New York State

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Four Year Combined State Plan

Program Years 2016 through 2019



Strategic Vision and goals. 1

Strategic Planning Elements. 1

Economic, Workforce and Development Activities Analysis. 1

Workforce Development Activities. 1

Operational Planning Elements. 1

State Board.. 1

Implementation of Strategy. 1

State Operating Systems and Policies. 1

Program Data. 1

Program-Specific Requirements. 1

Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth Activities. 1

Adult Education and Academic Standards. 1

Wagner-Peyser. 1

Agricultural Outreach Plan.. 1

Trade Adjustment Assistance. 1

New York Office of Children and family services, Commission for the Blind (OCFS/NYSCB) 1

Description a: Input of the State Rehabilitation Council. 1

Description b: Request for Waiver of Statewideness. 1

Description c: Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Development System... 1

Description d: Coordination with Education Officials. 1

Description e: Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Organizations. 1

Description f: Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds. 1

Description g: Coordination with Businesses. 1

Description h: Interagency Cooperation.. 1

Description i: Comprehensive System of Personnel Development: Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development. 1

Description j: Statewide Assessment. 1

Description k: Annual Estimates. 1

Description l: State Goal & Priorities. 1

Description m: Order of Selection.. 1

Description n: Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI Funds. 1

Description o: State’s Strategies. 1

Description P: Evaluation And Reports Of Progress: VR And Supported Employment Goals  1

Description Q: Quality, Scope And Extent Of Supported Employment Services. 1

New York Office of Adult Career and continuing education services, vocational rehabilitation.. 1

Input of State Rehabilitation Council. 1

Request for Waiver of Statewideness. 1

Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Development System... 1

Coordination with Education Officials. 1

Cooperative Agreements With Private Nonprofit Organizations. 1

Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services. 1

Coordination With Business. 1

Interagency Cooperation.. 1

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development; Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development. 1

Statewide Assessment. 1

Annual Estimates. 1

State Goals and Priorities. 1

Order of Selection.. 1

Goals And Plans for Distribution Of Title VI Funds. 1

State’s Strategies. 1

Evaluation and Reports of Progress: VR and Supported Employment Goals and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion.. 1

Quality, Scope, and Extent of Supported Employment Services. 1

Assurances. 1

Common Assurances (For All Core Programs) 1

Title I-B Assurances. 1

Wagner-Peyser Assurances. 1

Adult Basic Education and Literacy Programs Certifications And Assurances. 1

NYS Office of Children and Family Services. 1

Vocational Rehabilitation Certifications And Assurances. 1

Vocational Rehabilitation Certifications and Assurances. 1

Glossary of Terms. 1

Appendices. 1

Appendix 1: WIOA Organizational Chart. 1

Appendix 2: Performance Goals for the Core Programs. 1


Strategic Vision and goals


New York State (NYS) envisions a unified workforce development system that is regionally coordinated and programmatically seamless, delivering workforce training, business services, and statewide job linkages to all New Yorkers.


This vision is supported by three high level goals that address: Governance; Service Delivery; and Accountability:

·         Governance –Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs will be governed in a seamless system that is coordinated with regional sector-based workforce strategies that align with NYS Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) strategic planning.

It is a goal of this plan to build partnerships and strategic alliances to create a unified workforce vision that brings government, education, and business into an integrated force.  Progress has been made towards integration; however, it is important that this continues so that the workforce system can most effectively collaborate on the mission, vision, curriculum, and outcome.

The State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) will recommend policies to continuously improve the system; support REDC efforts across the State; develop channels to communicate best practices to better serve customers; and serve as a proactive and visionary entity to improve the statewide workforce development system.

·         Service Delivery – Services will meet the needs of businesses through public-private sector partnerships such as education, government, and community, with priority given to removing barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities, veterans, formerly incarcerated persons, disconnected youth, individuals in economically distressed communities, adults with limited literacy or English language proficiency who lack a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma, adults with limited literacy who have a HSE diploma, New Americans including immigrants and refugees, and other special populations.

Services include: job development, job posting, job match and referral, basic skills training, occupational training in career pathways, HSE preparation, and employment support services.

Services are easily accessible to provide all individuals with equal opportunity to work or obtain training, and frontline staff can seamlessly move individuals to applicable services.

·         Accountability – Meaningful performance metrics will be reported to support evidence-based and data-driven workforce investments and decisions, and accountable and transparent programs.  This includes alignment of technology, metrics, and data systems across programs.


The following provides specific strategies for accomplishing each goal:


a.       Revise state guidelines and internal processes to expedite and empower REDC projects across State government, which serve as the main State strategy for job creation.

b.       Make program decisions across the system based on data from current and projected job growth, and utilize partnerships with businesses and REDCs to supply this data.

c.       Share labor market data across workforce partners to inform training decisions and encourage further dissemination of this information to uncover other areas where it might be useful.

d.       Focus ongoing system integration plans beyond core program partners to encompass all available programs that serve the needs of businesses and job seekers.

e.       Improve required collaboration with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program within the workforce system, and explore the ability of the system to expand program support beyond mandated Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) career services.

Service Delivery

a.       Improve comprehensive referrals, program accessibility, and service connections in every workforce area to promote measurable outcome improvements for New Yorkers facing barriers to employment.

b.       Further develop partnerships with State entities, including the higher education system, and secondary schools to align activities, training, and resources that lead to improved employment outcomes for all parts of the workforce, including individuals with disabilities.

c.       Improve workforce partner outreach to business regarding hiring individuals with disabilities and adults who obtained their HSE diploma or other such credentials in order to meet their workforce needs.

d.       Promote and incentivize the use of On-the-Job Training (OJT) strategies across all programs in the system, and work with business to identify how such strategies could be modified to increase use, especially for individuals facing barriers to employment.

e.       Identify and develop training programs that best align with the needs of business and bridge skill gaps of existing job seekers and low skilled workers.

f.        Seek to identify new funding opportunities to support workforce investments and base workforce system investment decisions on data gathered from strong regional sector partnerships.

g.       Incentivize businesses to make internal systems compatible with access technology, enabling individuals to overcome barriers to gainful employment.

h.       Prioritize program funding and financial incentives to serve New Yorkers who are basic skills deficient and/or face barriers to employment, including those who need a HSE diploma for employment, training, or postsecondary transition.

i.         Invest in ongoing development of program staff to provide efficient career services across the full spectrum of workforce programs, including all required partner programs.

j.         Promote program accessibility as a guiding principle system-wide, leverage the experience and ability of programs with a proven record of serving individuals with barriers to employment, and provide financial support of such efforts across the system.


a.       Develop system improvement measures that reflect NYS priorities and goals, and can be reported on a regular basis.

b.       Continue to integrate information technology across programs and pursue new technologies.  Align performance and financial reporting systems to better allocate funding, improve accountability, and address systemic issues.

c.       Develop effective mechanisms to communicate and share performance information to system stakeholders to be used for continuous improvement.


WIOA performance reporting seeks to improve accountability across all the core programs by requiring that they report on a set of uniform measures.  The core programs are required to regularly report to the federal government and to the public on program performance, to ensure the system is accountable and transparent in the pursuit of NYS’s workforce vision and goals.  As of the beginning of PY17, the core programs have updated their case management systems to collect the data elements required by WIOA, and have begun updating data entry policy to include the new requirements.  This data collection will facilitate setting accurate performance goals measures new to the programs in PY18.  In particular, WIOA Title II and IV program staff is in the process of gathering the necessary information to establish valid and reliable data for the required performance measures.  Additionally, the core programs continue to work on establishing data sharing agreements for the programs that do not have access to Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage data.  With the understanding that the new data collection will take time to establish a baseline for performance, the Federal agencies will not be holding states accountable for performance goals in PY17.


The federal government uses the primary indicators of performance as the main assessment of the effectiveness of the NYS workforce development system.  In addition to these, NYS plans to develop intermediary performance indicators designed to support the primary indicators and system goals.  The intermediary indicators will be designed to improve communication between system partners, leverage new technologies NYS has developed, or influence the behavior of frontline staff in NYS Career Centers to improve services to participants as needed by the system.  NYS has had success with intermediary indicators in the past, such as the Customer Service Indicators, which were designed to improve performance in the Common Measures under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA).

With regard to Adult Education and Family Literacy, attached in Table 2 of Appendix 2 are the performance targets approved by the U. S. Education Department’s Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) for 2017-18. The NYS Education Department (NYSED) will continue to refine measurable skill gain targets for 2018-19, including definitions of measures and approved assessments for individuals with barriers to employment “who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers.” 

Adult Education and Family Literacy will continue to comply with WIOA in a number of areas. This includes a data exchange with the Unemployment Insurance database at the NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) and adapting the NYSED reporting data system and reporting requirements with final mandates.  Seven Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) centers and the National Reporting System (NRS) accountability specialist, funded with WIOA leadership funds, are preparing to mount professional development and training for agencies that will be WIOA-funded. The federal office has set the new reporting deadline for NRS data to August 15, 2018. ACCES-Adult Education Policies and Programs (AEPP) has taken steps to comply with required deadlines.  All training and performance reporting policies will be closely coordinated with partner programs to ensure a smooth transition.

Strategic Planning Elements

Economic, Workforce and Development Activities Analysis

Economic Analysis

Existing Demand Industry Sectors and Occupations.

Occupations with Largest Number of Online Ads, NYS, August 2017


SOC Code


Registered Nurses



Software Developers, Applications



Marketing Managers



Retail Salespersons



First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers



Computer Occupations, All Other



Financial Managers



Social and Human Service Assistants



Accountants and Auditors



Management Analysts



Source: Help Wanted Online

Note: Data are not seasonally adjusted and reflect seasonal hiring patterns

·         Data from the Help Wanted Online (HWOL) series, which is compiled by the Conference Board, was consulted to determine which occupations and industries are currently in demand. 

·         The table above shows the 10 occupations with the most online ads. 

·         These top 10 occupations represent a broad range of industries including: financial services, health care, retail trade, and information technology.

·         Six occupations had more than 5,000 online jobs postings in NYS in August 2017. 

·         The occupations most in demand in NYS in August 2017, according to online advertised job openings, are: Registered Nurses (12,891); Software Developers, Applications (7,068); Marketing Managers (6,819); and Retail Salespersons (6,813).


 Industry Sectors with Largest Number of Online Ads, NYS, August 2017

Industry Sector



Administrative and Support Services



Health Care and Social Assistance



Professional, Scientific and Technical Services



Retail Trade



Finance and Insurance



Educational Services



Accommodation and Food Services









Wholesale Trade



Source: Help Wanted Online

Note: Data are not seasonally adjusted and reflect seasonal hiring patterns. Roughly half of NYS’s online job ads do not have an industry assigned.

·         The HWOL data series also provides information on the industry sectors that are posting help wanted ads. 

·         The table above shows the 10 industry sectors with the most online ads in August 2017. 

·         The industry sectors with the highest current demand for workers include: Administrative and Support Services (25,645); Health Care and Social Assistance (22,427); Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (18,093); Retail Trade (18,088); and Finance and Insurance (14,464).

Occupations with Largest Number of Online Ads, Upstate and Downstate New York, August 2017


SOC Code

Occupational Title

Number of Online Job Ads

Upstate New York



Registered Nurses




Retail Salespersons




First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers




Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers




Customer Service Representatives




Social and Human Service Assistants




First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers




First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers




Maintenance and Repair Workers, General




Computer User Support Specialists


Total Ads (Top 10)


Total Ads (Upstate Region)


Downstate New York



Software Developers, Applications




Marketing Managers




Registered Nurses




Computer Occupations, All Other




Financial Managers




Accountants and Auditors




Management Analysts




Web Developers




First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers




Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants


Total Ads (Top 10)


Total Ads (Downstate Region)


A regional breakdown of online job ads provides a more nuanced look at how job titles in demand differ between the Downstate (New York City & Long Island) and Upstate (balance of NYS) areas.  Among our findings:

·         Downstate ads are dominated by high-paying, white-collar jobs concentrated in the management, business and financial operations, and computer and mathematical occupational categories, which account for seven of the top ten job titles.

·         The mix of online ads in the Upstate area is more diverse than the Downstate list, dominated by middle class jobs such as retail salesperson, but also including blue-collar titles such as truck driver and maintenance and repair worker.

·         Only two occupations are common to both top ten lists: registered nurses and first-line supervisors of retail sales workers.  This shows that these occupations are in demand everywhere in the state.

·         The quantity of online ads in the Downstate area (158,679) is greater than the number in the Upstate area (136,337).

Emerging Demand Industry Sectors and Occupations

Emerging Industries in NYS

Industry Code (NAICS)

Industry Title


(2nd Qtr.) Jobs

Projected 2018

(2nd Qtr.)







Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing






Software Publishing






Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals






Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services






Gambling Industries





Source: New York State Department of Labor Division of Research and Statistics

Analysts from NYSDOL’s Division of Research and Statistics (R&S) identified five emerging industries in NYS, based on short-term industry projections spanning the 2014-2016 period.  This set of emerging industries covers three broad industry sectors including: manufacturing; information; and entertainment.

The five emerging industries had combined statewide employment of 127,710 in the second quarter of 2014.  The two industries with the most employment in the second quarter of 2016 were Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services (72,100) and Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals (30,359).  The total job count for the five emerging industries is expected to rise by almost 18,000, or 14.0%, between 2016 and 2018.  This percentage rate of increase is more than 10 percentage points greater than the state’s projected overall increase in jobs (+2.6%) over the 2016-2018 period.

For each of the emerging industries, we present a brief profile as well as information on that industry’s top five occupations (i.e., staffing patterns).  In general, employment in these emerging industries is relatively concentrated, with the top five occupations accounting for anywhere from 32% to 50% of overall industry employment.

Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing (NAICS 312)

Top 5 Occupations in the Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing Industry

Occupational Code (SOC)

Occupational Title

Share of Industry Employment %


Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders



Retail Salespersons



Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders



Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products



Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse


Total, Top 5 Occupations


Source: Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey

One of NYS’s emerging industries is the Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing industry (NAICS 312).  In recent years, much of the industry’s job growth has been centered in craft beverage manufacturing (i.e., brewers, wineries, distillers).

Expanding the state’s craft beverage manufacturing industry has been a focal point of economic development efforts by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  As a result of these economic development efforts and the surging popularity of craft beverages, industry employment is projected to grow by 7.8%, from 8, 048 to 8,677, between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2018.


NYS Software Publishing (NAICS 5112)

Top 5 Occupations in the Software Publishing Industry

Occupational Code (SOC)

Occupational Title

Share of Industry Employment %


Software Developers, Applications



Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products



Computer User Support Specialists



Computer Systems Analysts



Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists


Total, Top 5 Occupations


Source: Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey


Another one of New York’s emerging industries is Software Publishing (NAICS 5112).  In recent years, economic development initiatives such as the Cuomo administration’s START-UP NY program have sought to create a favorable business climate in the state for start-up companies.

As a result of these initiatives -- as well as businesses and consumers increasing their investments in software, computers, and mobile devices -- NYS’s software publishers are flourishing.  Looking ahead, the industry’s statewide employment count is projected to grow by 19.9% (from 9,359 to 11,219) between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2018.

Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals (NAICS 51913)

Top 5 Occupations in the Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals Industry

Occupational Code (SOC)

Occupational Title

Share of Industry Employment %


Software Developers, Applications



Software Developers, Systems Software



Advertising Sales Agents



Public Relations Specialists



Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists


Total, Top 5 Occupations


Source: Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey

The Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals industry (NAICS 51913) has grown, with demand driven by consumers and business needs for information and on-demand entertainment.  The Internet has exploded over the past 20 years.  In 1995, only 1% of the world’s population had an Internet connection.  That figure has increased from one billion in 2005, to two billion in 2013 and three billion in 2014. 

As more people access the web, there has been a rapid increase in demand for skilled workers in this industry.  Although the Internet is now over 20 years old, the rapid proliferation of smartphones since Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007 has contributed to ongoing demand for web services and skilled workers.  As Internet penetration and smartphone ownership increase, industry employment is expected to grow accordingly as advertisers continue to shift resources toward Internet and mobile platforms.  The number of Internet users is forecasted to double by 2019, while digital advertising spending is also expected to grow to almost $83 billion by 2018.

New York City, sometimes referred to as “Silicon Alley,” is home to a thriving tech sector with over 300,000 employees.  As such, New York is in a unique position to benefit from the increasing connectivity trends.  Between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2018, industry employment is projected to increase by 19.4% (from 30,359 to 36,263).

Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services (NAICS 5416)

Top 5 Occupations in the Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services Industry

Occupational Code (SOC)

Occupational Title

Share of Industry Employment %


Management Analysts



Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists



Customer Service Representatives



General and Operations Managers



Sales Representatives, Services, All Other


Total, Top 5 Occupations


Source: Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey

Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services is the largest of the five emerging industries within the state (NAICS 5416).  Between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2018, industry employment is projected to increase by 7.5% (from 72,100 to 77,527).

Gambling Industries (NAICS 7132)

Top 5 Occupations in the Gambling Industry

Occupational Code (SOC)

Occupational Title

Share of Industry Employment %


Security Guards



Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners



Gaming Change Persons and Booth Cashiers



Gaming Dealers



Gaming and Sports Book Writers and Runners


Total, Top 5 Occupations


Source: Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey

A nascent emerging industry in NYS is Gambling (NAICS 7132). With many casinos recently opened or soon to be opening as a result of the Governor’s support, industry employment between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2018 is projected to increase by 46.9% (from 8,844 to 12,991).  Gambling is projected to be the fastest growing of our five emerging industries.

Businesses’ Employment Needs

Identifying employment needs of businesses in New York State requires developing and maintaining current business customer relationships.  This is essential due to the dynamic economic environment which drives business needs.

Developing and maintaining these relationships is accomplished through targeted daily outreach by NYS Career Center business service representatives.  Multiple lead sources are used to perform this outreach.  Foremost among these is analysis of existing business demand based on current job openings posted on the New York State Job Bank, which averaged about 125,000 unique job openings per day over the past year.  In addition, analyses of labor market information on emerging business demand; and business needs identified through the State’s REDC strategic planning are used to target business outreach efforts.

The NYS Career Center system served 31,000 businesses in Calendar Year 2017.  Employment needs identified by these business customers include: human resources consultation and technical assistance; hiring and training incentives; providing labor market information; layoff aversion planning; and various recruiting services.  The most common services used to assist the business in recruiting candidates are: Job development and Job postings; Customized recruitments (972 in 2017); Career fairs (250 in 2017).

Workforce Analysis

Employment and Unemployment

From the beginning of Governor Cuomo’s administration through August 2017, NYS’s economy has added more than a million private sector jobs, experienced employment growth in 68 of the past 80 months and added an average of 12,500 private sector jobs per month. Over this timeframe, the statewide unemployment rate has fallen from 8.4% to 4.8%. 

Labor Market Trends

Three industry sectors – Educational and Health Services (+360,100), Professional and Business Services (+241,300), and Leisure and Hospitality (+224,800) – are responsible for more than 75% of the private sector jobs added in NYS since August 2010.  The two private sector industry groups that lost the most jobs in August 2010-August 2017 include Manufacturing (-22,400) and Natural Resources and Mining (-200).

Of the state’s 10 labor market regions, New York City (+22.6%) is the only one that has added jobs at a faster pace than the nation as a whole (+15.1%) since August 2010.  Other regions that have seen their private sector job counts grow by at least 5.0% since August 2010 include: Long Island (+11.9%), Hudson Valley (+11.2%), Capital (+10.1%), Finger Lakes (+5.7%) and Western New York (+5.2%). Regions adding private sector jobs at the slowest pace in August 2010 - August 2017 include: Central New York (+3.8%), Southern Tier (+2.3%), Mohawk Valley (+2.2%) and North Country (+2.0%).

