recognized credentials as well as national and local post-secondary degree completion rates. Congress has appropriated a total of $2 billion for the TACCCT Program – for federal Fiscal Years (FY) 2011 to 2014 ($500 million annually).

Under the TAACCT program funds will be used to assist eligible institutions of higher education to expand their capacity to provide quality education and training services to workers in the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. In addition program funds will be used to assist individuals seeking training to improve their knowledge and skills base thereby enabling them to obtain high-quality employment.

With the support of federal funds the newly formed consortium of schools hopes to establish programs that will funnel graduates directly to local employers. More specifically, the consortium will work in conjunction with major regional business employers across the State to develop programs specifically designed to train students in skills needed to secure jobs locally. This new jobs training alliance will particularly focus on the development of worker skills in the State’s seven high-demand growth industries. Workers will be trained for skills in a number of high-growth fields such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, design, renewable energy, entrepreneurship/business/hospitality, and nanotechnology.

Depending on the particular needs of regional companies and industries in certain fields, the community colleges plan to use federal funds to develop new classes and certification programs, bring advanced technology into labs, and expand the availability of internships and externships at local businesses.

A number of State and local agencies as well as economic and workforce development organizations will be working with the SUNY schools and community colleges in the new job training consortium. Some of the participating agencies/organizations include:

  • The New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP);
  • Local Workforce Investment Boards;
  • NYS Department of Labor;
  • NYS Education Department;
  • Empire State Development Corp.;
  • Global Foundries;
  • Laurentian Aerospace;
  • International Business Machines (IBM)
  • AFL-CIO Workforce Development Institute;
  • Center for Economic Growth;
  • NYS Business Council;
  • Manufacturers Alliance of NYS;
  • Healthcare Association of NYS;
  • Interstate Renewable Energy Council;
  • Garment Industry Development Corp.;
  • Partnership of NYC;
  • NYS Hospitality and Tourism; and
  • The NYS Grape and Wine Association.

If U.S. DOL accepts and fully funds the proposal put forth by the NYS consortium of schools, the consortium anticipates using the funds to provide employment and training services to workers in the following regions:

  • Capital Region – 1,338 workers at 6 institutions;
  • Western New York – 678 workers at 3 institutions;
  • Rochester-Finger Lakes Region – 342 workers at 2 institutions;
  • Southern Tier – 1,056 workers at 4 institutions;
  • Central New York – 1,049 workers at 3 institutions;
  • Hudson Valley Region – 100 workers at 3 institutions;
  • North Country – 892 workers at 5 institutions;
  • Long Island – 890 workers at 3 institutions; and,
  • New York City – 495 workers at 1 institution.

Applications for the first year of TAACCCT grant funding were due to U.S. DOL on April 21, 2011. It is anticipated that U.S. DOL will announce the list of selected grant awardees by September 30, 2011. State and local officials are confident that New York is well positioned to receive TAACCCT program funding because of the consortium’s strong proposal.

New York State Energy Research & Development Authority – Green Jobs Employment & Training Grants

On October 9, 2009 the Green Jobs – Green New York Act of 2009 was signed into law. The Act directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to establish and administer the Green Jobs – Green New York Program (GJGNY). Overall the GJGNY program, administered by NYSERDA, was designed to:

  • Help create green job opportunities, particularly opportunities for new entrants into the State’s workforce, the long-term unemployed or under-employed, and dislocated workers;
  • Lower energy costs for residential households and businesses;
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and,
  • Promote energy efficiency, energy conservation and the installation of clean energy technologies.

The GJGNY program is funded with $112 million from the proceeds of selling CO2 allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). These funds have enabled NYSERDA to develop a number of programs under the GJNY initiative – key amongst those programs are workforce development and training programs. Overall, GJNY workforce development programs are helping to:

  • Develop training and certification standards for the small business commercial sector;
  • Provide workers with the basic skills needed to successfully meet the requirements for various green jobs;
  • Create career ladders by assisting workers in completing required certifications for employment in certain green industry fields; and,
  • Support employees and employers through integrated internships, apprenticeships, and other forms of the on-the-job training (OJT).

As part of its on-going effort to support green job workforce development under GJNY, NYSERDA is awarding up to $2.6 million in training grants. Under this training initiative, NYSERDA is requesting proposals from eligible training and apprenticeship providers to advance workforce skills to support labor needs of GJGNY and also is requesting applications from eligible businesses seeking incentives to hire and provide OJT for trained workers. The NYSERDA training grants will run to May 2012 or until funds are exhausted - which ever occurs first. NYSERDA has established two categories through which applicants can submit their respective training proposals:

  • Category A (Up to $800,000) – Provides grants to eligible training providers that can modify existing curriculum and training to incorporate energy efficiency, green building principles, weatherization and solar thermal installation skills in order to advance GJGNY worker skills development through:

    • Existing New York State (NYS) Registered Apprenticeship Training and/or;
    • Building trades training that is certified by an independent third party and that can demonstrate a partnership with employers.

  • Category B (Up to $1,825,000) – Provides grants to eligible businesses to implement on-the-job training for new hires. To qualify for the NYSERDA training grant the new hires must be drawn from NYSDOL’s population of dislocated workers who are registered with the State’s employment and training One-Stop system. Additional key requirements are as follows:

    • Eligible businesses must have a current partnership agreement or contract with NYSERDA; and,
    • OJT must teach trainees occupational skills specific to the job the trainee is entering – soft skills and worker readiness skills are NOT allowable and will not be funded under the current Category B grant.

Under this training initiative applicants will be permitted to submit proposals in either or both categories. Grant recipients will be required to provide a 25% cost-share for Category A. NYSERDA anticipates funding approximately 6 proposals and training at least 800 individuals under Category A. Under Category B grant recipients will be required to provide a 50% cost share. Though NYSERDA has no minimum award amounts per applicant under Category B, there are a number of spending cap restrictions on a per trainee basis. These restrictions and other eligibility criteria can be viewed by clicking on the link provided below.

NYSERDA is accepting applications for funding on a continuing basis, as long as funds are available through May 31, 2012. Please visit the NYSERDA Web page for additional information about the NYSERDA Green Jobs training grant, eligibility criteria and for the NYSEDA request for proposals.