Workforce Development Initiative

Investing $175 million for workforce development


  • Governor Cuomo and the blue-ribbon Reimagine New York Commission have announced a proposal to create a Pathways Pledge for New York State employers to create more inclusive workforces and provide more workforce development opportunities as part of the 2021 State of the State. The pledge commits both public and private-sector employers to reforming their talent recruitment, investment, and promotion policies to foster more equitable workforces after the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers interested in signing on to the Pledge can learn more here or email [email protected]
  • As part of the Workforce Development Initiative, NYSERDA has launched the Career Pathway Training Partnerships program in high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and electric heat pump technologies, investing $8.5M in hands-on, entry level, technical training programs to develop a talent pipeline of new workers for the growing number of job opportunities in New York State’s green energy industry. Funding proposals are now being accepted through May 25, 2021.
  • The FY2021 Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) program guidelines will be issued at a later date, subject to New York State's ongoing response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Updates on guideline reissuance will be posted on this page. Questions or comments may be directed to [email protected] As of 4 pm on May 29, 2020, Phase 2 submissions under FY2020 WDI Program Guidelines are no longer accepted. Review of complete applications is ongoing. As of 4 pm on April 30, 2020, new Phase 1 applications under FY2020 WDI Program Guidelines are no longer accepted. 

Governor Cuomo’s Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) is investing $175 million for job training projects. Awarded projects under the new WDI Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) will support strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, long-term industry needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, and expand workplace learning opportunities. 

To receive funding, projects go through a two-phase approval process:

Phase One: Applicants submit a project plan through the CFA portal. Project plans are reviewed by the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) Workforce Development Committee to ensure that the project plan is feasible, stakeholders are aligned, funding is identified/available and the project conforms to the workforce plans for the region. Funding agencies and the Office of Workforce Development will review each application to ensure eligibility for one or more funding streams available under the WDI CFA.

Phase Two: Applicants that advance to the second phase must submit a more detailed application, which will be reviewed by a team convened by the Office of Workforce Development and include representatives from Empire State Development (ESD), New York State Department of Labor, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), SUNY, and CUNY.


Project plans and applications will be accepted at a later date, subject to New York State's ongoing response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Updates to guideline reissuance and application acceptance will be posted on this page.

Key Documents

Download the Guidebook and Workforce CFA Program Guidelines to learn more about the initiative and application process.

  • Workforce Development Initiative Guidebook


  • Office of Workforce Development

    Program Guidelines


View WDI Webinars to learn more about available funding streams, including allowable costs, activities, and outcomes.

Regional Workforce Strategies

A Workforce Development Committee will be created in every region comprised of workforce development experts.

Project Process

Applications for WDI support will go through a two-stage approval process to streamline the allocation of funding, and quickly identify the appropriate funding options.

Workforce Development Initiative Eligibility

In recognition of the varied workforce development challenges faced across the state, a range of projects will be eligible for funding under the Workforce Development Initiative.

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