In August 2017, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9% in New York City and 4.8% in the balance of the state (NYS-New York City).  While the unemployment rate has increased in both New York City and the balance of the state since March 2017, the rates remain slightly below their pre-recession levels of 5.2% and 5.0%, respectively.  In August 2010-August 2017, the rate in New York City dropped from 9.3% to 4.9%. This steep rate drop reflects, in part, the strong private sector job growth experienced in New York City over the past seven years. The rate decline in the balance of state’s unemployment rate has been more gradual, falling from 7.9% to 4.8% over the same seven-year timeframe.

The table below shows the change in unemployment rates by labor market region between August 2010 and August 2017.  The rate in New York City has dropped the most (-4.4 percentage points) over the past seven years – from 9.5% to 5.1%.  Most other regions in the state experienced rate drops in the range of 2.5-3.5 percentage points.

Unemployment Rates, NYS, by Region, August 2010 and August 2017

(not seasonally adjusted)


August 2010

August 2017


(in percentage points)





Central New York




Finger Lakes




Hudson Valley




Long Island




Mohawk Valley




New York City




North Country




Southern Tier




Western New York




Relative to other states, NYS’s economic recovery has been robust as it experienced the third largest net gain in private sector jobs in the country (calculated as jobs gained during the recovery/expansion minus jobs lost in the recession). However, the job gains have been uneven, with the New York City, Long Island and Hudson Valley regions adding private sector jobs at a much more rapid rate than other regions in the state. 

In addition, New York City and the balance of the state experienced much different trends in their labor force participation rates since August 2010.  In New York City, the participation rate has increased slightly, from 59.9% to 61.4%. Outside of New York City, the participation rate has decreased sharply, from 63.9% to 60.5%, over the same period.  As a result, overall labor force levels in New York City are up by approximately 298,000 since August 2010, while they are down by almost 210,000 in NYS outside of New York City.

Businesses in a variety of industries in the state continue to report some level of difficulty in filling their job openings. Some of the most difficult-to-fill titles include various finance and accounting occupations, skilled trades occupations (e.g., HVAC technicians, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters, or sheet metal workers), retail salespersons, truck drivers, customer service representatives, advertising managers, various IT job titles (e.g., network architect, web developer), engineering job titles (e.g., biomedical engineer), health care practitioners (e.g., surgeon, optometrist), and health care support titles (e.g., home health aide, nursing assistant).

Education and Skill Levels of the Workforce

Educational Attainment for Population Age 25+: NYS and Labor Market Regions


Population Age 25+ (in 1000s)

Less than high school diploma

High school graduate (includes equivalency)

Some college or Associate degree

Bachelor degree

Graduate or Professional degree

New York














 Central NY







 Finger Lakes







 Hudson Valley







 Long Island







 Mohawk Valley







 New York City







 North Country







 Southern Tier







 Western NY







Source: 2011-2015 ACS 5-Year Estimates Table B15002.

The above table presents information on the educational attainment of the state’s population age 25 and older. 59% of the state’s population (age 25+) have at least some college or an associate degree, including 19.4% who have a bachelor’s degree and another 14.8% who hold a graduate or professional (e.g.., medical or law) degree. 

Looking at the state’s labor market regions, populations in the Hudson Valley (38.9%) and Long Island (38.2%) have the highest share with at least a bachelor’s degree.  In contrast, the North Country (21.1%) and the Mohawk Valley (21.9%) have the smallest share.

Conversely, 19.7% of New York City’s population (age 25 and older) has less than a high school diploma.  This reflects in large part the large share of the city’s population that is foreign born.  The Capital (8.5%) and Long Island (9.7%) regions have the smallest share of population with less than a high school diploma.

Despite having a highly-educated population and a readily available talent pool, anecdotal accounts indicate that many businesses in the state are still having trouble finding workers with the skills they require.  This suggests that local workforce boards need to continue working closely with businesses to develop the worker skills that are in demand.

Almost one in seven New Yorkers do not have a high school diploma.  Anecdotal accounts suggest that many businesses will not consider a job applicant, even for the lowest-level positions, unless they have a high school degree.

Another barrier facing many workers in NYS, especially those without a high school diploma, is a lack of English proficiency. This can frequently be attributed to the large number of foreign-born residents in the state. Therefore, it is critical for any workforce development plan to implement a strategy to increase the percentage of potential workers with a high school diploma as well as provide English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.


School Status of Population Age 16-19 (levels in 1000s), NYS and Labor Market Regions


Population Age 16-19

Enrolled in School

Not Enrolled in School

Not Enrolled in School

High School Graduate

Not High School Graduate

% Not High School Graduate

New York














 Central NY







 Finger Lakes







 Hudson Valley







 Long Island







 Mohawk Valley







 New York City







 North Country







 Southern Tier







 Western NY







Source: 2011-2015 ACS 5-Year Estimates Table B14005.

Among the more than one million New York youth aged 16-19, about 42,400, or 4.0%, are not enrolled in high school and have not graduated high school. Almost half of the youth (44.7%) in this category reside in New York City.  As noted, in the discussion above, persons without a high school diploma are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to finding a job in today’s competitive labor market. The share of this age group not in school and without a high school degree ranges from a high of 5.4% in Mohawk Valley to a low of 2.2% on Long Island.

Civilian Population with a Disability (in 1000s), NYS and Labor Market Regions


Total civilian population

With a disability

No disability

Percent with a disability











 Central NY





 Finger Lakes





 Hudson Valley





 Long Island





 Mohawk Valley





 New York City





 North Country





 Southern Tier





 Western NY





Source: 2011-2015 ACS 5-Year Estimates, Table S1810.

The table above presents information on the number and share of the overall civilian population with a disability.  Note that demographic information on the skill level of this population is not available.  As shown, 11.1% of the overall civilian population has a disability.  This means more than two million NYS residents have a disability.  More than 40% of NYS residents with a disability live in New York City.  Another 22.9% of NYS residents with disabilities reside in the Hudson Valley or Long Island.

Long Island (8.9%) is the only labor market region in which the disability rate is below 10%.  In contrast, there are five regions in which the disability rate is at or exceeds 13%.  The regions with the highest disability rates in the state are: Mohawk Valley (15.1%); North Country (14.7%); Southern Tier (14.1%); Western NY (13.5%); and the Finger Lakes (13.0%).

Share of Population in Poverty and Percent of Households Receiving Public Assistance, NYS and Labor Market Regions


% of Population with Income below poverty level

% of Population Under 18 years with Income below poverty level

% of Households with cash public assistance income

% of Households with Food Stamp/SNAP benefits in the past 12 months











 Central NY





 Finger Lakes





 Hudson Valley





 Long Island





 Mohawk Valley





 New York City





 North Country





 Southern Tier





 Western NY





Source: 2011-2015 ACS 5-Year Estimates, Tables DP03, S1701, B17001.

One of the major challenges facing the state’s population as it seeks to attain the education, skills, and training needed to obtain employment is achieving economic security. Data in the above table from the American Community Survey tell us about poverty rates as well as the percentage of NYS households receiving cash public assistance or Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits within the past 12 months.

About one in seven New Yorkers, or 15.7%, were living in poverty, per the American Community Survey. This figure, however, was much higher (22.2%) for those under the age of 18 in NYS.

These statewide figures mask wide variation in poverty rates across the different labor market regions. For example, less than 10% of residents in the Long Island (6.6%) region lived in poverty, while over 20% of New York City residents were in poverty.

The contrast in poverty rates is even greater for residents under the age of 18. For example, only 8.5% of Long Islanders under the age of 18 lived in poverty, while the comparable rate was three times higher (25.6%) in the Mohawk Valley and almost three and a half times higher (29.5%) in New York City.

Over 3% of households in NYS received cash public assistance income. As with the various poverty measures, discussed above, Long Island had the lowest rate (1.9%) of households receiving cash public assistance income, while New York City had the highest rate (4.1%). Similarly, Long Island had the lowest percentage share (5.9%) of households receiving Food Stamp/SNAP benefits in the past 12 months, while New York City topped the list (20.6%).

Description of Apparent Skill Gaps

In today’s global economy, industries in the United States, Europe and elsewhere are experiencing significant growth in “middle skill” occupations, which require more than a high school diploma, but less than a Bachelor’s degree.  In NYS, average annual wages for middle skill occupations range from $20,180 to $146,280, with an average of $56,248 per year across all occupations.  It is these jobs that many businesses in NYS, and the nation, are struggling to fill.

Occupational projections from the NYS Department of Labor indicate there will be 3.6 million job vacancies in New York between 2014 and 2024 as a result of new jobs (i.e., growth need) and openings from retirements and career changes (i.e., replacement need).  Over a third of these available vacancies will require some type of formal education beyond high school, with 335,000 of these jobs available for those who fall into the “middle skill” category.  This is approximately 10,000 more openings than those that will, in total, require a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral/Professional degree.

Failure to address this gap will erode the state’s ability to strengthen middle class economic justice, and cause NYS businesses to be less competitive in the global economy due to losses in productivity.

Workforce Development Activities

NYS’s workforce development system is strong.  Through the SWIB, the SWIB’s committees, and the Interagency Team, the WIOA partners have developed a workforce system dedicated to providing job seekers and businesses with the tools necessary to support a growing economy.

1.       SWIB Description

The SWIB is the governance body for state workforce development programs in New York.  Appointed by Governor Cuomo, membership includes the WIOA-required partners from business, labor unions, local government, NYS Executive and Legislative branches, and other representatives with experience addressing the workforce needs of those with barriers to employment. 

The Commissioners from the NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL), the NYS Education Department (NYSED), and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services/NYS Commission for the Blind (OCFS/NYSCB) are ex-officio members of the Board.  These three agencies are responsible for the six WIOA core programs as follows:

·         NYSDOL, Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions (NYSDOL/DEWS) – Administers Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs and the Title III Wagner-Peyser program;

·         NYSED, Adult Career & Continuing Education Services (ACCES) – Administers the Title II Adult Education and Literacy program through ACCES-Adult Education and the Title IV Vocational Rehabilitation program through ACCES-Vocational Rehabilitation (NYSED/ACCES-VR); and

·         OCFS/NYSCB – Administers the Title IV Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program for legally blind individuals.

2.       Other Required WIOA Partners

In addition to the core program partners, there are several mandatory partner programs for which career services must be delivered under WIOA.  These mandatory partner programs are:

·         Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA);

·         Unemployment Compensation;

·         Job Corps;

·         YouthBuild;

·         Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker (MSFW);

·         Indian and Native American programs (INAP);

·         Jobs for Veterans;

·         Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE);

·         Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Employment and Training (TANF);

·         Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP);

·         Community Services Block Grant Employment and Training (CSBG);

·         Housing and Urban Development Employment and Training (HUD); and

·         Second Chance Act of 2007.

Other entities carrying out workforce development programs may also be partners in the local area if approved by the Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) and Chief Elected Official (CEO).

3.       Interagency Team Partners and Description

Staff from the WIOA core programs participate on the SWIB’s committees, which led to the development of the NYS WIOA Interagency Team in 2015.  The Interagency Team was formed under the SWIB’s Aligning Workforce Programs committee to work together on the NYS Combined Plan.  Since the Plan was submitted, the committee has continued to meet bi-weekly with the goals of:

·          Reviewing existing workforce programs for best practices and current performance barriers;

·          Fostering dialogue between workforce organizations to ensure program alignment with labor market information and business needs; and

·          Developing strategies to ensure workforce programs are aware of WIOA requirements and receive technical assistance when necessary.

Staff from the TANF and SCSEP programs joined the Interagency Team in late 2015, and the group has met approximately 70 times over the last three years.  About 50 additional meetings have also been held between the various workgroups within the Interagency Team. 

4.       Interagency Team Workgroups

To help facilitate the work identified during the WIOA Interagency Team meetings, workgroups were created to address specific needs.  The workgroups meet outside of the regular Interagency Team meetings, and due to their smaller size and specific purpose, are more focused than the Interagency Team can be.  Generally formed to complete a specific task, the workgroups are dissolved after completing the task they are designated to accomplish.  To date, eight (8) workgroups were formed out of the Interagency Team.  The following provides descriptions of these workgroups.

a.       Accessibility Workgroup – Collaborates with the NYS Career Centers to make the centers and workforce development services accessible to all New Yorkers. The goals of the Accessibility Workgroup are to:

·         Create a base standard of equipment throughout the System that will be more uniform;

·         Evaluate program accessibility and examine how assistive technology may open up programming options for participants;

·         Understand Career Center staff training needs pertaining to assistive technology; and to

·         Create a channel to distribute up to date information on accessibility compliance and best practices. 

The workgroup immediately set out working with content experts within the respective NYS agencies, as well as tapping into knowledge from community partners.  From this information, a base list was developed for uniform technology for the Career Centers.  Data from a digital survey was also evaluated to determine what technology already exists within the Centers and what specific training areas the Career Centers feel they can use assistance with.  The workgroup then worked to identify and braid funding sources for the purchase of adaptive equipment for the Career Centers.  The initiative continues to move forward with a goal of uniform equipment for the upcoming program year.

b.       Business Engagement Workgroup – Focuses on the development of a common system for agencies to track their engagement of businesses.

Since its inception, the workgroup has worked to collaborate more closely at both the local and state levels to ensure all partners are included in the Regional Business Service Teams and activities related to business engagement.

c.       Combined Plan Workgroup – Tasked with updating the WIOA Combined Plan document with a focus on making the Workforce Development Activities section more cohesive between the four WIOA Titles.

Several comments were submitted to the 2016 Combined Plan indicating that the Plan was more of a siloed description of the services of each of the four WIOA Titles.  This workgroup was established in late 2017 to focus on integrating the Workforce Development Activities section, and provide highlights of the work being done by the NYS Interagency Team.

The group met several times to assess and update this section based on the work being done by the other Interagency Team workgroups.  The result is a more integrated Combined Plan for the 2018 update.

d.       Customer Outreach Workgroup – Collaborates to gather customer feedback on the use of the Career Centers and their services. The goals of the Customer Outreach Workgroup are to:

·         Better understand customer group experiences using the Career Center System;

·         Create and utilize focus group methodology to gather customer feedback;

·         Identify areas that each core partner can improve to better meet customer expectations;

·         Develop cross agency strategies/training to improve customer experience/service; and to

·         Identify strategies to better promote the Career Center to customers.

A series of critical conversations were held to more fully understand how NYS Career Center stakeholders, including WIOA partner staff and customers from various populations, view the delivery of services that are provided.  NYSDOL, along with other WIOA core program partners, sought the feedback of NYS agency staff and community based organizations starting in the summer of 2016.  These partnering agencies represent individuals with disabilities, adult learners, and TANF recipients.  Feedback was also solicited from customer groups in the winter of 2016 representing TANF participants, VR customers (including those who are blind), and Adult Education customers.  In spring of 2017, customer outreach was expanded to Veterans, Ex-Offenders, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) customers.  Customer outreach sessions were held in Albany, Utica, Harlem, and Brooklyn. 

The feedback provided in the 18 outreach sessions held were invaluable and included suggestions to:

·         Increase awareness among the public of the Career Centers and the services provided;

·         Provide additional training to staff to help meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, and other individuals with barriers to employment (veterans, ex-offenders, TANF, adult learners, etc.);

·         Increase and improve assistance of staff to help Career Center customers effectively access and navigate Career Center services (resource rooms, job searches, online resources etc.); and 

·         Increase collaboration between partnering agencies to ensure continuity of services for shared customers.

These suggestions were shared with the appropriate Interagency Team workgroups to be sure customer feedback is heard and worked on appropriately.

e.       Data Integration Workgroup – Tasked with determining how NYS can best comply with WIOA's requirement for integrated data reporting.

The workgroup was formed in early 2016.  To work towards compliance with WIOA, the workgroup took inventory of existing systems and worked to update systems to comply with new data collection requirements.  The group also discussed creating a combined database for all partners to use, as the use of a single case management system is not feasible in NYS now.  Through these efforts, the team fostered better relationships between the partners.

f.        MOU Workgroup – Tasked with developing the guidance and template for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which WIOA requires workforce systems partners in each Local Workforce Development Area (LWDA) to sign.

Following the direction provided by the United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s (USDOL/ETA) Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 17-16, the MOU was split into two parts; the Service Delivery MOU and the Infrastructure Funding MOU.  A template for each part was provided to the local areas to streamline the signature process for up to 19 Career Center partners, as appropriate.  Negotiators from each partner program participated in LWDB meetings to develop the MOU. 

g.       Referral and Release Workgroup – Tasked with developing a seamless referral process among system partners as well as a confidential release of information form.

This workgroup was formed at the end of 2017 and is working with the agency Counsels toward developing a cross-partner referral and release of information form that will abide by each partner’s confidentiality rules.

h.       Training and Assistance Workgroup (TAG) – Tasked with ensuring direct training and skill building that occurs in the NYS Career Center System is consistent across all partner programs, the workgroup focuses on the following:

·         Gathering and sharing a training inventory of what is being provided by NYS agency partners;

·         Developing a statewide plan to identify and deliver important training to staff (some based on the feedback outlined by the Customer Outreach group);

·         Identifying ways of sharing what has been developed and delivered and what is still needed to support WIOA Implementation; 

·         Identifying NYS agency points of contact for training; and

·         Identifying regional or local points of contact for training.

This workgroup began with the goal of developing an NYS training plan to assist with consistent staff development across all partner programs for WIOA implementation. The workgroup first met in the summer of 2017 to develop an understanding of the current landscape of staff development and training.  The NYS partners led this process by identifying training offered to staff in the past year that fell under one of these competency areas: customer service, interviewing skills, labor market information, communication, systems training, disabilities, career development, language access, and business services.  A broad “other” category was also included to capture training that may be critical for only one or two of the NYS partners. 

A survey is under development to gather similar information from local partners as well as their training needs from across NYS in early 2018. The information will be added to the NYS partner training inventory to identify strengths and gaps in professional development.  From there an NYS training plan will be developed to guide professional development in the coming years.  The workgroup is also thinking through ways to share what the workgroup developed and to receive feedback from professionals who are engaged in WIOA Implementation. This includes identifying NYS agency points of contact for training as well as regional or local points of contact for frequent communication.

There are also multiple training opportunities made available to System participants, including soft skills training and resume building.  Moving forward, the workgroup will match System area needs to existing trainings and identify mechanisms for sharing or providing the training.  Additionally, if there are any gaps between identified needs and available training, curriculums will be developed or other methods sought for meeting those needs. 

Strengths and Challenges of Workforce Development Activities

1.       Strengths

a.       Wide-ranging Education and Training Programs    

NYS places a priority on ensuring the secondary education system, the postsecondary education system, and certificate training programs are of high quality and offer a wide-range of curricula and attendance options to ensure a diverse workforce is prepared to meet the evolving needs of a 21st century labor market.  Multiple pathways for students and adults have been developed to ensure full participation of all students and adults.

The NYS Career Center System serves as the center of the system by:

·         Linking directly to the education/training systems for specific purposes;

·         Connecting workforce system participants to training options;

·         Providing career pathway opportunities; and

·         Providing support to assure that participants are successful in both completing training and subsequently achieving employment.

b.       High-quality Services to Students and Youth

WIOA requires partners to provide services to both in-school and out-of-school youth, ages 14-24.  NYSCB has maintained a commitment to serving transition age youth as young as 10 through the VR program and has done so since 2011, leading to a focus on increasing programs and services available for this age group statewide.  Collaboration across all NYS partners in serving students and youth has led to increased business engagement, stronger linkages with secondary and postsecondary systems, and additional employment opportunities for youth with various barriers to employment.

