ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Tuesday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 75 businesses, schools, and community-based organizations across the state were awarded nearly $9.5 million as part of the State’s historic Workforce Development Initiative.

Funding and incentives for the program are provided by the Department of Labor, Empire State Development, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The funding will support critical job training and employment opportunities in high-demand industries for nearly 5,000 New Yorkers across the State.

“When the COVID-19 crisis hit and New York’s economy took a turn for the worse, the state’s Workforce Development Initiative became even more vital to our longtime goal of making sure everyone, regardless of background, has access to a good job,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’re providing greater economic opportunity to New Yorkers and addressing the business needs of companies committed to growing here, and these awards will help companies across the state train workers in marketable skills that they can use to get good jobs and help move New York’s economy forward.” 

“The economic impact of COVID-19 has completely upended the traditional workplace, and we need a job training strategy that reflects the changing environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “As chair of New York State’s Regional Economic Development Councils, I am proud that our Workforce Development Initiative will continue to keep our state ahead of the curve and create a more inclusive post-pandemic future where opportunity is accessible to all New Yorkers.”

New York’s Regional Economic Development Councils have a key role in recommending applications for funding, based on regional economic needs and opportunities. Businesses and organizations receiving Workforce Development awards include:  

  • Capital Region: SUNY Adirondack; Sysco Albany LLC; Youth FX Inc. 
  • Central New York: Advocates; Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse; D&W Diesel Inc.; Oswego County; Responsive to Our Community; Specialized Distribution Solutions 
  • Finger Lakes: Lifetime Assistance; Rochester Institute of Technology; Rochester Rehabilitation Center, Inc.; Seneca Cayuga Yates Counties Chapter NYSARC Inc (DBA Mozaic); Turner Underground Installations 
  • Long Island: Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities Inc.; AVNA Global Inc; East End Disability Associates Inc; Family Residences and Essential Enterprises Inc (FREE); Infinity Drain; Nassau Community College; Nicholas Center; NYIT; Spectrum Designs Foundation; Viability Inc. 
  • Mid-Hudson: Ability Beyond Disability, Inc.; Choice Films at Umbra Stages; Greyston Foundation, Inc.; Westchester Medical Center Health Network 
  • Mohawk Valley: Advanced Tool Inc., Northland Telephone Systems Ltd. DBA Northland Communications 
  • New York City: BioBus, Inc; Brooklyn Communities Collaborative; Building Skills NY; City College of New York ; Cresilon, Inc.; Cureatr, Inc.; East Side House, Inc.; Envisagenics, Inc.; Fesarius Therapeutics, Inc.; Grace Institute of New York; Henry Street Settlement; Kinnos; Lucerna, Inc.; NPower Inc.; NYCDCC Apprenticeship Journeyman Retraining Educational & Industry Fund; Quadrus Medical Technologies; Redesign Science, Inc.; Reel Stories Teen Filmmaking Inc.; Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation; Roulette Intermedium; Roundabout Theatre Company, Inc.; Sephardic Bikur Holim; SoHarlem; Steven Winter Associates and Allied Partners Residential Management; STRIVE International Inc.; Sunnyside Community Services; Thomas White Jr Foundation Inc.; Upwardly Global; Vant AI, Inc.; XL Batteries; Youth Action YouthBuild 
  • North Country: Alcoa USA Corporation; Jefferson-Lewis BOCES; North Country Chamber of Commerce; North Country Workforce Partnership, Inc.; Ready4Real ETS 
  • Southern Tier: Broome County Urban League; Broome Tioga Workforce; Buckingham Manufacturing Co Inc.; Fortitude Industries Inc.; Owego Apalachin Central School District 
  • Western New York: Catholic Charities of Buffalo NY; Fresenius Kabi; Mercy Flight 

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said“As we move toward a post-pandemic economy, ESD is proud to join other state agencies in continuing to support Governor Cuomo’s historic workforce development initiative. Guided by our Regional Economic Development Councils, this funding helps to prepare New Yorkers for new job opportunities and strategically develops talent pipelines to meet our business and industry needs.”

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Governor Cuomo’s continued support of the Workforce Development Initiative is more critical than ever as we work to meet the regional needs of our communities in the midst of the changing workforce created by this Pandemic. Workplace Development is going to remain key in getting New Yorkers back to work by ensuring they are trained and ready to meet these needs.”

NYSERDA Acting President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “As New York continues to advance Governor Cuomo’s bold green energy goals, strategic investment in workforce development and training is essential for attracting workers to the clean energy industry, and preparing new and existing clean energy employees for rewarding, and well-paying jobs. In recent years, New York’s clean energy employment grew at a rate close to three times the national clean energy job growth and upskilling the existing workforce while creating a pipeline of new talent for future green job opportunities is key to New York’s success as we transition to a carbon neutral economy.”   

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “SUNY’s unwavering mission is to continue to uncover resources and build partnerships that invest in our workforce and job training needs of the future. We are proud to support this program and its commitment to provide additional funding for our students and more New Yorkers. And, I am thankful for the ongoing partnership of the Department of Labor, Empire State Development, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the dedication they collectively share to the workforce development needs of our campuses.”

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “The City University of New York is proud to be part of this impressive group of businesses and organizations receiving funding from New York state, which will enable us to provide additional support for our students so they can get the in-demand jobs in the all-important sustainability and healthcare sectors that are crucial for New York’s future workforce and post-COVID recovery. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and commitment to the State’s historic Workforce Development Initiative which continues to provide these crucial economic opportunities.”

As New York continues to move forward through the reopening process, the New York State Department of Labor has been working to connect every job seeker in New York with the right job opportunity. DOL has been encouraging both businesses in need of workers, and New Yorkers in need of a job, to take advantage of its Jobs Express website at There are over 133,000 job openings across the state from businesses looking to hire immediately. These workforce development grants will help provide workers training who want to gain the skills for new, fulfilling jobs. 

Assembly Member Harry B. Bronson said, “As we move forward from the devastating impacts COVID-19 has had on New York’s labor force, we need create opportunities for workers to succeed in this competitive job market and address the long-term job training needs of growing industries. For many, that means providing workers access the skills necessary to compete. This funding is crucial for ensuring that New Yorkers emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before as we rebuild the New York State economy.”

Governor Cuomo’s Workforce Development Initiative 

Governor Cuomo announced a statewide investment for the Workforce Development Initiative in May 2019 to support strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, expand apprenticeships and address the long-term needs of growing industries. These funds will also support efforts to improve the economic security of women, youth and other groups facing significant barriers to career advancement. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts, these funds will support businesses, communities, and workers across New York State in their recovery. 

Since the first announcement of WDI awards in September 2019, nearly $32 million dollars in awards have been announced to 278 projects benefitting more than 18,000 New York workers. More information about the Workforce Development Initiative and the awards announced to date can be found at