Building and maintaining a strong workforce is one of the leading challenges facing many businesses. I often hear stories from business owners about how they’re trying to delay planned retirements of skilled employees because they’re having trouble filling these positions. I hear about the lack of vocational school training and the incredibly tight market for the few candidates who do have the correct skill set to hit the ground right out of school.
New York has recently invested significantly in workforce development education with programs like the Northland Training Center in the Buffalo area. However, there’s a realization that even more investment is needed. As a result, New York plans on spending up to $175 million across the state in the form of the Workforce Development Initiative (WDI). Funds from the WDI are aimed at stimulating economic growth statewide and preparing the workforce for current and future jobs.
WDI is targeted towards high demand and growing industries that have (or anticipate) a deficit in well qualified employees. Specific examples of these industries are life sciences, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
The three categories for the awards are as follows:
- Public-Private Partnerships to Advance 21st Century Skills
- This category invests in future employees by focusing on education and skill development, both in the field and in the classroom. Awarded funding for recipients will go towards a large array of training techniques; from technology and equipment in the classroom, to programs for internships, apprenticeships, and even on-the-job training.
- Employer Driven Skills
- This category provides funding or tax credits will be provided to employers who have interest in investing in a skilled workforce pipeline by recruiting and providing training to entry-level employees.
- Workforce Solutions
- This program looks at the short-term and long-term needs of the workforce. Funding will be matched with proposals for projects that offer innovative ways to develop the workforce in targeted sectors, specifically for those who face advancement barriers in their careers.
Now is a great time for manufacturers and other targeted industry business owners to invest in the development of their workforce and help them acquire the skills that they need now and in the future. Applications are to be submitted online on the WDI website and will be reviewed by the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) and accepted on a continual basis.
Workforce development is everybody’s business and all business owners pay for it one way or another – trying to get a return on that investment directly from New York only makes good business sense.
Below is a link to the announcement of the new initiative and where to apply. Please contact The Bonadio Group if you’re interested in learning more about this and other New York incentives for which your business may be eligible.