Work experience is an essential part of youth programs in NYS, and most programs are spending more than the 20% required funding on youth activities.  The programs have developed innovative ways to help build work readiness skills, business relations, and work-site mentoring options via the work experience.  Youth programs are engaged with Regional Business Services Teams, many of which include partner staff, to further their skills and knowledge of developing work experience and employment opportunities with businesses for youth.  Continual promotion of the NY Youth Jobs Program (a tax credit for hiring youth) and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program has facilitated business engagement. 

NYSED/ACCES-VR is housed within NYSED, which has made the partnership and linkages between the NYS VR programs and the special education system stronger and more seamless.  The VR programs are working collaboratively on agreements with education officials so that students are provided with pre-employment transition services (as appropriate), transition services, and other VR services that may be required for youth in school settings.  Both the NYS VR programs are working closely with the secondary and postsecondary systems, and workforce system partners to develop additional opportunities for the provision of pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities.  Specifically, NYSED/ACCES-VR will be executing new contracted services for pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities in 2018.  These services were identified as critical for establishing a solid foundation for in-school youth with disabilities, ages 14-21.  The providers will be expected to build partnerships with the local Career Centers, school districts, and businesses.  The VR programs also work closely with System partners to develop work experience opportunities and facilitate the integration of youth needs into local planning.

NYSCB and NYSED/ACCES-VR collaborate to implement new requirements for students and youth consistently.  Together, the agencies are committed to providing pre-employment transition services for students and for providing additional VR services for transition age youth statewide.  The VR agencies will continue to develop, implement, and assess programs and services that prepare NYS youth with disabilities for entering the workforce.

In many local areas, core program staff is working together and receiving cross training to improve skills associated with serving youth with disabilities.  Most programs are spending more than 75% of their funds to serve out-of-school youth. To meet the needs of out-of-school youth, they are building collaboration with core programs, Youth Bureaus, alternative schools, and not-for-profit organizations to make all 14 program elements available to youth. 

The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) serves to introduce youth into the labor market, helping them acquire skills that can be used to improve school performance and become responsible adults. All youth are paid at least the current NYS minimum wage and receive supportive and educational services including financial literacy training. Worksites are public, private or non-profit and include employment at day care centers, summer camps, senior citizen centers, school districts and community-based organizations, and county government. The NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) allocates SYEP funds to all Social Services Districts, and many districts opted to transfer their allocations to their LWDBs for program operation in 2017.

In an effort to further collaboration across System Partners, NYSDOL is in contact with the OCFS Bureau of Youth Development, OTDA Employment and Income Support Programs, and NYSED/ACCES-VR to collaborate on issues and initiatives pertaining to youth in NYS.  A series of bi-monthly meetings are planned to explore opportunities for greater System alignment of service delivery to youth, and to share best practices in combatting the high youth unemployment rate.  NYSDOL continues to engage NYSED on issues related to aligning the CareerZone website with NYS learning standards, promoting the use of the Career Development and Occupational Standards (CDOS) Commencement Credential as a measure of work readiness for youth, and to provide clarity to youth program providers on appropriate pathways to High School Equivalency (HSE) diplomas in NYS.      

In 2017, NYSDOL Youth Office staff offered training for OCFS Youth Bureau directors to understand the changes in WIOA youth program eligibility and started exploring ways to collaborate at the NYS level.  The NYSDOL Youth Office is also exploring ways to collaborate with the Youth and Workforce Development Unit of OCFS, which focuses on youth in facilities and their transition back to communities after release. 

c.       Collaboration between the NYS Partners

NYS agencies including NYSDOL, NYSED, OCFS/NYSCB, OTDA, and the NYS Office for the Aging (SOFA) have a strong history of collaboration that has served as a foundation for the successful implementation of WIOA strategies. 

1.       WIOA Implementation

Beginning in late 2016, partners obtained One-Stop Operator and MOU assistance from a renowned national consultant. The consultant presented to NYS partner program staff, LWDB Directors and Board members, Career Center staff, and MOU negotiators and signatories on infrastructure funding expectations, options, and partnering opportunities.

Partner Program and Counsel staff also worked together to develop and approve guidance for the One-Stop Operator and MOU processes, which were released to the Career Center System. Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) are using MOU planning as an opportunity to review service offerings and availability to leverage resources and reduce duplication, and to establish effective referral systems, career services offerings, and co-location of partners where appropriate. A joint technical assistance document regarding the MOU will be released by partner programs participating on the Interagency Team.

In addition to discussions on the One-Stop Operator and MOU process, the national consultant discussed:

                                   ·          Building a collaborative workforce development system through identification of career services to be offered and methods of shared service delivery;

                                   ·          Serving youth; and

                                   ·          Business collaboration and performance accountability.

Furthermore, in a webinar targeted for VR field staff, the consultant focused discussion on performance and the role of the VR program as a partner of the workforce system, expected to meet and contribute to achieving NYS’s performance measures.

2.       Joint Presentations

Together the program partners have presented to a number of different organizations in NYS, including the NYS Rehabilitation Association (NYSRA), the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), and the NYS Association for Continuing and Community Education (NYACCE).

3.       WIOA Local Planning

NYSDOL staff worked with Title II Adult Education staff on the Title II component of the WIOA Local Plan, meeting a new federal requirement that all WIOA Title II competitive applications be reviewed by the LWDB for alignment with dedicated plans to serve Title II populations. Title II information is posted to the NYSDOL website for assistance in developing the remainder of the Plan.

Through the statewide business engagement team, all program partners are committed to understanding regional and local business needs and developing statewide strategies that can link to and/or guide regional and local efforts.

There are also examples of NYS partner collaboration affecting local service provision.  For example, One-Stop Career Centers and Social Services Districts in many local areas have longstanding working relationships, coordinating workforce resources to maximize their funding streams, meet the specific needs of the locality, and improve outcomes for their shared customers.  These relationships have strengthened due to collaboration between NYSDOL and OTDA at the NYS level since the implementation of WIOA.

2.       Challenges

a.       Funding

Federal appropriations for WIOA are flat funded at best, with significant cuts being proposed by the President and Congress, making it impossible to meet the full potential of the statute. Even now, funding reaches only a fraction of the need.

b.       Fragmented Federal Guidance

Federal policy guidance and requirements are delivered to each partner individually. This results in:

                       ·          Conflicting information;

                       ·          Necessary front-line staff training;

                       ·          Essential cross-training for all System partners on cross-program knowledge and requirements;

                       ·          Reduction of staff availability to focus on collaborative efforts;

                       ·          The need for new processes, forms, and policies; and

                       ·          Significant modification to data collection systems.

c.       Data Integration

The previously mentioned Data Integration Workgroup has also identified several barriers that need to be addressed before further progress can be made:

                       ·          Changes in reporting requirements make it difficult to commit to a solution;

                       ·          No targeted date has been provided for joint reporting; and

                      ·           No estimate has been provided for the funding required for this project. 

State Workforce Development Capacity

NYS agency partners work together to provide seamless service delivery.  Partners are providing this service in the following ways:

1.       Title I – Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth

NYS has a robust Title I service program, serving over 300,000 individuals in Program Year 2016 across the Adult, Dislocated Worker (DW) and Youth programs.  The services to Adults and DWs are provided through an extensive network of One-Stop Career Centers, over 90 in total, across NYS.  The centers are staffed by a variety of front line staff, including a mix of county and state staff. 

NYS policy requires that all participants who are served in the Career Center System be provided first with an Initial Assessment.  The Initial Assessment is used to determine the participant’s current circumstance, including but not limited to job status; work history; knowledge, skills and abilities; barriers to employment, etc.  This information is then used to determine if the individual is Job Search Ready or is in need of Career Development Services (CDS), and the service delivery plan is developed to meet the needs of the individual.

Youth services are provided by an extensive network of Youth Providers across NYS.  These providers report to the LWDB on services and outcomes, and ensure that all 14 Youth Elements are available to youth being served.

In addition to the services provided through the Career Center System, state-level Title I funds are used to develop and fund solicitations targeted at different workforce needs.  A prime example is the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), which utilizes approximately $5M in Title I funds, awarded competitively to applicants across NYS, to operate targeted Workforce Development Programs.       

2.       Title II - NYS Adult Education

NYS has one of the largest and most diverse adult education systems in the country (over 170 programs administered by school districts, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), 14 City University of New York (CUNY) colleges and other postsecondary institutions, not-for-profit community based organizations, unions, library systems). This includes 49 literacy zones.

NYS will competitively bid over $40 million in WIOA Title II funding by July 1, 2018 to create new capacities and instructional approaches, including:

Beginning July 1, 2017, NYSED began a process of separating out state matching funds from WIOA Title II and creating a broader, more flexible state-funded adult education system that could focus on providing instruction such as family literacy and civics education, and more responsive accountability requirements to complement the employment focused WIOA programming.

Since 2014, NYSED has developed state of the art professional development through CUNY and seven Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) centers to train Master Teachers and turn key training to 5,500 adult education teachers.  NYSED funded instructional resources are provided to teachers through

3.       Title III - Wagner-Peyser Act

NYS merit staff funded by the Wagner-Peyser Act and the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) grant are located in Career Centers throughout NYS.  Through functional alignment, NYS workforce professionals are trained to provide seamless services to unemployed customers, from providing meaningful assistance with customers interested in filing for unemployment insurance benefits, to providing job search assistance, career counseling, and seamless referrals to partners within the workforce system.

Staff capacity building is a NYS priority. NYSDOL provides high quality continuous development to workforce professionals to ensure excellent customer service to both job seekers and businesses. Professional development activities are provided weekly through Workforce Career Center Operator conference calls, monthly statewide management informational systems (MIS) webinars, UI training webinars, video conferencing, and train the trainer workshops. Professional Development activities are posted on a WebEx platform for easy system access and training events are viewable on a shared calendar at

Training includes such topics as: assisting UI customers in the Career Center, identifying and reporting UI issues, case management, identifying barriers to employment, eligibility requirements of WIOA partner agency services, and providing labor market information and labor exchange services within the NYS Career Center System.

4.       Title IV - NYS Vocational Rehabilitation

NYS’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs employ VR counselors statewide who are trained to work with individuals with disabilities to prepare them for employment.  The VR programs only employ individuals who meet the NYS Department of Civil Service’s personnel standard for VR counselors. 

The VR program staff effectively provide services to all individuals who apply for and are determined eligible for VR services.  Each of the VR agencies in NYS have multiple District Offices and outstations for easy access to services by individuals with disabilities statewide.  Also, in some areas NYSED/ACCES-VR program staff are co-located at the local Career Centers.  If VR program staff (NYSED/ACCES-VR or OCFS/NYSCB) are not located at a Career Center, information and services are seamlessly and promptly made available through processes that have been established by the local area. 

Additionally, VR programs must confirm, where a need is identified, that required pre-employment transition services are made available to potentially eligible students.  For OCFS/NYSCB, students in this pre-employment transition services category are known through the state-funded children’s program and have been made eligible in VR, if appropriate by age 14. NYSED/ACCES-VR is approaching service provision of pre-employment transition services for potentially eligible students through contracted service and the potentially eligible student would not be required to apply and be found eligible to receive those services.

OCFS/NYSCB and NYSED/ACCES-VR collaborate on a regular basis to provide guidance to educational agencies, vocational rehabilitation personnel, and community rehabilitation providers responsible for facilitating pre-employment transition services, transition services, and to provide information about consultation and technical assistance resources to assist schools and related community support entities in planning for transition of students who are legally blind and those who have other disabilities.  At the state level, both agencies have designated personnel that provide oversight and leadership for the development of policies, procedures, interagency training and other state-level partnership activities for transition services.  At the local level, VR counselors work closely with school district staff and local school districts have transition specialists that collaborate.  The VR program will continue to work closely with schools to enable the provision of transition services to students with disabilities.

NYSED/ACCES-VR and OCFS/NYSCB have expanded supported employment services for individuals to 24 months.  In addition, they will provide extended services for youth (up to age 24 or for 4 years). 

Additionally, individuals known to the VR Programs employed in subminimum wage will continue to be counseled on the Career Center System services available to them in order to work towards obtaining and maintaining competitive integrated employment. 

5.       TANF

Social Services Districts (SSDs) in NYS offer employment and training services to recipients of public assistance to help them obtain and maintain employment. As TANF is an employment focused program, recipients who are able to work are engaged in activities to improve their work readiness and to support job placement.  NYS places strong emphasis on entries to employment using TANF funding. Each year, local SSDs in NYS are allocated funds through the Flexible Fund for Family Services (FFFS) to support a range of services to address the needs of low income families consistent with local priorities, including employment services.

NYS is also committed to providing TANF resources to supplement local SSD’s investments in skills development programs. In addition to the FFFS allocations provided to districts, NYS has invested TANF funds in a variety of employment, education, and training initiatives, including:

·         The Career Pathways II Program, which provides funding to 13 selected nonprofit contractors to link education and occupational training to subsequent employment through a continuum of educational and training instruction combined with integrated support services for eligible individuals age 16 and over.  The Career Pathways Programs are organized as a series of steps that lead participants toward job placement and increased earnings opportunities. Individuals eligible for the program include unemployed young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 and individuals receiving public assistance. Targeted sectors include health care, construction, manufacturing, hospitality, and business services.

·         The Wage Subsidy Program (WSP), a longstanding program in which nonprofit contractors work to develop job opportunities for public assistance recipients and other low-income individuals using wage subsidies.  The WSP targets those individuals who are unable to obtain employment through conventional job search techniques.  Where public assistance recipients are served, close coordination with SSDs for the identification and referral of participants is mandatory.  OTDA contracts with 13 nonprofit organizations across NYS. 

·         The Metropolitan College’s Welfare to Careers Consortium Program, a unique collaboration among three major higher educational institutions in New York City (Metropolitan College, Medgar Evers College, and Pace University). The program links educational opportunities to internships and job placements, offering TANF-eligible individuals with the case management and other support services needed to pursue career goals through higher education. This includes the opportunity to earn a two-year degree or a baccalaureate degree, greatly increasing the chances of gaining permanent, full-time employment at a sustainable salary level.

·         The Advanced Technology Training and Information Networking (ATTAIN) program, a partnership between OTDA and the State University of New York (SUNY). The program is a network of technology laboratories located in some of NYS’s most economically challenged communities.  ATTAIN utilizes state-of-the-art technology to improve the user’s academic and employability skills in an increasingly demanding technological world.  There are currently 35 ATTAIN labs in locations established to reach individuals in receipt of public assistance or within the 200% of poverty designation.  ATTAIN works with WIOA partners including NYSDOL and NYSED to provide TANF-eligible individuals, public assistance recipients, dislocated workers, individuals receiving unemployment benefits, out-of-school youth, and SYEP participants with Microsoft Office training and other associated certifications.

Operational Planning Elements

State Board

The SWIB is the governance body for state workforce programs in New York.  Appointed by Governor Cuomo, membership includes WIOA required partners of business, labor unions, local government, NYS Executive and Legislative branches, and other representatives with experience addressing the workforce needs of those with barriers to employment.  Through careful examination and discussion of specific workforce challenges, the SWIB develops concrete strategies for broader system improvement.  These strategies can then be advanced as recommendations for Board approval to advise the Governor, Board of Regents, and REDCs on workforce development policy.

NYSDOL staff serves as staff to the Board, assisting in managing its many responsibilities.  Other partner agencies and entities also provide staff support to the multiple SWIB subcommittees and serve as subject matter experts as needed.

Key responsibilities of SWIB members include:

·         Development and review of the Combined State Plan;

·         Review of statewide policies and programs involving workforce development;

·         Review of statewide policies and programs to develop recommendations;

·         Development of strategies for aligning core and other programs;

·         Improving access to the workforce development system;

·         Supporting industry partnerships and career pathways;

·         Disseminating best practices to the workforce development system; and

·         Supporting the Career Center system and all core program delivery systems.

Governor Cuomo reconstituted the SWIB at the beginning of 2014 and directed it to work with the ten REDCs to develop recommendations for improving the state’s workforce development system and to strengthen the importance of workforce development initiatives across the state.  As the preeminent partnership of business, labor, and workforce system providers involved with workforce policy, the SWIB is well positioned to provide a strong supporting role to the REDC economic development strategy.

In 2010, NYSDOL, Empire State Development Corporation (ESD), and the NYS Education Department (NYSED) regions were aligned for purposes of collaborating on sector initiatives.  In 2011, the 10 REDCs were created and tasked with developing long-term strategic plans for economic growth.  The goal of the REDCs is to improve coordination and capacity of state and regional workforce systems to fulfill businesses demand for skilled labor with qualified workers.  Since their creation, REDCs changed the way NYS invests in jobs and economic growth through a community-based, bottom-up approach.

The REDCs are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations, and are a community-driven, regional approach to economic development.  Each of the ten REDCs was tasked with developing a five-year strategic plan to include a comprehensive vision for economic development in that region; regional strategies to achieve that vision; and specific priority projects that are significant, regionally supported, and capable of stimulating economic investment.  These plans are updated each year.

In order to fulfill its responsibilities and support the REDCs, the SWIB uses a subcommittee structure organized around these responsibilities.  These subcommittees meet as needed to discuss policy direction and craft recommendations.  A SWIB SharePoint site was developed for all Board members to have the opportunity to review and comment on subcommittee activities, as well as policy guidance issued to NYS workforce development partners.  During the May 2015 full SWIB meeting, members approved by-law amendments to govern their activities to align with WIOA.  Materials from past SWIB meetings are available at:

Implementation of Strategy

Core Program Activities

To implement New York’s strategy, New York’s core programs have and will continue to seek to achieve several goals for the Career Center system.  These goals ensure that Titles I, II, III, and IV work together to align and coordinate services, providing job seekers and businesses seamless service delivery in a way that advances the implementation of NYS’s strategy by creating a unified workforce development system.  These goals include:

·         Aligning workforce development and economic development functions to create systems that align the needs of businesses with job seeking customers, including individuals with disabilities;

·         Incentivizing robust business partnerships to best inform workforce decision making at all levels of the system;

·         Recognizing the essential role of education and literacy as the foundation for a strong, versatile workforce and provide priority to serving New Yorkers who are basic skills deficient and have barriers to employment;

·         Sharing labor market data across workforce partners to inform policy and service decisions;

·         Developing training for front line program delivery staff to provide efficient and seamless services with other mandated programs and partners; and

·         Continuing to integrate information technology to improve service delivery.

Under Titles I-IV, NYS will implement these goals over the next several years.  The Title I Adult/Dislocated Worker/Youth and Title III Wagner-Peyser programs, overseen by NYSDOL, have and will continue to communicate with Titles II and IV, overseen by NYSED and OCFS, to ensure customers are provided appropriate referrals for services they require; deliver training to staff from all core programs so that Title I and III staff in every Career Center are aware of the services available from Title II and IV staff.  Title I-V staff has begun discussing a common customer information system for simple cross-title service delivery leading to successful implementation of NYS’s strategy.

Services provided by the mandatory Career Center partners and other optional partners have been coordinated and aligned through the development of the local Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among all local partner agencies and providers participating in each LWDA.  The local MOU has been broken into two pieces, based on guidance from USDOL/ETA.  The first piece is the Service Delivery MOU, which  defines shared responsibilities as well as individual responsibilities, and outlines services to be offered, including career services, training services, and supportive services offered by the various mandatory and optional partner programs; how services will be coordinated, including methods for referral of individuals between one-stop partners for appropriate services and activities; sharing of applicable customer information (taking confidentiality requirements into account); and how intake, enrollment, and assessment processes will be handled.  The Service Delivery MOU was due on July 1, 2017.

The second piece of the MOU is the Infrastructure Funding and Shared Services MOU.  This piece of the MOU addresses allocating of costs and sharing of resources to support the system

One-stop operators are the entities that coordinate the service delivery of required Career Center partners and service providers.  While able to perform additional functions if so desired by the LWDBs, this coordination role is the minimum requirement of the Operator.  LWDBs were required to select new operators through a competitive selection process during Program Year 2016.  Generally, a Request for Proposal (RFP) clearly articulating the role of the one-stop operator was used to satisfy this requirement.  LWDBs were asked to complete this selection by June 30, 2017.

A priority for all partner programs in the system--and the system as a whole--is to quickly respond to the needs of the local communities and its businesses and workforce, and to continually evolve to address those needs.  The further alignment and consolidation of programs and activities, and the identification of areas where further sharing and coordination of efforts can occur, will continue to be a priority of the NYS SWIB as well as the individual programs in the system.  The SWIB’s Aligning Workforce Programs Workgroup is tasked with examining ways to improve coordination of workforce programs to avoid unnecessary duplication and better align services.  One-stop system operations will continue to be streamlined as common data systems, administrative procedures, and performance measures are further developed and utilized by the partners.  Shared input and access to information by partners, cross-training of staff, and coordinated program planning will further streamline and enhance the services and operations in the local one-stop systems.

Local partnerships, which form the foundation of the workforce delivery system, are especially effective in meeting the workforce needs of NYS’s diverse population.  Local plans describe how these partnerships will be coordinated to enable all customers to receive the full range of employment and training programs and supportive services, especially those that lead to jobs in high-wage, high-growth occupations along career pathways.  The needs of individuals with multiple barriers to employment are being addressed quickly and thoroughly due to the wide spectrum of service providers joined together under the local workforce system.  The NYS Office for the Aging, NYSED (including NYSED/ACCES-VR), the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH), OCFS (including OCFS/NYSCB), the Office for Alcohol and Substance Abuse (OASAS), the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the State University of New York (SUNY), NYSDOL, and local community based organizations apply knowledge gained through regular communication, partnership collaborations, and cross-training to develop comprehensive service strategies to address the varying needs of our common participants.  With the functional alignment approach and common customer flow in the Career Centers, partners are more aware of each agency's involvement with the participant instead of working in a vacuum.  This greatly helps reduce duplication of services to participants.

Operating under a holistic philosophy, NYS also successfully integrated several employment services systems into a single system, using the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant as a catalyst.  This comprehensive employment system is called the New York Employment Services System (NYESS) and provides all New Yorkers, regardless of their (dis)ability, with a single point of access to all employment-related services and supports, including job matching with the approximately 125,000 jobs currently posted by businesses on the NYS Job Bank.  NYESS includes the following state-level agencies: NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), NYSDOL, NYSED, OASAS, NYS Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), NYS Office for the Aging, and the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs.  Providers of employment-related supports and services licensed by, or contracting with, one of the participating state agencies are also able to sign up to utilize this system.  NYESS creates the ability to centralize employment service/support information, greatly improving the ability to coordinate employment supports and services among multiple providers and across multiple systems.

Alignment with Activities Outside the Plan

This plan is primarily focused on the goals and operations of the core programs; however, the Career Center System involves a variety of partner programs (previously listed) to support the core.  This section discusses relevant details for two notable non-core partners.

In order to best serve our system customers and reduce program redundancies, NYS is committed to aligning partner programs with core services.  Through capacity building exercises and ongoing training, the system’s ability to integrate services at the delivery level will be enhanced, and the value of such collaboration will be reinforced.  The core program partners are planning toward a common case management platform, and the ideal solution has been envisioned as a single system for all workforce development partners.  At the governance level, continued solicitation of input beyond the core partner programs, through entities such as the Aligning Workforce Programs committee of the SWIB, will reinforce the goal of continued cross system integration. 

NYS also continues to expand its outreach efforts to make individuals on public assistance and other low-income individuals aware of all the career services, income supports, and other services available through various state and local agencies.  Efforts to enhance coordination and awareness of program services and supports available to these priority target populations are ongoing.  Close working relationships between the local social service planning districts and the one-stop partners will help assure that this critical population receives seamless workforce development services.  Migrant and seasonal farm workers and individuals with multiple barriers to employment, including older workers, persons with limited English proficiency or literacy, those who are low-skilled, and individuals preparing to re-enter the workforce will be well served by the ongoing functional alignment in the Career Centers.

Registered Apprenticeship

NYSDOL continues to look at ways to strengthen the existing relationship between Registered Apprenticeship and the Career Center system.  The NYSDOL CareerZone website was integrated with the Apprenticeship website to provide career information for each of the apprentice-able trades.  CareerZone is targeted towards youth, who as a population face a tough economic climate.  It allows individuals to explore careers related to their individual strengths, skills, and talent, including apprentice-able occupations. 

The alignment of the Registered Apprenticeship Program with other WIOA programs allows for the marketing of Apprenticeship opportunities to those receiving services within the Career Center system.  Apprenticeship program sponsors connect to the Career Center system and unemployed and underemployed individuals by having their apprentice recruitment announcements posted on the NYSDOL Apprenticeship website and through the NYS Job Bank.  Apprentice Training Representatives (ATRs) are located throughout NYS and work with current and potential sponsors to develop new programs in new and emerging industries and to provide technical assistance.  In addition, ATRs in some regions of NYS are stationed within the Career Centers, which facilitates direct communication amongst Apprenticeship and Career Center staff.  This includes working with individuals responsible for Business Services and Veterans Programs.  Working closely with NYSDOL, NYSED approves the related instructional program component of apprenticeship programs.  Additionally, NYSDOL expects to expand relationships between Registered Apprenticeship and the state’s education system by encouraging an increase in the number of articulation agreements.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

In NYS, the TANF program is state supervised and locally operated by 58 social services districts (57 counties and the City of New York).  TANF employment service delivery varies from county to county depending on local needs and resources. 

In some counties, Social Services District staff is co-located at Career Centers; others contract with local workforce providers for all or a portion of their employment services; and in other counties Social Services Districts provide employment services directly and through contracts with community providers.

NYS is committed to the strong functional alignment of programs and with TANF as a mandatory WIOA partner, will seek to build upon existing partnerships to improve service delivery for NYS residents. As mentioned earlier in the plan, the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), who is responsible for state administration of the TANF funded program, is an active member of the NYS WIOA Interagency Team and various sub-workgroups. Through these workgroups, NYS will provide robust cross-program training for all partner staff on available economic supports and workforce services.

·         Career Centers will all have the myBenefits ( web site short cut icon on all resource room computers and partner staff will be trained on how to promote and use the site with customers.  myBenefits was developed to help increase access and awareness of various public benefit programs.

It takes about 10 minutes for an individual to enter the required information on this site, and it takes seconds for the system to conclude what services that individual might be qualified to receive.  A number of program pre-screenings are supported through myBenefits including: Temporary Assistance (TA), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Nutrition Education, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), School Meals and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) State Supplement Program, public health insurance options, and a range of tax credits including federal and state earned income tax credits. 

Once an individual enters his/her information on the site, a summary report is generated.  This report indicates the services for which that individual appears to be eligible.  Each category of service will give him/her an idea of what he/she can expect from that specific program.  Some programs provide hot links directly to the individual’s on-line applications; some provide phone numbers for additional information and/ or directions on how to apply for benefits and what documentation is required.

At the conclusion of the individual’s report, a self-sufficiency calculator is generated.  This calculator gives the individual the opportunity to graph his/her earnings and potential supplemental earnings in chart format, giving the individual a clear picture of his/her financial situation and of the benefits gained by working.

·         Social Services Districts and Career Centers will be encouraged to clearly establish liaisons with each other to serve as a point person(s) for each other on day to day client cross-system needs.  For instance, Career Center partners can contact their district liaison when specific questions regarding TANF or other public benefit programs under their purview arise with customers that cannot be addressed through myBenefits, etc.  A Career Center liaison would be responsible for coordinating major workforce initiatives, recruitments and training programs with the district so a broader range of residents are able to benefit from these efforts and the various agencies involved can leverage resources. 

·         To support the WIOA priority to serve individuals in receipt of temporary assistance, NYS will expect each Local Workforce Development Area to establish specific procedures to consult with the Social Services Commissioners on the provision of prioritizing services to youth and the availability of job skills training and job readiness activities provided by Career Center partners.  Areas will also be expected to establish streamlined procedures to enable districts to enroll temporary assistance recipients and other low-income individuals in these services.

·         NYS agencies delivering workforce services will continue to collaborate on workforce policies, trainings and service delivery.  This collaboration includes a review of labor market data by region, dissemination of labor market data to workforce providers, and collaboration on funding and policy decisions. 

·         NYS will place specific emphasis on the coordination of youth services to allow youth served through the Social Services Districts to also have access to specialized youth services delivered through WIOA.  This partnership will improve the recruitment of out of school youth and improve the range and quality of services available to this population.

·         As no additional federal funding was provided to meet the new WIOA mandates, and as the federal TANF block grant amount has not been increased for over 19 years, NYS will not impose unfunded mandates requiring Social Services Districts and the Career Centers to co-locate when local areas have mutually determined that co-location is not the best way to provide customer service, or for Social Services Districts to establish a physical on-site presence at the Career Centers.  Instead, NYS will allow flexibility for Social Services Districts to develop service strategies that meet the needs of the local area and create a direct linkage to TANF services via technology or direct contact with Social Service staff.  In the long term, technology solutions, such as state-funded kiosks will be placed in each Career Center to enable customer access to Integrated Eligibility System (IES) functionality for on-line applications for non-crisis TANF funded assistance.  In the interim period before IES is functional, WIOA-TANF partnership requirements may be met through a combination of the following types of services:

o   The prescreening functionality of the myBenefits and ACCESS New York City portals;

o   The provision of TANF applications and meaningful program-specific information; and/or

o   Direct connection to Social Service staff at the Career Centers.

Coordination, Alignment, and Provision of Services to Individuals

Expeditious Entry into the Workforce System

NYS agencies participating in NYESS have a shared case management system and WIOA combined enrollment process.  This allows for streamlined services to customers; coordination of services; the ability to provide real time referrals; and delivery of comprehensive service to participants.  Although all WIOA core and partner programs are not yet using the same case management system, an interagency workgroup was established to explore potential options. 

Identification of Customer Needs

NYS workforce policy was established to enable job-seeking customers to receive an initial assessment as their first staff-assisted service to identify their employment and training needs, and determine whether they are in need of Job Search Ready Services (JSRS) or Career Development Services (CDS).  This determination is based on a one-to-one initial assessment interview with the customer, where the career advisor takes into consideration: the customer’s occupational goals; existing skills, including literacy; English language proficiency and skill gaps; work search readiness and any potential barriers to employment; local labor market conditions; and desire for skills upgrading and/or training. 

NYSED/ACCES-VR has 15 district offices and 10 satellite offices located throughout NYS.  In addition, counselors are available at Career Centers and schools.  If an individual cannot visit a location, noted counselors can arrange for a home visit or schedule a visit at a location that is accessible to both, such as a library.  Applicants have options for seeking service.  It is encouraged that individuals attend a Group Orientation, which is an overview of the VR program.  This can help determine if he/she wishes to seek service and can speed the process as eligibility requirements are clarified.  However, those for whom a Group Orientation might not be appropriate are seen individually from the first intake session. 

OCFS/NYSCB provides services to individuals who are legally blind through seven district offices as well as several outstations located throughout NYS.  Counselors will arrange to meet with an individual at a convenient location to discuss the array of services provided by OCFS/NYSCB.  If the individual is interested in participating in vocational rehabilitation services, the counselor will gather information from the individual to assist in determining their eligibility for services.  Once a determination of eligibility is made, the counselor and the consumer will work together to identify a vocational goal and the services required to enable the consumer to meet that goal.  The goal and planned services are documented on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Coordination of Services and Development of Individual Service Plans

A quality initial assessment results in information, similar to a résumé, being recorded in the customer's case file and submitted into NYSDOL’s JobZone website, which utilizes the Skills Matching and Referral Technology (SMART) system.  Job matching and referral takes place on multiple levels, from automated JobZone Job Scouts emailing job openings directly to the customer, to staff making referrals during seated interviews at the Career Center.

Career Center staff work with all job seekers to plan the services best suited to their individual needs.  Those needing CDS or seeking training receive a written Individual Employment Plan (IEP) that helps guide the customer as he/she works toward his/her employment goals.  Customers identified as having barriers to employment such as language proficiency, disability, skills gaps, and ex-offender status, are provided services directly at the Career Centers by workforce experts.  They may also be referred to supportive services and other agencies to work through perceived barriers and provide coordinated services via a case management system.

Trade Act eligible individuals who access services via the Career Centers are co-enrolled in the WIOA Dislocated Worker Program and receive all applicable and available basic and individualized career services.  Co-enrollment allows the process of needs and skills assessment to begin immediately, even before these workers may become eligible for TAA, giving individuals more time to consider all of the options available to them.  Local career planners record the co-enrollment in the One-Stop Operating System (OSOS), and NYSDOL’s state-level TAA Unit staff confirms that co-enrollment is documented in the record when approving training programs at the state level.

OCFS/NYSCB provides services to eligible individuals in accordance with an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).  VR counselors coordinate service provision and work with consumers to assess progress in meeting their objectives and goal.  OCFS/NYSCB works with students, families, and school districts to facilitate the coordination of transition services for students who are legally blind and transitioning from school to the world of adult responsibilities and work.  OCFS/NYSCB recognizes these efforts are critical to enable students to achieve maximum success in employment, post-secondary education, independent living, and community participation, and is committed to being an active partner in the transition process.

OCFS/NYSCB continues to maintain its relationship with other NYS agencies involved in workforce development, including the OPWDD, OMH, OASAS, and NYSDOL.  Across the state, OCFS/NYSCB staff conduct outreach in their respective territories to develop a network of local businesses, establishing working relationships to identify business needs and potential employees.  District Offices developed a running list of business networks where communication is ongoing, counselors are contacted by local businesses in regard to matching individual skills with employment needs.  Outreach was also accomplished through collaboration with partner agencies. 

NYSED/ACCES-VR developed a strong infrastructure and provides a wide range of services to eligible individuals.  Counselors work directly with consumers to develop an IPE, which identifies the services and strategies necessary for achieving the plan goals.  The IPE is the foundation of service for the consumer.  The employment goal is established based upon consumer choice and labor market information.  Often, achievement of the goal requires services obtained from postsecondary educational institutions or contracted providers. 

In addition to contracts with service providers, NYSED/ACCES-VR has several agreements in place with other entities, including sister state agencies, to guide cooperative work.  Many of these agreements will be reviewed to ensure they are fully reflective of the new commitments WIOA established.

Initiatives and Infrastructure

OCFS/NYSCB entered into a Partnership Plus Agreement, which enables consumers with a Social Security Ticket to Work to obtain VR services from OCFS/NYSCB, as well as broad access to community providers to assist in the coordination of Social Security payments and other benefits and services.

Eleven non-profit organizations across NYS were approved as vendors to provide benefits advisement and support the development of economic self-sufficiency.  The increased access to DRCs and other ENs increases support in maintaining employment after a consumer’s closure from VR services.

OCFS/NYSCB uses funds to contract with two private agencies for individuals who are blind to provide pre-college programs for OCFS/NYSCB consumers entering their senior year of high school.  The program goal is to provide students the opportunity to refine their academic, social, and independent living skills before beginning college. 

Work Experience Training services are provided to a wide range of VR services recipients.  This service provides employment experiences and resume building for youth transitioning from school to employment and for adults with minimal work histories. 

OCFS/NYSCB continues to work closely with community rehabilitation providers to create new pre-vocational and vocational training programs for both adults and transitioning youth.  In addition, OCFS/NYSCB district offices engage new providers when specialized training is required for a consumer to reach his/her vocational goal.  OCFS/NYSCB reviews curriculum for all pre-vocational programs for transition-age youth to evaluate the nature and quality of the program with the goal of providing quality programming preparing youth to enter the 21st century workforce.

OCFS/NYSCB continues to encourage development of vocational training programs that meet the requirements of business and will work with providers to create and approve curricula, especially in fields with in-demand jobs where vocational training was not previously available.

OCFS/NYSCB Children’s Consultants and VR Counselors will continue to emphasize to school district personnel the importance of integrating the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) into standard academic instruction and routine daily tasks, and encourage school staff to work closely with itinerant vision teachers and staff from local private agencies for individuals who are blind to provide comprehensive services needed by students.

OCFS/NYSCB also provides assistive technology services and devices to individuals during each stage of the rehabilitation process through Assistive Technology Center (ATC) contracts and private vendors.  The outcome-based services of ATC Readiness Evaluation, ATC Assessment, and ATC Training provide a comprehensive and rigorous array of assessments and training with the goal of preparing students for success in school and employment.  ATC Centers and a network of more than 30 private assistive technology trainers provide on-site needs evaluation and training for those whose needs require intervention at their education or employment site.

In addition, OCFS/NYSCB provides assistive technology devices and training to current managers and manager trainees in the Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program, enabling them to manage their newsstands and food service operations in accordance with industry standards. 

NYSED/ACCES-VR also has many initiatives in place that assist in opening opportunity for youth and adults with disabilities.  For example, NYSED/ACCES-VR is a partner in the Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) demonstration project.  This project is aimed at improving education and career outcomes for low-income children with disabilities and will advance postsecondary education and employment outcomes for 14- to 16-year-olds receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

NYSED/ACCES-VR participates in the Partnerships in Employment Systems Change grant, which enhances collaboration among OPWDD; the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC); NYSED’s Office of Special Education (NYSED/OSE); and NYS’s three University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs).  The grant will lead to policy and implementation changes to significantly increase the number of young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are competitively employed in an integrated environment.

Recently, NYSED/ACCES-VR contracted to provide Community Employment Specialists.  These individuals will work with the NYSED/ACCES-VR Transition Unit and provide information to school districts on vocational rehabilitation and post-school employment options for youth with disabilities.

Continuous Engagement

NYS strives to keep job-seeking customers engaged with all partners in the Career Center system until they are successful in achieving their employment goals.  Continuous engagement strategies include participation in career services, individual counseling, assessments, provision of labor market information, job referrals, job clubs, workshops, virtual services, and business recruitment events.

Staff Development

NYS values staff training and recognizes the importance of having a strong capacity building program to train workforce staff on serving customers, providing resources, and understanding and complying with policies and procedures to meet changing workforce needs.  NYSDOL staff development opportunities are offered weekly and trainings are continuously developed to support Career Centers in providing high quality customer-centered services.  Likewise, OCFS/NYSCB continues to provide training for staff on the consumer’s potential eligibility for the use of Blind Work Expenses (BWE) as well as other work incentives to support consumer financial independence.

Coordination, Alignment, and Provision of Services to Businesses


The mission of New York Works Business Services is to provide business customers with a competitive advantage in the labor market.  This mission is executed through a holistic business-centric understanding of the customer, rather than the compliance-centric employer view of a business (i.e., how can we help the business versus how can the employer help us).

Business Engagement Framework

The New York Works business engagement framework begins with referring to the customer as a “business” rather than “employer” and continues with understanding the business customer’s needs relative to its health.  Figure 1 illustrates NYS’s business engagement framework, and how the “health” of the business determines service strategy and service type.  Understanding where a business is on a “business health” spectrum allows targeted outreach with meaningful services.

For emerging, growing, and stable businesses, Business Services provides Job Development services such as customized recruitment assistance, hiring and training incentives, and/or other services in the Business Services toolkit.  For businesses classified as retention, the Shared Work program reduces the need for layoffs by reducing staff work hours and supplementing wages with partial unemployment insurance benefits.

Rapid Response focuses on reemployment services for any workers impacted by layoffs.

Figure 1 – Business Engagement Framework

Strategy, Goals, and Implementation of the Business Engagement Framework

The Business Services strategy is to continuously increase exposure within the business community and the number of businesses receiving services to advance job development.  This requires setting goals that support far-reaching and sustainable engagement with the business community, deploying resources to achieve these goals, and setting metrics to measure success.  These goals include:

·         Increasing visibility within the business community;

·         Increasing the number of businesses listing jobs with the NYS Job Bank/Jobs Express;

·         Increasing the number of job seeker resumes available for search in NYTalent;

·         Increasing the amount and efficacy of job matching; and

·         Generating positive reciprocal messaging with the business community.

The operational strategy for business-centric service delivery is to build business relationships that will generate a conduit for future services, and ultimately produce job seeker placements.

The resources used to support this strategy include:

·         Conducting an outreach campaign, targeting various business associations, that provides presentations on Business Services and Rapid Response services with a customized regional approach;

·         Expanding existing lead generation methods through development of a business survey that gauges interest in services and utilizes lead generation tools such as business intelligence from business associates, Dun & Bradstreet data, and current events/media; and

·         Expanding the Business Services staff role as account executives servicing business accounts, monitoring services received, and engaging with businesses to ensure job openings are matched to qualified candidates.

Cultivating relationships with businesses is a multi-stage process beginning with an initial contact to identify business needs and evolving to meet specific business needs.  Three elements central to building and forging these connections are daily staff outreach goals, the Priority Jobs Initiative, and regional performance measures.

The NYS Department of Labor’s Business Services unit continues to expand the network of businesses by requiring staff to engage five businesses each day with the goal of providing a quality service.  Each day, staff reviews the new job openings on Jobs Express to identify which hiring business have not recently been serviced.  This has proven to be an effective way for staff to foster positive relationships with businesses, and connect job seekers to employment opportunities.  Staff connected over 54,000 times with more than 24,000 unique businesses in calendar years 2014 and 2015, resulting in an increase in the number of businesses receiving services.  In calendar year 2016 staff engaged 17,536 businesses; and 13,802 to date in 2017.

The Priority Jobs Initiative is a concentrated effort by staff to build ongoing relationships with businesses to provide job seeking customers with a competitive advantage in obtaining employment.

Priority jobs are generally defined as:

·         In-demand and quality jobs;

·         Job openings that need to be filled immediately;

·         Job openings that align with the Career Center talent pool; and/or

·         Job openings from businesses with existing relationships.

Job orders that meet this definition are shared with a Career Center Match Team responsible for identifying candidates and securing resumes from those who are interested.  Business Services then shares the resumes with the businesses for consideration.

The Priority Jobs model engages the Career Center staff to take a larger role in the front-end matching process of job order fulfillment.  This shift enables Business Services staff to function as account executives focused on building relationships with businesses to provide more intensive services and capture placement data, and to follow-up at regular intervals to ensure customer satisfaction.

Beginning in PY2015, NYSDOL established a new Business Services Customer Service Indicator (CSI) for the combined WIOA/Wagner-Peyser program.  Specifically, the measure was to affect that 95% of businesses who receive referrals on staff entered job orders received a follow up contact.  The new measure was designed to ensure that the needs of business customers are met and to help build NYS’s business customer base.  This business customer follow-up has now become a regular, integral part of NYSDOL’s business engagement.  It continues to be important for ensuring the quality of services we provide and for fostering long-term, reciprocal relationships with businesses.

Regional Sector Based Approaches

All regions developed successful, long-standing, informal relationships between NYSDOL and LWDA Business Services staff.  NYS sought to build on these partnerships by creating Regional Business Service Teams (RBST) to align services with regional strategies across all levels of the workforce system.  A number of the REDCs already have sectoral workforce strategies in place and NYS has embarked upon specific regional sector strategies for the health care workforce in New York City and Central regions.  NYS has also utilized sector strategies in advanced manufacturing in Southern Tier and Western regions.  Regional strategies were also utilized when developing the Unemployment Strikeforce Initiative to meet the need for a coordinated inter-agency plan to link unemployed individuals to jobs, while piloting a sector-based approach. 

The RBSTs convene regularly to develop regional strategies for Business Services; share business intelligence, labor market information, and information on new programs; and co-host career fairs and customized recruiting events.  The RBSTs opened lines of communication that are important when navigating logistical issues due to new policy; collaborating to meet performance measures; and expanding and rolling out new initiatives, including OJT programs.

It is important to note that the Regional Business Services Team:

·         Is not a policy-making body, but rather is intended to help align business services provided at the local level with regional sector initiatives/strategies and regional labor market information;

·         Does not supersede existing partnerships and/or business relationships that are working effectively, but rather is intended to build upon them;

·         Does not preclude an LWDA from partnering with entities in other regions to address specific workforce needs (i.e., Transformational Sector Strategy Projects under Grant 13N); and

·         Does not provide direct services to business in the region, but rather is intended to identify and disseminate information regarding services that will benefit businesses.

Regional Business Services Team membership is as follows:

·         In regions comprised of more than one LWDA, membership includes:

o   The NYSDOL Business Services Associate Representative and Occupational Analyst assigned to the region;

o   One representative from each LWDA in the region designated by the area's LWDB.  The LWDA representative can be LWDB or Career Center staff, and must have specific responsibility for providing services to businesses in the LWDA; and

o   Steps are being taken to expand the RBSTs to include all core programs of WIOA as regular members of the team.

·         In regions comprised of a single LWDA (i.e. New York City), membership includes:

o   To be determined - Executive staff from NYSDOL and the New York City LWDA will meet to determine appropriate representation.

Other one-stop system partners are not formal members of the RBST, but may participate on team projects/tasks requiring their expertise and resources.

RBSTs are responsible for developing and implementing guidelines which, at minimum, must address:

·         The team's purpose, goals, and key functions;

·         Convening of regular meetings, including structured agendas and meeting notes;

·         Facilitating consensus-based decision-making among team members; and

·         Communicating team activities with LWDBs and Career Center managers.

The Unemployment Strikeforce employs a sector-based model that relies on a network of partnerships among business intermediaries, government, educational institutions, training providers, economic developers, and labor and community organizations.  This type of model requires active staff engagement in job development (business demand) and customer case management (worker supply) with intensive referral and job brokering. 

The Strikeforce model implemented a ‘gold standard’ of intensive job placement services connecting the unemployed to jobs while providing those services in convenient community locations with the assistance of community partners.  Career Centers and Business Services worked seamlessly as a team to ensure job seekers became employed by: 

·         Stationing Career Center staff in convenient community locations to provide case management of customers; ensure each had a quality resume able to be sent to businesses; receive multiple job leads and referrals; and supply interview preparation assistance and follow-up for further assistance; and

·         Stationing Business Services staff at the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to engage local businesses to develop job openings; post and match the orders to the Strikeforce customers; and refer qualified candidates.  Staff developed customized recruitments and career fair events to facilitate hiring; advocated on behalf of customers with the hiring business; and followed-up to ensure customer satisfaction.

Bronx County, NY was selected as an Unemployment Strikeforce pilot beginning on May 1, 2014.  This was based on several years of the borough suffering with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.  In May 2014, the unemployment rate in the Bronx was 10.6% and the statewide rate was 6.2%.  By May 2015, those unemployment rates were 8.0% and 5.3% respectively.

In 2014 and 2015, the initiative was rolled out to nine other counties in NYS.  The counties added (Jefferson, Lewis, Kings, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Orleans, Montgomery, Franklin and Steuben) had the highest unemployment rates in the state at the time of selection.

In 2016, the initiative was further expanded into Western New York to provide intensive placement services to specific parts of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Niagara County.

Competitive Advantage Assets

New York Works Business Services deploys a number of services and a network of partnerships to enable businesses to meet their needs.  The nine key assets listed below are designed to provide a competitive advantage in the labor market to New York Works Career Center business customers, and are described in greater detail in the narrative that follows.

·         Inter-Agency Collaboration

·         NYS Job Bank and Jobs Express

·         Customized Recruiting Assistance

·         Focus Talent

·         On-the-Job, Existing Worker and Unemployed Worker Training

·         Tax Credits

·         Virtual Career Fairs

·         Ensuring Business Integrity

Business Services built a network of partnerships used to attract businesses, develop funding opportunities, and create talent pipelines for businesses.  This includes collaboration with NYS agencies including NYSED/ACCES-VR, ESD, OTDA, and the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The mission of Business Services is aligned with the ESD goal of encouraging job creation and economic opportunities.  Accordingly, Business Services collaborates with ESD to provide information and services to businesses considering developing new sites in NYS.  This partnership was evident in the effort to attract United Natural Foods, Inc. to the Hudson Valley region.  Local, regional, and state economic development and workforce development entities created a package of labor market and talent pool information, as well as available hiring and training incentives to encourage the development of a 525,000-square foot distribution center that will employ 400 individuals.

Business Services promoted and connected job seekers to the NYSERDA-funded Clean Energy OJT program, and partnered with OTDA for the Green Jobs/Green NY efforts.  OTDA provided more than $1 million in funding and worked as a referral partner of candidates for green career opportunities in residential and commercial weatherization retrofits.  Community based organizations (CBOs) were selected by a competitive procurement process to train candidates.

Business Services also partners with higher education on multiple levels, including utilizing colleges, universities, and training providers as strategic partners for regional growth; as referral sources for qualified job seekers; and as business customers when they need to fill job openings.

Business Services acted as an intermediary between the business community and community colleges in the Next Generation New York Job Linkage Program.  This program provides incentives to SUNY and CUNY community colleges for certificate or degree programs that prepare students for current and future in-demand employment opportunities.

Other community college partnerships have been sector or business specific.  Hudson Valley Community College developed its TEC-SMART facility and corresponding curricula that seek to provide students with the skills for careers in the burgeoning semiconductor and clean and renewable energy industries in the Capital Region.  Similarly, collaboration between Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) and General Electric (GE) developed a program that provides training to work in the renewable energy field as required by the GE Energy Transportation Energy Storage Technologies division that neighbors the SCCC campus.  In recruiting for these businesses, Business Services promoted the training programs to applicants looking for training to make them marketable to these in-demand occupations.

Business Services works closely with many high-profile businesses on large projects of significant jobs impacts.  These include coordinating with the business to create a customized recruitment plan and application process, followed by matching, referring and/or assessing qualified candidates in our talent bank or the job seeking public.  A sampling of recent top projects includes:

·         Maximus - Finger Lakes Region - 600+ Customers Hired

In 2016, Maximus contracted with NYS to administer its health insurance exchange, i.e., Medicaid and Child Health Plus and a need to fill 2,000 related openings.  NYSDOL Business Services worked with the business to develop job descriptions; post and match job orders; and contact qualified candidates.  Business Services developed and staffed customized recruitment and interview events that saw 3,546 applicants assessed and advanced to interviews.

·         NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) – North Country Region - 164 Customers Hired

In June of 2015, the OPWDD requested assistance with hosting Civil Service Tests for Direct Support Professionals needed to staff their Tupper Lake location.  An ongoing series of exams was scheduled, advertised, and staffed at four career centers in the North Country.  As of September 2017, 28 exams have been hosted at 4 North Country Career Centers resulting in 240 customers attending and 164 hires recorded.  The partnership between OPWDD and NYSDOL has helped in maintaining OPWDD’s staffing levels to the point where they no longer need to implement mandatory overtime.

·         Nassau Coliseum - Long Island Region - 1,052 Customers Hired

This landmark Long Island entertainment center reopened in 2017 after a year of reconstruction with a need to fill 1,000 positions.  NYSDOL staff worked hand-in-glove with AEG Worldwide and Levy Restaurants (event and food and beverage providers) to develop a coordinated application process, and to identify, match, contact, and schedule 3,546 applicants for assessment.  Staff staged and staffed assessment and recruitment events for what was our largest recruitment project to date.

·         Barclay’s Center – New York City Region - Hires Pending

Spawned off a successful partnership with AEG Worldwide and Levy Restaurants (event and food and beverage provider) around the Nassau Coliseum project, New York City’s Business Services supported the recruitment needs of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  Barclay’s Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Brooklyn, NY currently home to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders.  Staff worked hand-in glove to develop a coordinated application process and assist with preliminary candidate assessments.  In total, 400 positions needed to be filled for the 2017-2018 season.  Approximately 1,000 candidates were assessed and multiple hiring events were staged and staffed.

·         Commercial Casino Projects - 1,280 Customers Hired

In 2016, four commercial casino projects awarded licenses in NYS with a combined impact of 6,500 expected openings.  To date, three of the projects have come to fruition:  Rivers Casino, del Lago, Tioga Casino.  A fourth project, Resorts World Catskills, is beginning to ramp up.  NYSDOL staff worked closely with project HR staff to provide customized recruitment assistance.  Staff developed job orders; posted and matched job orders; contacted candidates; and developed and staffing of information sessions, interview sessions and new employee orientations.  To date, 1,280 customers have been hired.

The NYS Job Bank provides a great value to business customers, allowing them the opportunity to post jobs at no cost and save thousands of dollars a year in fees from Internet job boards and print media.

Businesses have several options of how to post jobs: 

·         Send job listings directly to Business Services to be posted;

·         Post jobs themselves manually; or

·         “Index” jobs directly from their own corporate websites.  By choosing to index jobs, all jobs that are posted on the business site are automatically uploaded to the NYS Job Bank.  This method provides the convenience of entering the job only once, with any changes to the job order on the corporate site also reflected in the posting on the Job Bank.

There are currently more than 210,000 jobs from more than 8,000 businesses on the NYS Job Bank.  There are approximately 15,000 unique page views by job seekers on a weekly basis.

Jobs Express is a subset of the NYS Job Bank that sorts all the job openings in NYS by region and occupation in a user-friendly website (  There are approximately 130,000 jobs listed on the Jobs Express website each day on average (over the last three months).  This enables businesses and job seekers the ability to search jobs based on zip code and travel distance, and serves as a critical lead source for business service outreach.

Customized recruiting assistance is core to the Business Services strategy and is promoted to all businesses with current job openings.  NYSDOL, partnering with WIOA staff, facilitates recruiting events, including providing space in Career Centers and providing staff to assist at the direction of the business.  This service creates connections for job seekers while fostering relationships with business customers.  It also helps Business Services staff better understand the needs of the business to make enhanced matches and referrals in the future.  NYSDOL seeks to adopt promising practices to ensure continuity across regions and increase the number of quality outcomes (i.e. placements) from these events.

Business Services works with Career Center partners to create and expand the Talent Bank with a wide variety of qualified and capable workers to fit the needs of business customers.  The Talent Bank is an online collection of customer resumes made available for business search.  It is currently hosted through the Job Bank, and customers are encouraged to post their resume online to be viewed by businesses and notified when new openings become available.

Adding to our available self-service tools for businesses, Focus Talent, allows businesses to search the Talent Bank for qualified candidates.  It also assists businesses with developing quality job postings for the Job Bank.

OJT has become one of the principal tools to make connections between businesses and job seekers.  The value of these training incentives is demonstrated by the large percentage of businesses that hired job seekers using OJT, and used the program for multiple hires.  Local WIA OJT was utilized effectively throughout the state, with particular success in the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and Western regions.  These three regions were responsible for more than 50% of the total statewide local OJT hires. 

National Emergency Grants (NEGs) with an OJT focus have also proved successful in providing training to dislocated workers and the long-term unemployed.  The OJT-NEG produced a significant number of hires, all of whom are dislocated workers who experienced prolonged unemployment.  The Dislocated Worker Training NEG was available to businesses to provide occupational training to dislocated workers, with an emphasis on long-term unemployed.  The Jobs Driven OJT-NEG was available to businesses looking to expand their workforce and included On-the-Job, Apprenticeship, or Customized training, depending on the individual needs of the business.  In 2017, the Sector Partnership National Emergency Grant became available to provide opportunities for sector approaches to reconnect Dislocated Workers to the workforce through work-based training such as OJT, Apprenticeships, or unpaid occupational skill based training.

While the programs are administered at the local level, NYSDOL and LWDA staff promotes these programs interchangeably.  All staff is active in business and participant identification, development of training plans, and monitoring of contracts. 

Business Services staff promotes tax credits to all businesses to incentivize hiring certain eligible populations.  This includes the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), the Hire-a-Veteran Tax Credit, and the Urban Youth Jobs (UYJP) Program.

When promoting hiring and training incentives, WOTC has traditionally been a key tool in the Business Services toolkit.  Business Services staff continues to promote awareness of the program to ensure businesses are positioned to take advantage of the credit.  The Hire-a-Veteran Tax Credit encourages businesses to hire Post-9/11 Veterans who have not been employed in full-time (35+ hours/week) employment for at least 180 days.  A business can receive up to $5,000 by hiring and retaining an eligible veteran or $15,000 if the veteran is disabled.  This program became active on January 1, 2014.  The UYJP program (formally New York Youth Works) is currently active and widely promoted to encourage businesses to hire unemployed, disadvantaged youth, 16 to 24 years of age, who reside in 13 specific targeted areas in eight regions of the state.  Businesses utilizing this program can earn up to $5,000 in tax credits.  The UYJP has helped 1,541 NYS businesses place youth participants in 27,133 jobs across targeted urban communities with high youth unemployment.

Business Services employs multiple methods to capture placement data.  These include leveraging relationships that provide a flow-through of placement information from business customers as well as accessing data from New Hire Reports.

The initiatives previously mentioned (i.e., Business Outreach, Priority Jobs, Customized Recruitment) were designed to build the type of solid and trustworthy relationships with businesses that naturally lead to the sharing of placement data.  Through these initiatives, staff provides the quality service that becomes the foundation of strong relationships and open dialogue, which are then leveraged to glean hire information.

Business Services works closely with NYSDOL’s R&S Division to retrieve data from New Hire Reports, identifying candidates from OSOS that attained employment with business customers.  This enables staff to capture supplemental placement data outside of the direct relationships with businesses.

Ultimately, it is only at the point of placement where the business customer and job seeker come together to validate the vision of Business Services and its execution.  Together these methods provide a means to assess the number of placements occurring as a result of Business Services efforts and an understanding of which strategies produce the greatest successes.

Last, monitoring staff activities plays a large role in the success of Business Services operations by ensuring staff provides quality services and document their activities.  Outreach to businesses is tracked on a weekly basis to capture data and report on the daily outreach activities, services, and number of businesses served by Business Services staff across the state.  This is done through multiple reports, and sent to supervisors and staff so individuals are held to standards for outreach goals and the quality of their work.  Data is compiled and analyzed by staff; region; industry sector; type of outreach; and services offered.

Like NYSDOL, OCFS/NYSCB and NYSED/ACCES-VR offer workforce development services to businesses, monitor the activities of business outreach staff, and provide linkages between businesses and job seekers.

OCFS/NYSCB monitors contract compliance with comprehensive services contracts, vocational evaluation/job placement services contracts, and assistive technology services contracts through a centralized Quality Assurance process.  Each contractor is evaluated at least once during the contract period through an internal review of randomly selected consumer cases.  The review evaluates the contractor’s adherence to contract guidelines and the quality of services delivered.  The review team includes staff from OCFS/NYSCB home office and district offices.  A final report is submitted to the contractor, and additional follow-up monitoring is conducted if corrective actions are needed.

In addition, on-going monitoring of eligibility, plan development, services provision, and case closure takes place through checks built into the OCFS/NYSCB consumer caseload management system and through supervisory review of consumer cases.

NYSED/ACCES-VR has a workforce development and business relations team, including a statewide coordinator, who develops relationships with businesses to ensure a statewide presence; five regional business coordinators who develop relationships with regional companies based on labor market demand; and 15 local workforce development and business relations staff, who develop local business relations and work with the regional and statewide coordinators and other core partners to implement activities on a broader scale.

The whole team works directly with businesses to understand their employment needs and to find candidates who are appropriate matches.  Team members also work closely with job seekers, discovering their skills and placing them in On-the-Job Training (OTJ) and work tryouts.  NYSED/ACCES-VR reimburses 100% of an employee’s wages for up to 480 hours for OTJ and work tryouts.  Recently, the team met with the Workforce Development Committee of the NYSED/ACCES-VR State Rehabilitation Council and partnered with a member to roll-out Champions of Change events.  These events were designed to link businesses to information about hiring individuals with disabilities.

The NYSED/ACCES-VR team also provides job coaches, who work with the business and the employee to understand the needs of both.  Team members offer assistance on accommodations, financial incentives, accessibility, and diversity training.  They provide publications about hiring people with disabilities, and celebrate National Disability Awareness month by giving awards to businesses that are committed to hiring people with disabilities in their communities.  Staff attends business-related events, including job fairs, to provide information about NYSED/ACCES-VR services to business and to link specific job applicants to business needs.

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team is aligned with the CSAVR national employment team.

Partner Engagement with Educational Institutions

The SWIB, working in collaboration with all 33 LWDBs, is responsible for implementing a statewide vision designed to increase partner engagement with educational institutions.  The Education and Credentials subcommittee of the SWIB will lead the charge for NYS by designing strategies to engage the state’s education and training providers, including community colleges and area career and technical education schools, as partners in the workforce development system to create a job-driven education and training system.

To better understand the fundamentals attached to a strategic vision designed to increase partner engagement with educational institutions, it is important to highlight what NYS is currently doing in the area of education as it relates to the public workforce system.  This includes public-private partnerships with community colleges and universities, and creating career pathways.

The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) partnership continues to chart new territory in the reform of secondary and postsecondary education in the United States by providing high school students with a private sector business mentor and an Associate degree at no cost, putting them first in line for jobs at partnering businesses when they graduate.    The public workforce system in various local areas makes a good partner in this initiative.

SUNY has created regional planning councils ensuring that the 29 community colleges outside of New York City cooperate with the other colleges within the regions of the state, and that the colleges in a region, along with stakeholders from other NYS agencies (including the public workforce system), local government, and business and industry work together.  Under this structure, multiple colleges in one region will come together under a regionally assembled council.  These councils set program development, enrollment, and transfer goals on a regional basis.  This initiative limits competition by colleges for students within a region; better align education and training program offerings to regional economic development goals and activities; and improve student outcomes.

To promote student success and institutional excellence, NYS began the process of shifting support from an enrollment-driven formula to one that bases a portion of state aid on performance.  The state budget for 2015-16 include $30 million in new investment and performance funds allocated to SUNY and CUNY campuses that develop performance improvement plans.  These plans include goals to improve access, completion rates, academic and post-graduation success, research potential, and community engagement, including the involvement of the public workforce system.

Building upon the initiatives already in place to better align the public workforce system and educational entities, an increased emphasis will be placed on managing and enhancing the Eligible Training Providers List (ETPL).  The ETPL was established in compliance with WIA and amended by WIOA to provide customer-focused employment training resources for adults and dislocated workers.  Training providers who are eligible to receive Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) through WIOA Title I-B funds are listed on the ETPL.  NYS will work diligently to ensure the ETPL provides prospective training participants with reliable and objective information regarding program successes and affordability, useful for making training and career decisions that lead to employment in the state's workforce.

In an effort to maximize the benefit of strong collaboration between the public workforce system and the education community, a stronger emphasis at the state level has been placed on Career Pathways and Sector Partnerships.  Career Pathways is a system-wide framework that aligns education and training with specific advancement opportunities for a broad range of job seekers.  All core partners under WIOA overseeing workforce development programs continue to re-orient their services toward career progression instead of stopping at job placement.  This effort will include sector-focused bridge programs, skills training, job-relevant curricula, and work-based learning opportunities. The Career Pathways framework can build upon existing efforts in the state, such as the Career Pathways program operated by OTDA through 13 community based providers.  These programs offer participants a clear course of action for building skills and obtaining industry recognized credentials to progress in their career.  Individuals between 18 and 24 years of age are a priority population for these Career Pathway services.

Career Pathways connect education, training, credential attainment, and wraparound services to support new and incumbent workers as they advance to higher levels of employment.  The core partners under WIOA will work with SUNY and NYSED, and other educational institutions to align education (including career and technical education programs), postsecondary education (including certificate, Associate, and Bachelor’s degree programs), and credential training with specific career advancement opportunities as job seekers’ needs evolve over time.  NYS

Lastly, Sector Partnerships will be a statewide priority under WIOA and will necessitate a strong collaboration of various partners.  Sector partnerships are partnerships of businesses from the same industry and in their natural labor market region, with education, workforce development, economic development, and community organizations that focus on a set of key priority issues identified by the target industry.  It is recognized that sector partnerships must have an active convener, and for this reason, the SWIB as the workforce development leader will take on the role of convener to implement state-level initiatives around sector partnerships.  Similar to Career Pathways, the SWIB, in collaboration with the LWDBs, must customize an individual approach to Sector Partnerships for each of the 33 LWDBs in NYS.

Leveraging Resources to Increase Educational Access

NYS recognizes that the realities of today’s global economy make it imperative that the public workforce investment system be demand-driven, fully integrated, and focused on talent development in support of regional economic growth.  This involves providing services that prepare workers to take advantage of new and increasing job opportunities in high-growth/high-demand and economically vital industries and sectors of the American economy.  It is imperative that NYS leverages the hundreds of millions of dollars it receives annually from the federal government to support the pubic workforce system in such a way to meet critical workforce challenges to create a competitive global workforce, including an increase to educational access.

NYS plans to strategically invest and leverage the resources of the multiple federally funded-programs delivered through Career Centers by adopting a shared vision and collaboration of all partners in the state and local system, including the Governor and Local Elected Officials, the State and Local Workforce Development Boards, and the Career Centers.  By aligning resources at all levels, the workforce system serves as a leader and catalyst for talent development strategies.

More defined strategies for leveraging resources will include:

·         A formal commitment to leveraging resources by all required One-Stop System Partners via the MOU process;

·         Utilizing a portion of WIOA statewide activities funds for educational and training purposes;

·         Collaborating with the REDCs throughout NYS to prioritize and allocate funding opportunities for educational and training purposes;

·         Applying for all educational and training funding opportunities announced at the federal level; and

·         Developing effective Career Pathways and Sector Partnership strategies that encourage all partners (i.e., businesses, workforce system, educational entities, etc.) to commit to a certain level of resources, including an allocation for education and/or training for active participants.

Improving Access to Postsecondary Credentials

Postsecondary and Industry-Recognized Credentials

Access to and attainment of postsecondary and industry-recognized credentials is an integral step in helping job seeking customers obtain middle-skill employment that pays family sustaining wages.  The skilled workforce this creates will meet the needs of business customers and help NYS attract and retain businesses.  The state is implementing a demand-driven sector partnership strategy to align the goals of the workforce, business, and education communities to ensure the correct mix of training and credential programs are available to meet the needs of business and job seekers alike.

The state is supplementing these efforts with Sector Partnership (SP) NEG funding.  This will reinforce and expand existing efforts, as well as provide startup capital for new initiatives that will be sustained when the grant period ends.  The SP-NEG seeks to streamline the assessment and referral of job seekers to training opportunities that match their career goals and the needs of the regional labor market.

Priority for Individual Training Account (ITA) funds assignment for youth and adults is provided to training that result in industry-recognized credentials.  State-issued solicitations for training projects award additional technical merit points to those that offer training leading to industry-recognized credentials in the demand industries.  These additional points are currently available to CFA and SP-NEG applicants; and will be written into future training solicitations.  The state’s strategic vision extends to the development of a middle-skills employment program designed specifically to support the hiring needs of business that employ individuals in titles that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

The state’s strategic vision for improving access to credentials is exemplified by the REDCs’ identification and creation of demand industry lists.  These regional lists become the foundation for determining which credential training programs to offer, the establishment of statewide demand industries, and creation of industry partnerships. 


Actionable labor market information is the core of any effective sector partnership strategy.  Combining the resources of the key economic development, workforce development, and education entities in NYS ensures that the goals of our essential partners are aligned and that appropriate credential training programs are made available (or developed to meet projected need) to job seekers.


Apprenticeship is a time-honored approach to training skilled workers through a combination of OTJ and classroom instruction, and is used to develop tomorrow’s competitive workforce.  Apprentices earn wages and produce high-quality work while learning skills that enhance their employability.  An apprentice operates under the close supervision of an accomplished worker (journey-worker) on the job and takes related classroom instruction often at night or on weekends.  A graduated pay scale assures that salary reflects the degree of skill achieved.

NYS’s Registered Apprenticeship program is aligned with WIOA and Wagner-Peyser within NYSDOL’s DEWS office.  The alignment of these programs ensures that dislocated workers and unemployed individuals are exposed to current apprentice opportunities, educated on the increasing role of apprenticeship in the workforce, and are encouraged to apply for apprenticeship opportunities through job fairs and Career Centers.   Many Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors recruit publicly through their local Career Centers for new apprentices.  In addition, businesses that elect to conduct area-wide recruitments are required to submit their recruitment information to the NYSDOL.  A press release is developed for each area-wide recruitment, and is distributed to local media and posted on NYSDOL’s webpage, in addition to listing the positions on the NYS Job Bank.

Upon successful completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program, NYSDOL awards the apprentice with a Certificate of Completion.  Each certificate is a nationally recognized portable credential.  A new trend in Registered Apprenticeship is for sponsors to partner with education so that apprentices also earn an educational degree.  This builds on the current required related classroom instruction.  Some Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors do this by combining the standard on-the-job skill component of training with expanded classroom instruction in a particular field.  This classroom training is offered at the community college level.  As a result, apprentices earn both a Certificate of Completion from the NYSDOL and an Associate degree from a community college.

Apprentice Training Representatives (ATRs) located throughout NYS work closely with Career Centers, as well as NYSDOL/DEWS’s Business Services staff, to promote Registered Apprenticeship to businesses as a proven vehicle for preparation of a skilled workforce.  Registered Apprenticeship offers businesses a steady supply of competent workers, is economical, helps improve employee relations, reduces turnover, and is recognized by industry and labor alike.  ATRs network with businesses at job fairs and also avail themselves to industries and associations to present at meetings such as advanced manufacturing. They follow the local business climate and provide outreach to new and expanding businesses to market and promote the benefits of Registered Apprenticeship.

NYS intends to diversify Registered Apprenticeship by encouraging more opportunities for underrepresented populations.  NYS Governor Cuomo announced a state-wide Pre-Apprenticeship program for disadvantaged out-of-school individuals age 18-24 which is expected to steer underrepresented populations into Registered Apprenticeship programs.  On July 13, 2016, NYSDOL released an RFP in order to secure the services of eligible community-based; nonprofits, including public schools and BOCES; and not-for-profit organizations to assist this new Pre-Apprenticeship program.  Under the RFP, six grantees were awarded $1.1 million to serve 191 out-of-school disadvantaged individuals age 18-24 and to connect these individuals with NYS Registered Apprenticeship construction programs working on state-funded projects. 


NYS’s economic well-being is developed and sustained with a highly skilled workforce and Registered Apprenticeship plays a leading role in ensuring a reliable and constant source of skilled workers in demand industries.  Over the course of the year, NYSDOL’s Apprenticeship Division was awarded two grants from USDOL to aid in the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship.  On June 2, 2016, NYDOL was awarded a $200,000 State Accelerator Grant for developing strategic plans and building partnerships for apprenticeship expansion and diversification with state education, workforce and economic development systems.   Additionally, on October 21, 2016, NYSDOL was awarded $1.5 million from USDOL to fund NYS’s apprenticeship expansion through the Apprenticeship Expansion Grant (AEG).  In combination with the Accelerator Grant, NYSDOL is utilizing these funds to expand Registered Apprenticeship throughout the state in new and emerging occupations and to reach underserved populations. 


To facilitate the expansion of apprenticeship, NYSDOL is making up to $4.2 million in funding available under the AEG Request for Applications (RFA).  The purpose of this RFA is to expand Registered Apprenticeship training by increasing employment opportunities for approximately 800 new apprentices with a focus on underrepresented populations.  These new apprentices will enter trades in high-demand occupations, with a focus on the emerging fields of Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technology (IT), as well as other in-demand occupations.  This funding will cover costs associated with the provision of training apprentices through Registered Apprenticeship, such as Related Instruction (RI), OJT, books, and tools.

In April 2017, the NYS budget was passed for the fiscal year 2018.  The budget included the Empire State Apprenticeship Tax Credit Program.  Forty million was allocated under this tax program which continues until 2022 (up to $10 M annually is available for expenditure).  Employers are eligible to apply for the tax credit beginning in 2018 and can receive tax credits for apprentices under certain criteria.  

As part of the effort to focus on the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship in new and emerging industries, during the past year, NYSDOL approved five new trades.  These trades include: Quality Assurance Auditor, Precision Optics Manufacturing Technician, Computer Support Technician, Community Health Worker, and Centerless Grinder Machinist. The approval of these new trades facilitates the expansion of RA into demand industries.  Each trade has unique tasks, skills, and follows an approved Training Outline.  Quality Assurance Auditors work with production personnel to ensure an employer’s products meet standards.  Precision Optics Manufacturing Technicians assist manufacturers of precision lenses.  Computer Support Technicians identify, install, configure, and troubleshoot issues with computers and IT networks.  Community Health Workers are front line public health workers who help bridge the gap between medical facilities and social service agencies.  Centerless Grinder Machinists perform production runs on all manner of machined parts using manual and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) grinding machines.  Also during this year, the trades of Lather (Wood, Wire and Metal) and Linoleum, Resilient Tile & Carpet Layer were updated to reflect the changing needs of the industries.  

In addition to these trades, there are two new trades which are under review for approval: Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic and Software Developer.  The approval of new programs in these emerging industries will help build and diversify NYS Registered Apprenticeship.

Traditionally, apprenticeship programs were only approved as time-based programs where apprentices had to complete a specific number of hours in each on-the-job task but did not have to demonstrate competency.  However, NYS’s Apprenticeship Regulations permit the use of hybrid and competency-based approaches to training.   The hybrid approach is a combination of the time-based and competency-based approaches and requires a minimum number of OTJ hours for each skill prior to testing.  Previously, NYSDOL approved a hybrid program for the Carpenter trade and a competency-based program for Direct Support Professional. In the past year, two new hybrid training outlines were approved for Linoleum, Resilient Tile & Carpet Layer and Community Health Worker.  In addition, NYSDOL has recently approved a competency-based training outline for Computer Support Technician.  Approval of competency-based and hybrid programs allows sponsors and apprentices additional flexibility in the length of time needed to complete a program.  NYSDOL anticipates developing and moving more trades into alternative training approaches which allows for diversity and expansion into new and emerging industries. 

Coordination with Economic Development Strategies

Regional Economic Development Councils

In order to empower each region to chart its own course, Governor Cuomo created ten REDCs to encourage an approach to economic development driven by the people and businesses from within each region.  Membership reflects the myriad of interests in each community, including major industries, small businesses, higher education, community organizations, and labor.  The Regional Councils turned around Albany’s top-down approach to economic development, shifting to a community-based, performance-driven model that empowers localities to develop and invest in their own economic future.  Each REDC developed a strategic regional plan to capitalize on the established strengths and unique resources of each of the ten regions of NYS.

In their various plans, the REDCs listed priority areas specific to their region.  Based on information in the plans, the Healthcare and Advanced Manufacturing sectors continue to be priorities for most of the state’s regions.  Other priorities in at least three REDC plans include Agriculture and Tourism (including Hospitality, Food, and Beverage).  There is also a more diverse set of priority sectors than in previous years; many priority sectors are unique to one region.

A majority of the REDC plans identified both the K-12 educational pipeline and post-secondary education (undergraduate and higher) as priority areas.  In terms of sources of non-academic training, those that were cited in several REDC strategic plans as priority areas include:

·         Apprenticeships and OTJ;

·         Customized training; and

·         Worker skills upgrading/incumbent worker training.

In addition, a majority of the REDC strategic plans cite the pressing need to align worker supply with worker demand.  Other workforce issues mentioned by the REDCs in their regional plans include: addressing workforce shortages, concerns about skill gaps, and a need for extensive training.

In addition, the State University of New York (SUNY) and the accompanying Community College system have begun to recognize this established regional structure for economic development and the synergy that organizing around this geography can produce.  Accordingly, colleges have begun to collaborate on a regional basis to address sectoral training needs identified through data and prioritized by the REDCs.

Five-Year Regional Economic Development Strategic Plans

In 2011, each council was required to develop a five-year strategic plan to compete for regional economic development resources.  Over the past six years, as part of a process that has awarded over $2.25 billion for job creation and community development, the REDCs produced innovative plans and implementation agendas that truly reflect the distinct characteristics of each of the ten regions of NYS.    In addition, state agencies provide additional resources to support regional growth strategies.  These funds are made available through a CFA.  The CFA was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process for stakeholders within each region, and is now in its seventh year.

The success of the REDCs’ work led to additional initiatives, including the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).  The DRI looks to transform downtown neighborhoods such as Kingston and Watkins Glen, into vibrant, highly developed communities.  The URI was modeled after the success of the Buffalo Billion Initiative, and sought to develop the economies and workforces of communities upstate.  Three regions received URI awards in 2015, and the revitalization efforts are ongoing.

NYSDOL aligned its Business Services goals with the goals of the REDC in each region, including focusing on serving businesses in priority sectors identified by each Council and promoting the yearly CFA to businesses.  The CFA streamlines the way businesses apply for economic development funds by bringing together resources from 12 state agencies including ESD, NYSERDA, New York Power Authority (NYPA), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), NYS Department of State (DOS), and NYSDOL.  Business Services assists with contract development for NYSDOL programs and provides ongoing technical assistance to award recipients.

State Agency Coordination

The Governor charged state agencies with providing support to Regional Councils in four main ways:

·         Identify existing funding and resources to support the implementation of Strategic Plans;

·         Conduct a due diligence review of the CFA submissions for relevant legal issues and potential disqualifying concerns;

·         Work with REDCs to address obstacles to long-term economic growth statewide; and

·         Revise state guidelines and internal processes to expedite REDC projects across NYS government.

REDC strategic plans are to be comprehensive and address needs in a holistic fashion.  Accordingly, ESD, the state’s economic development agency, reached out to approximately 20 other NYS agencies to identify resources and strategic support for the Regional Councils.  As guided by ESD research, each agency provided data and other information that summarized some aspect of the ten regional economies.  For example, business climate was captured in part through state and local tax data and traditional regional economic data was provided by NYSDOL.  ESD research staff formatted and restructured the data as needed to fit the REDCs’ objectives creating a “regional snapshot” presentation for each region and a “data warehouse” of databases and other information to support the snapshots.  This groundbreaking innovation was recognized as an example of outstanding achievement in economic development research by The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) in June 2012.

Regional Workforce Planning

NYSDOL has long encouraged Regional Planning as a way to further inform and enhance the regional progress reports developed by the REDCs, and requested that LWDBs develop formal Regional Plans for a number of years under WIA.  Regional Planning is now a required function of the LWDBs under WIOA.

WIOA requires Regional Plans to address the following:

a.       Regional Service Strategies, including cooperative service delivery agreements;

b.       Sector initiatives for in-demand industry sectors or occupations;

c.       The collection and analysis of regional labor market data;

d.       The establishment of a regional spending plan that includes administrative cost arrangements between LWDBs and the pooling of funds where applicable;

e.       The coordination of supportive services;

f.        The coordination of services with Economic Development partners; and

g.       An agreement concerning performance accountability measure negotiation and reporting.

In addition to these required elements, NYSDOL requires that LWDBs ensure their Regional Plan aligns with the Priority Projects of their associated REDC by reviewing the appropriate REDC Progress report.

State Operating Systems and Policies

State Program and State Board Overview

State Agency Organization

Within the NYS workforce delivery system, the Governor oversees NYSDOL and OCFS, including OCFS/NYSCB, while the Board of Regents is responsible for NYSED, including NYSED/ACCES-VR and ACCES-Adult Education Program and Policy (AEPP).  NYSED, OCFS, and NYSDOL are linked through the SWIB, with each agency being an ex-officio member of the board.  Both NYSED/ACCES-VR and OCFS/NYSCB include a State Rehabilitation Council, responsible for providing advice and support to both programs in the delivery of services to individuals with disabilities.

NYSED oversees Title II-Adult Education and Literacy and Title IV-Vocational Rehabilitation.  Under program delivery, Adult Education and Literacy oversees seven RAEN centers and additional Adult Education providers, while NYSED/ACCES-VR utilizes its District Offices to provide services to participants.  OCFS/NYSCB also oversees Title IV-Vocational Rehabilitation, and like NYSED/ACCES-VR, utilizes its District Offices for program delivery to participants.  NYSDOL oversees Title I-Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs and Title III-Wagner-Peyser, and utilizes the state’s 96 Career Centers and partner programs for service delivery.

All three agencies refer participants to one another to provide the best service possible to all.  In addition, the workforce development system includes additional partners who are also represented on the SWIB.  These partners include ESD, OTDA, SUNY, and CUNY.  Appendix 1 presents the Organizational Chart for administration of WIOA.

State Board

For detailed information on the SWIB, please see the State Board Functions section under Operational Planning Elements on pages 27 and 28.  The membership roster and each member’s affiliation for the SWIB are presented in the following table.





Gov. Andrew Cuomo



Baird, Tony

Tony Baird Electronics


Carro, Noreen

LMN Printing Co.


Cozzolino, Vincent

FALA Technologies


Diodati, Richard

Charles T. Sitrin Health Care Center


Esteban, Sergio

LaBella Associates PC


Fancher, Michael

College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering (CNSE)


Fitzgerald, Carol

Life Medical Technologies, Inc.


Fuest, Norbert

Morton Salt


Johnson, Jessica

Johnson Security Bureau Inc.


Kondra-DeFuria, Suzanne

Potter Heating & Air Conditioning


Madison, Allison

Madison Approach Staffing, Inc.


Maier, Peter



McNally, Michael

United Health Services


Miner, Kathleen

Univ. of Rochester Medical Center & Strong Memorial Hospital


Papale, Shawna

Candella’s Produce LLC/ Mohawk Valley Edge


Sansone, Chris

Keller Technology Corp.


Schneider, Shelby

Shmaltz Brewing Co.


Shybunko-Moore, Anne

GSE Dynamics


Townsend, Kimberly



Weber, Nancy

Mexican Pride Farm



NYS Education Department

Core Program/Executive


NYS Department of Labor

Core Program/Executive


NYS Office of Children and Family Services

Core Program/Executive


Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Summer Youth Employment


President & CEO

Empire State Development Corporation (ESD)





Titus, Michele

NYS Assembly

Legislative – Assembly

Savino, Diane

NYS Senate

Legislative – Senate

Ossenfort, Matthew

Montgomery County

Local Elected Official (County Executive)

Quill, Michael

Mayor, City of Auburn

Local Elected Official (City)

Catalano, Albert

Int’l. Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers

Apprenticeship Representative/Organized Labor

Costello, Patrick

IBEW Local 43

Organized Labor

Ayala, Plinio

Per Scholas


Mathis, David

Oneida County Workforce Development


McDermott, Joseph

Consortium for Worker Education


Milliken, James



Murphy, Ed

AFL-CIO, Workforce Development Institute


According to SWIB bylaws adopted in May 2015, nominations to business and labor representative positions are solicited from appropriate state-level business/labor organizations, consistent with WIOA.  As NYS had a WIOA-compliant State Board prior to WIOA implementation and there were no subsequent membership changes prior to Combined State Plan submission.

Board Activities

The SWIB created committees that focus on specific goals that align with the goals and strategies of WIOA and the REDCs.  Each committee chair is a member of the Executive Committee and led by SWIB Chairman Vincent Cozzolino.

In October 2014, SWIB Chairman Cozzolino announced the establishment of five standing committees with all members participating on at least one committee.  The committees are:

·         Communications & Improving Regional Planning (chaired by Nancy Weber) – coordinates SWIB efforts with those of other workforce entities, such as REDCs and LWDBs, to incorporate regional feedback to statewide initiatives and/or foster new ideas.  Within this subcommittee, there is an emphasis on SWIB members attending local board meetings to solicit local level feedback to build stronger partnerships that foster system responsiveness and improvement.

·         Education & Credentials (chaired by Tony Baird) – identifies and promotes ways to increase employment and meet business needs through education and training opportunities or reforms.  The subcommittee is studying career pathways development within in-demand industries. 

·         Significant Industries (chaired by Shelby Schneider) – identifies and addresses concerns such as skills gaps and needs of significant and emerging industries in NYS to promote employment and growth.  Members reviewed each of the regions’ priority sectors and are currently reviewing labor market information This subcommittee is building upon the REDC planning process and helping to further a “demand driven system” by focusing on meeting the needs of businesses to align our talent (job seekers).

·         Aligning Workforce Programs (chaired by Sergio Esteban) – coordinates with workforce programs to ensure compliance with federal goals (WIOA) to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and ensure better alignment.  The subcommittee examines how various workforce programs contribute to NYS economic development and can better serve individuals in a streamlined manner.   An interagency team comprised of core program staff was formed under this subcommittee at the beginning of 2015 to begin discussions on the WIOA Combined State Plan and continues to meet to find ways to progress on WIOA goals of better system integration and alignment.  The Interagency group has formed a number of teams, ranging from the Training and Assistance Workgroup to the Referrals and Waivers Workgroup.

·         Outcomes & Metrics (chaired by Chris Sansone) – evaluates current performance measures and makes recommendations on new ones that should be established to study results of workforce programs for inefficiencies.  This subcommittee will make recommendations for improvement and promote best practices.

Each committee chair discusses long and short-term goals with Executive Committee members and communicates action items to the entire board at the full membership quarterly SWIB meetings.  As topics or issues needing specific attention are identified, workgroups are formed with appropriate subject matter experts assisting in discussion facilitation and research with the goal to produce a deliverable.  Committees may refer issues or concerns to another committee for further consideration if it aligns more with the objective and function of that committee.  For example, if the Significant Industries committee identifies a training skills gap within a specific business sector, it may be referred to the Education & Credentials committee for further study in order to develop a recommendation to address the problem.

State Policies

NYS directs the Career Center system through ongoing technical assistance on state policy and the release of workforce development system technical advisories.  As these policies are initially developed, stakeholders across the system are consistently engaged to provide valuable input and commentary.  Through a variety of methods--including webinars, teleconferences, in-person meetings, and written document-- the LWDBs, chief local elected officials, and local one-stop partners are engaged as necessary to reinforce a working knowledge of established and newly-developed state workforce policies.  In addition, most policies will require a more formal release to serve as a point of reference for the state workforce system.  These releases are developed in collaboration with the SWIB, core program partners, and local workforce system stakeholders.  The list of topics covered by these written technical advisories is significant so they cannot all be commented on in the Plan, but some key topics include:

·         Universal Accessibility of Career Center Services;

·         WIOA Regional and Regional Workforce Planning;

·         Veterans’ Priority of Service;

·         One-Stop System Operator Selection; and

·         Performance Measures.

A comprehensive list of current NYSDOL technical advisories and their text may be found at the following link:

Regarding Career Center partner program contributions to the Centers as required by WIOA, the state is still in the process of developing final technical assistance in this area and has been working in close collaboration with program partners, the Local Boards, and the State Board.  The core program partners worked to improve the state approval process for Service Delivery MOUs and continues to work on guidance related to the Infrastructure Funding and Shared Services MOU.  NYSDOL has issued general assistance on establishment of cost allocation methodologies in the form of a webpage ( that contains information about General Cost Allocation principles set forth be the Office of Management and Budget, development of cost allocation plans, and the types of data that can be used as a basis for cost allocation..

Core Program and One-Stop Partner Assessments

Under WIA, NYSDOL tracked several Customer Service Indicators (CSIs).  CSIs are designed to assist LWDAs in meeting their WIOA Common Measure goals and to move the Career Center System in NYS toward specific goals that NYSDOL deems important to the good of the state. First instituted during PY07 under WIA, NYSDOL has used many different CSIs that have evolved over time. They have included measures to reinforce data entry policy for staff, categorize participants based on their job readiness and prescribe additional services, leverage new technology, and effectively serve business customers.  Over the past year, we have focused our efforts on ensuring we comply with the mandated WIOA Common Measure reporting requirements of WIOA.  NYSDOL now expects to return to developing additional CSIs to assist local areas in achieving further performance goals.

As discussed previously, NYSDOL, in partnership with NYS OMH, developed and implemented NYESS.  NYESS is made up of various computer applications and data sets.  Employment related data collection is accomplished by all NYESS partners using the existing NYSDOL case management system, OSOS.  Legacy data sets from the partners and current data sets, which include but are not limited to, OSOS; vocational rehabilitation agencies; DOH; Social Security Administration (SSA); and others are pulled together in a data warehouse.  A web-based reporting portal designed and maintained by OMH will provide cross-agency report card like information to the general public (aggregate data) and to the individual agencies and their contracted partner staff.

The Adult Education and Literacy Programs Adult Student Information System and Technical Support (ASISTS) is an ACCES-AEPP-funded, custom built management information system.  This system has been used by funded programs in NYS since PY2007-08.  In addition to serving as the database for all program data related to adult literacy, it also provides reports designed to check for data quality and compliance with NRS.  To ensure consistent and continual availability of training support, ASISTS produced a number of training videos, focusing on daily required action with program data.  Round table discussions are scheduled quarterly to promote data quality.

Leadership will continue to support a contract for technical assistance, training, and troubleshooting to improve data quality and monitor program performance in every program.  The NRS accountability specialist funded by this NYSED contract works directly with ACCES-AEPP staff.  Duties include focusing on the largest providers with significant enrollments and programs who need intensive technical assistance to achieve improvement.  In 2016-17, under the Combined State Plan, three programs from each region (for a total of 21) were selected for inclusion in the Individual Technical Assistance Program (ITAP).  The Big 5 city school district programs (New York City, Yonkers, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo) consistently receive support from ITAP, given their large size.  All ITAP programs are desk monitored, accompanied by monthly conference calls and an annual scheduled site visit.  All communication and quarterly data analysis is collected electronically and stored on the NYS accountability website in a secure portal for each program.  The portal is accessible by the NRS specialist, the NYSED Regional Liaison, the RAEN Director, and the program manager. 

Each fiscal year, report card data is reviewed by NYSED. The NYS report cards quartile rank all funded programs.  When a program’s performance places that program in Quartile 1 and the program has missed one or more of the state benchmarks, the program is placed under Corrective Action.  The program is required to submit a program improvement plan and must correspond electronically on the accountability website.  Quarterly data reviews are conducted by the NRS Accountability Specialist and subsequent conference calls are scheduled with those programs exhibiting poor performance or inconsistent data patterns.  The NRS Accountability Specialist assists in identifying problems and trends on a statewide and regional level.

Professional development in the areas of data collection, recording, and reporting continues to be a priority.  Added to that is the constant need for NRS training at all levels.  The Accountability Specialist will provide a minimum of two training events in each of the seven geographic regions annually.  Topics include NRS Foundations, NRS for Teachers, and NYS Report Card Training.

Beginning in 2007, all funded agencies have continued to receive NYS-issued report cards.  This will continue in 2016-19.  The report cards evaluate programs under two distinct methodologies.  The first is a standard benchmark measurement.  NYS benchmarks for performance in Measurable Skill Gain (MSG), Post Test Rate, and Follow up Outcomes are set each year by NYSED based on the averages derived from the prior year’s state data.  When programs meet all three benchmarks, they are scored as “proficient.”

The second method of evaluation is based on a quartile ranking among all programs in the state.  In the case of Measurable Skill Gain, the program’s scores are weighted based on the NRS Educational Functioning Levels (EFLs) indicating the strongest proponent for gain.  The weighting of each EFL is determined by the aggregate data analysis of the prior year’s data.  The quartiles are determined using the following rubric:

·         50% of the score is from the weighted Measurable Skill Gain;

·         20% of the score is from the post-test rate;

·         20% of the score is based on the four follow-up measures; and

·         10% of the score will be based on High School Equivalency (HSE) achievement.

Local program data will be entered quarterly into ASISTS, according to the following dates:

·         Quarter I (7/01-9/30) data entered and reviewed by 10/31;

·         Quarter II (10/01-12/31) data entered and reviewed by 1/31;

·         Quarter III (1/01-3/31) data entered and reviewed by 4/30; and

·         Quarter IV (4/01-6/30) data entered and reviewed by 7/31.  Note that the program has until 10/31 each year to finalize the annual data submitted over the previous four quarters.  It is the responsibility of the program to have data entry up to date for each quarter.  ITAP continues in PY 2016-19.  ITAPs identify agencies in need of intense technical assistance.  The contracted Accountability Specialist, NYS regional staff, and RAEN directors work closely with these programs to identify gaps in quality and performance, and implement an effective program improvement plan.  Effective use of webinars and conference calls provide a consistent line of communication with these programs as they implement change to improve their performance.  As programs improve their performance, they are removed from ITAP status and others are then identified. 

Beginning in November 2014 and continuing through PY 2016-2019, NYSED issues a Program Evaluation Report for each funded program.  The annual Program Evaluation Report will identify whether the agency met the NYS benchmarks for Measurable Skill Gain, Post Test Rate, Follow up Outcomes, and HSE achievement.  These are aggregate benchmarks set annually by NYSED based upon NRS targets negotiated with the U.S. Education Department and previous year performance data from programs funded by ACCES-AEPP.  Programs that do not meet these NYS annual benchmarks will be required to undertake a formal Corrective Action Planning process.  The program must submit and receive NYSED approval for a comprehensive Corrective Action Plan (CAP) that identifies specific steps for meeting NYS annual benchmarks by June 30 of the current year.  For programs identified for corrective action in November of 2017 or 2018, they must meet their annual benchmarks by June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019, respectively.

Both the CAP and Continuous Evaluation Process processes will be reported and tracked through the accountability website at: for each program funded through this RFP.

Under the federal NRS for adult literacy programs, NYS, and ultimately local service providers, will be evaluated based on performance indicators.  Successful applicants must submit data based on the federal requirements of the NRS.  Information on the NRS may be found on the web page

Tracking data in ASISTS follows a four-category process.  These categories are sequential and allow for the diversity among NYS’s adult literacy programming.  The categories are as follows:

Category I – Setup.

Programs enter the following categories of data to set up their data account in ASISTS:

·         Funding sources - Programs can track services funded by multiple sources.

·         Sites - Providers enter data pertaining to each of their sites and connect it to services so they can run reports separately by site.

·         Outcomes - In addition to tracking required outcomes, programs may also track outcomes that are specific to their own specialized programming, such as training or career pathways.

·         Personnel - Providers add teacher information including name, experience, certification information, and longevity.

·         Classes/Services - Providers create their roster of classes adding the schedule, teacher, and type/level of classes.

Category II – Registration.

All state funded programs must use a standard registration form, the Individual Student Record Form (ISRF).

·         Student information - This includes name; DOB; contact information; and demographic information such as gender, ethnicity, employment status, educational background, and public assistance status.  ASISTS also allows providers to note whether a person is a parent or disabled.  Social Security Numbers are also recorded when made available by the student.

·         Initial Assessment - All providers use one of two standardized assessments (the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) for Adult Basic Education (ABE) students or BEST Plus for English Language Learner (ELL) students with registrants at intake or within 12 hours of contact with the student.  This assessment is used to place students in literacy classes and diagnose learning needs.

·         Enrollment - Once registration is complete, registrants are assigned to classes based on their assessments and availability.

Category III – Services.

·         Contact Hours - Adult Education providers use ASISTS to track attendance hours on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

·         Test scores - Post-tests are given by providers at regular intervals based on NYS Assessment Policy submitted to the U.S Education Department’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education to demonstrate learning gains.  ASISTS calculates the Measurable Skill Gain based on their standardized assessment scores.

Category IV – Outcomes.

Adult Education providers track student outcomes regularly, both during and after their participation in a program.

·         Measurable Skill Gain - NRS guidelines define a student as demonstrating Measurable Skill Gain when his or her test score places him or her in an NRS level (one of six predefined educational functioning levels) that is higher than the one determined by that student's initial or pre-test.

·         Primary follow-up outcomes - Providers focus on the following key NRS outcomes:

o   Employment;

o   Median wage earning;

o   Attaining the NYS HSE diploma;

o   Attaining an industry recognized credential; and

o   Entering postsecondary education or training.

·         Other Outcomes - ASISTS also facilitates the tracking of a wide variety of outcomes that are customized per program.

Review – Reports and Downloads.

ASISTS includes the following reports to review the data and use it for reporting and management purposes.

·         Funding reports - Reports that present data critical to reporting following state funding guidelines.  The most critical report is the Program Evaluation report indicating on one page the most critical performance statistics NYSED uses to evaluate programs.  The state-funded Employment Preparation Education (EPE) state aid claim forms are also generated from ASISTS.

·         Data management reports primarily meant for tracking and internal program management purposes.

·         Data checks that are specifically designed to help providers detect and correct issues relating to data quality and completeness.

All of these resources will serve as the basis of core program alignment to support WIOA success.

Distributing Funds for Core Programs

Distribution of WIOA funding by the federal government to NYS for each of the four titles is determined by formula.  In general, the formulas are based on factors related to programmatic need across the states.  State-level discretion regarding the use of this funding for each of the four WIOA Titles is provided in the following descriptions.

Title I

The majority of funding for the Title I Adult, Youth, and Dislocated Worker (DW) programs is provided directly by formula to 33 LWDAs for administration of program services as directed by the Governor-certified LWDBs.  As authorized by WIOA and the annual federal budget appropriation, the remaining funding—up to 15% of each Title I Program for Statewide Activities, plus an additional up to 25% of the Dislocated Worker Program for Rapid Response Activities, is set aside for required and allowable state-level activities including administration, policy and program development, rapid response services, business services, fiscal and programmatic oversight and monitoring, and state-level employment and training programs as directed under the discretion of the Governor and with the assistance of the SWIB. 

NYS’s use of state-level WIOA funds for workforce investment activities is in compliance with the laws required and allowable activities for these funds.  The Governor’s 10 REDCs help guide the use of these funds by establishing priority projects, including sector-based workforce strategies in each region regions. The LWDBs are also consulted for feedback on uses of these funds. 

Each year from 2011-2014 Congress either appropriated no Statewide Activities programmatic funds, or significantly reduced these funds.  During this time, NYS used Rapid Response funds to provide employment and training programs to dislocated workers, especially for the long-term unemployed.  The restoration of the 15% Statewide Activities funding in 2015 provides an opportunity for state-level programs to expand services to disadvantaged adults, incumbent workers, and youth, as well as continue to serve dislocated workers.  Current and upcoming programs include incumbent worker skills upgrading training, unemployed worker training, OTJ, customized training, middle skills training, occupational training for the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, pre-apprenticeship training, and youth employment and training programs.

The local area formula funding is distributed according to factors indicating local area need.  For the Adult and Youth programs, funds are:

·         Number of unemployed persons in areas with an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent or more;

·         Number of unemployed in excess of 4.5 percent of the civilian labor force; and

·         Number of Adults/Youth whose income, or whose family income, was below poverty or below 70% of the lower living standard income level.

For the Title I Dislocated Worker Program, funds are distributed according to:

·         Total number of UI beneficiaries and long term unemployed;

·         Number of unemployed persons in areas with an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent or more;

·         Number of unemployed under the Mass Layoff Statistics program;

·         Change in employment in industries with job losses in past five years; and

·         Number of farms with net losses.

Greater detail on these Title I formula fund distribution factors, and the actual funding allocations for the local areas, can be found at:

Title II

WIOA Adult Education and Literacy Core Program (Title II) funds will continue to support one of the largest and most diverse state adult education programs in the country.  Since 2013, NYSED has dedicated Workforce Investment Act (WIA), from 2013 through 2018, and Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), beginning July 2018, Title II funds to support a comprehensive and coordinated literacy system that increased the skills of approximately 105,410 out-of-school youth and adults in adult basic education, adult secondary education and English as a second language (ESL). 

·         Approximately 21% are between the ages of 16 and 24 (22% in FY16).

·         45% of adult students enter literacy programs employed.

·         57,963 were unemployed upon entry in FY17.

·         In terms of the numbers and demographic profile of students served:

o   172 programs provided literacy education;

§  63% of students are ESL learners.

§  37% of students are preparing for the HSE.

·         More than 11 million hours of instruction are recorded;

·         64.2% of learners moved one or more educational functioning levels; and

·         ESL instruction for adults is the largest and fastest growing component of America’s adult education system and the fastest growing program of any kind at many community colleges.  Virtually all of our ESL students are immigrants.  According to the U.S. Census, half the growth of the American workforce in the 1990s was due to immigration.

NYSED requested and received from the U.S. Education Department a one-year waiver to extend the competitive bidding of WIOA Title II funds to July 1, 2018.   ACCES-AEPP used 2016-17 to plan and prepare for the competitive bidding of all local WIOA funding using an approach and format for multi-year funding.  The RFP was released on December 27, 2017 and posted to the ACCES procurement webpage.  The direct link to the RFP is:

The RFP bids $38,299,003 million in WIOA Title II funding and $1,843,000 in State Welfare Education Program funds for an annual total of over $40 million.  The funding includes carry-over WIOA Title II funding to support multi-year awards. Successful applicants will be funded for July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021 with the possibility of two (2) one-year extensions. All applicants for all funds must meet WIOA eligibility requirements, with the exception of NYS WEP funds which are only open to schools and BOCES. 

There are four separate competitions:

·         $21,269,614 in Section 211 funding for Adult Basic Education and Literacy Services

·         $ 9,501,967 in Section 243 funding for Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE)

·         $ 2,962,72 in Section 225 funding for Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Individuals

·         $ 6,407,702 for at least 50 Literacy Zones 


Program Area 1. Funding for Adult Basic Education and Literacy Services will be allocated to 33 local workforce areas based on the area’s percentage of the state’s adult population who are under-educated and lack a high school diploma or equivalency, adults in poverty, and the area’s percentage of the state’s adult population who speak English “less than very well” according to the latest U.S. Census American Community Survey. Competition is for funding within each Workforce Development Board area, based upon the funds allocated to that area.


The allocation and competitive process for this funding is fully described in Attachment 1 of the RFP Awards will be made to the highest-ranked proposals in each LWDB Area until the funds allocated are insufficient to fully fund the next ranked proposal with a passing score. The next ranked applicant that received a passing score but could not be funded in full within the LWDB Area will be offered partial funding within the same LWDA.  If funds remain after all eligible proposals have been awarded within any given LWDB Area, the remaining funds will be added to the amount available for distribution under the Literacy Zone competition.

Funded activities include literacy activities as defined in section 203 (9) and English Language Acquisition as defined in section 203 (6).  Integrated Education and Training is fundable under this section.  Per state policy, WIOA Title II funding will only fund the academic component of integrated education and training in order to maximize the leveraging of training dollars.


Program Area 2. Funding for Integrated English Language and Civics Education will be distributed through a separate Statewide Competition.  Individual awards will be capped at $300,000 for New York City applicants and $250,000 for applicants elsewhere in the state.  Per state policy, WIOA Title II funding will only fund the academic component of integrated education and training in order to maximize the leveraging of training dollars.

Program Area 3. Funding for Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Individuals will be distributed through a separate Statewide competition.  There is a $250,000 cap for individual awards. Integrated Education and Training (IET), career pathways, concurrent enrollment, peer tutoring and transition to re-entry initiatives and other post release services with the goal of reducing recidivism are fundable.  Per state policy, WIOA Title II funding will only fund the academic component of integrated education and training in order to maximize the leveraging of training dollars.

All program area must include a program of instruction that:

·         Includes curriculum, lesson plans, and instructional materials aligned with NYSED/ OCTAE College and Career Readiness standards;

·         Offers educational and career counseling service that assist an eligible individual to transition to postsecondary education or employment;

·         Is part of a career pathway.

Program Area 4. Funding for Literacy Zones will be distributed based upon a separate statewide competition.  Literacy zones ( support case management and interagency coordination in family welcome centers in high poverty communities and communities with high concentrations of limited English speaking adults and connect eligible individuals with community resources, including instruction funded under Program Areas 1, 2 and 3 of the RFP and programs and services in Career Centers and workforce development system partners. Only Literacy Zone proposals submitted by applicants that resulted in a grant or grant contract under the previous Program Area 1 and/or Program Area 2 will be reviewed. Awards will be made to the highest-ranking applications in rank order until funds remaining are insufficient to fund the next ranked proposal in full.  The next ranked applicant will be given the opportunity to operate a reduced program using the remaining funds in this pool. 

Each Program Area has its own criteria for evaluation using requirements for the appropriate Section of WIOA. A separate application must be submitted for each of the four Program Areas.  All of them include the thirteen required considerations.

Every applicant receiving funds in each of the four Program Areas in the RFP will receive multi-year awards for three years, with the option of two one-year extensions.  Competition for NYS Welfare Education Program funds will be integrated into this WIOA Title II-WEP RFP to fund Literacy Zones administered by school districts and BOCES. WEP grants will follow the same three-year award timeframe and the possibility of two one-year extensions under WIOA.

Consistent with state procurement procedures and WIOA, NYSED has made the RFP available to  the public and all eligible WIOA applicants by: posting the comprehensive  RFP in the State Contract Reporter and  broadly notifying, through email blasts, members of associations and organizations of eligible WIOA providers, including but not limited to, the New York Association for Continuing and Community Education, NYS Corrections Education Association, the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy, SUNY and CUNY community colleges, NYS District Superintendents, current awardees, and past applicants. The RFP is also posted on the NYSED ACCES website under funding opportunities and on seven RAEN websites which provide regional information to adult education providers and potential applicants in each region of the state.

To determine if an applicant is an organization of “demonstrated effectiveness,” all applicants will be required to provide data demonstrating their ability to improve skills of low-literate and English language proficient out-of-school youth and adults in the content area related to the RFP using the required academic standards as outlined in the National Reporting System (NRS) guidelines and requirements. All adult education programs currently receiving NYSED funding from WIOA Title II, NYS Employment Preparation Education (EPE) state aid, or NYS Welfare Education Program (WEP) operate under one performance and accountability system using the NRS requirements and NYS negotiated performance targets. Performance is based upon the NRS Educational Functioning Level descriptors.  For currently funded applicants, each receives a NYSED performance report card that ranks its performance into four quartiles based upon NRS approved targets for NYS. Each applicant that is currently funded will be required to submit the 2015-16 NYSED NRS Report card to demonstrate effectiveness.   This report card shows how they met state-negotiated performance measures for all student levels, as well as for English Language Learners.  New organizations that apply will be required to fill out a “Demonstrated Effectiveness Chart” (Attachment 3 of the RFP) that provides evidence of demonstrated effectiveness based upon equivalent performance under NRS using the NRS Educational Functioning Level Descriptors.  An applicant will also be required to demonstrate its record of improving the knowledge and skills needed to transition successfully to postsecondary education, skills training, or employment.   Each application will be reviewed to determine whether it meets the standard of demonstrated effectiveness.

A process for LWDB review has been established for all WIOA applicants.  This process is fully described in Attachment 5 of the RFP. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDB) review WIOA Title II applications for funding under this RFP to determine how well the applications align with local workforce plans for the workforce system to serve adult education students who have low literacy skills or are English Language Learners.

NYSED, working closely with the NYS Department of Labor and 33 Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) directors, has developed a process for LWDBs to review and provide input to potential applicants to ensure that applications are aligned with the local workforce plan and priorities. 

1.       LWDB priorities that relate to Title II applicants will be clearly outlined in the local plan.  Local plans can be found on the NYS Department of Labor website:


Each local plan will:

·         Provide a description of the local board’s strategic vision and goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce, specifically addressing priorities and strategies for serving out-of-school youth and adults who have low literacy skills, are English Language Learners, or lack a high school diploma or the equivalent;

·         Provide a description of how the local board will facilitate access to services provided through the NYS Career Center system for Title II participants with barriers to employment;

·         Identify how the local board will facilitate the development of career pathways and co-enrollment in academic and training programs; and

·         Provide a description of how the local board will work with the entities that carryout out WIOA Title II programs.

2.    The WIOA Title II LWDB Application Review Form (Attachment 5) should be used to demonstrate alignment between the applicant’s WIOA Title II proposal and the strategy and goals of the LWDB plan:

·         The applicant completes Section 1 of Attachment summarizing the alignment to the LWDB plan.

·         The applicant agency submits all Attachment 5 forms to the LWDB for review.

·         The LWDB assesses alignment using Section 2 of Attachment 5 and advises the applicant on how well the application aligns with the local plan as appropriate by completing the form and sharing their recommendations.

·         When recommendations are made, the applicant completes Section 3 (Attachment 5) to demonstrate how the proposed application has been revised to take into account LWDB recommendations.

A separate Attachment 5 must be completed for each Program Area for which the applicant is seeking funding including each Literacy Zone application.

The following steps will be taken in conducting the WIOA Title II AEFLA competition, given the full and timely cooperation of partner state agencies such as the State Division of the Budget and State Comptroller:

·         August 31, 2017: Approved dedicated plans for serving Title II populations with barriers to employment and priority career pathways for each of the 33 Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDB) are posted on DOL website to enable applicants to align their applications with local board priorities

·         December 27, 2017: NYSED issues the comprehensive RFP approved by the State Division of the Budget

·         January 10, 2018: Applicant questions due to NYSED

·         January 24, 2018: Q & A posted on NYSED website

·         February 7, 2018: Applicants submit proposal summaries aligned with the LWDB priorities

·         March 21, 2018: Each LWDB returns proposal summaries for alignment with priorities.  These summaries, including how the applicant responded to LWDB recommendations to strengthen alignment, are submitted to NYSED for rating with the April 4 applications.

·         April 4, 2018: All applications are due to NYSED

·         May 23, 2018: Review and final award recommendations by NYSED ACCES

·         May 29, 2018: Award recommendations approved by State Comptroller

·         June 2018: NYSED ACCES announces AEFLA grant and contract awards

·         July 1, 2018: AEFLA grant and contract providers being grant cycle, programming and funding.

The WIOA Title II-WEP RFP to award funds under WIOA sections 225 (Corrections Education), 211 (Grants and Contracts for Eligible providers), and 243 (Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education) will adhere to direct and equitable provisions for awarding WIOA Title II funds.

NYSED directly conducts the WIOA Title II competition and awards Section 231, 225 and 243 WIOA grants and contracts.  NYSED does not fund a sub-state entity to conduct the WIOA competition.

The same announcement, application, and process are used for all WIOA Title II-WEP Comprehensive RFP applicants.  All applications are treated in the same manner in terms of review and evaluation. Applications received for each competitive program of the RFP are independently reviewed by teams of two raters who are provided with the evaluation rubric and scoring criteria. Prior to rating, training is also provided to all reviewers on the evaluation rubric and scoring criteria.

In order to be considered for funding, proposals must receive a minimum score of seventy (70) points.

The applications will be reviewed and independently rated by two reviewers.  A third review will be performed if there is a difference of at least 15 points between the two scores.  In cases where a third review is necessary, the two closest scores in numeric value will be added and averaged to obtain the final average score.  If the third reviewer’s score is equal to the average of the two original scores, the third reviewer’s score will become the final score.

In the event of a tie score in Program Areas 1, 2, or 3, the higher Project Description score will be used as a tie breaker. In the event that the Project Description is a tie score, Performance Accountability will be used for the final score.  In the event of a tie score in Program Area 4, the higher Family Welcome Center will be used as a tie breaker.  In the event of a Family Welcome Center tie score, the higher Literacy Zone Approach will be used as a tie breaker. Proposed budgets will be reviewed and items deemed inappropriate, unallowable or inconsistent with project or program activities will be eliminated.  These revisions will result in a lower rating score on the budget section of the evaluation rubric.

If additional federal funds become available, NYSED will allocate those funds according to the specific funding streams (Section 225 Corrections Education:  Section 243 Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education; with the remaining funds allocated to Program Area 1 and Literacy Zones.  If additional state Welfare Education Program funds become available, they will be allocated to literacy zones at school districts or BOCES.  NYSED will first fund applicants that were partially funded and continue down the rank ordered scoring list of passing applications to fully fund those programs in each respective competition.  If funds remain after all eligible partially funded proposals have been awarded either a grant or grant contract, the remaining funds will be added to the amount available for distribution under the Program Area 4 Literacy Zone competition. 

The review process is fully described in the RFP found at:

All applications will meet the requirements set forth in Section 232 and eligibility for WIOA funding under the RFP will meet direct and equitable requirements.  Eligible providers for WIOA Title II funding will include organizations that have demonstrated effectiveness in provide adult education and literacy activities, and may include: a school district; Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES); a not-for-profit Community Based Organization (CBO) or faith based organization; a library or library system; a volunteer literacy organization; an institution of higher education, including a two- and four-year college, an Educational Opportunity Center, SUNY or CUNY Research Foundation; unions; a public housing authority; a nonprofit organization that has the ability to provide adult education and literacy instruction; a consortium or coalition of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries or authorities described above; and a partnership between an employer and one of the above entities where the non-profit is the fiscal agent.

In 2017-18, NYSED will continue support  major state leadership investments and adapt them to WIOA requirements.

1.       Seven Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) centers-RAEN centers will provide high quality professional development to improve the instruction provided pursuant to local activities required under section 231(b), including instruction incorporating the essential components of reading instruction; instruction related to the needs of adult learners; and dissemination about models and promising practices, including career pathways and bridge programs.

Each of the seven RAENs will work with ACCES-AEPP staff, the designated Title II provider on each local workforce board, and other funded programs in the local workforce area to ensure a constant and timely input on workforce development policy, and implementation and dissemination of information to funded Title II providers.

The RAEN centers are funded to be instrumental in the alignment of adult education and literacy activities with other core programs and one-stop partners, and support the development of career pathways to provide access to employment and training services for individuals in adult education and literacy activities.  In partnership with ACCES-AEPP regional staff and the NRS accountability specialist, the RAENS will provide the technical assistance to eligible providers of adult education and literacy activities receiving funds under Title II as outlined in Section 223 (C), and support the monitoring and evaluation of the quality and improvement in adult education and literacy activities and the dissemination of information about models and proven or promising practices in NYS as required by section 223 (D). 

2.       RAEN centers are funded to provide turn-key training to 5,500 adult education teachers on aligning adult education instruction with rigorous academic standards approved by the NYS Board of Regents through professional development provided through: CUNY developed Teacher Leader Institutes; the filming of effective college and career readiness/common core instructional modules based on the CUNY training; support for the peer review instructional process; and effective use of adult education teacher websites and Accountability Specialist – In June 2015, leadership funds were re-bid to support a full time national accountability specialist dedicated to help ACCES-AEPP develop and disseminate accountability and performance under WIOA.  Specifically, this initiative is to promote understanding of the federal accountability system as defined by WIOA legislation.  One of the major goals is to keep current with the United States Department of Education (USDOE) Office of Career Technology and Adult Education (OCTAE) guidance regarding accountability.

In 2017-18, the following deliverables will be developed and annually updated to reflect new state and federal guidance: NYS NRS Manual; interactive training workshops; train the trainer workshops; and monthly and annual reports based upon performance data entered in ASISTS.  In collaboration with the NYSED regional staff and the RAEN director, technical assistance will be provided to local adult education program practitioners to improve program performance in adult basic education, English language acquisition, and HSE preparation classes, including performance on NYS’s new HSE assessment, the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), as well as implement new performance requirements under WIOA.  This training and technical assistance will be directed to local adult education program administrators, professional development coordinators, data managers, and instructors across the state.  The purpose of the training sequence is to assist  local adult literacy program staff to set local performance standards; improve internal data monitoring and quality; improve data collection procedures; use data to improve instructional approaches; and support the transition in data collection and performance measurement from WIA to WIOA.

3.       ASISTS NRS Student Data and Reporting System: ASISTS is the state performance database system operated by the New York City Literacy Assistance Center (LAC).  Since WIOA accountability and reporting requirements were defined in final regulations and agreements reached for data reporting with NYSDOL, NYSED will work with the New York City LAC to change ASISTS to meet WIOA requirements.  It will still be used for state specific needs such as Employment Preparation Education state aid claims, corrective action, report cards, and diagnostic information for TASC.

4.       National External Diploma Program: The fourth leadership project is funding the National External Diploma Program (NEDP), a non-traditional experiential adult learning assessment program which serves as an alternative pathway to high school credentialing.

5.       Distance Learning: The fifth leadership project is a WIOA priority that supports strategies for technological improvements to facilitate access to, and improve the quality of, services and activities provided through the one-stop system.  This continues the licensing agreements between Kentucky Educational Television and NYS’s Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS).  These licensing agreements include distance learning programs across NYS.

Title III

WIOA Title III Wagner-Peyser funds are utilized by NYS to support employment services for unemployed job seekers and business customers in the New York Career Center System.  The Career Center System physically embodies the required coordination of core and local partner program services, as all programs are present at these locations across the state, and is operated under the concept of universal accessibility.  Title III funds support state staff, facilities, and information technology needed for partner program delivery at Career Centers and for improving the overall capacity of the workforce system to match labor demand with labor supply.  NYS directs these funds as necessary to best support the system and to most efficiently fulfill federal mandates.  PY2017 funding for NYS is $38,225,469, representing a $931,907 reduction from PY2014.

Title IV

The determination of how funds are distributed between the two vocational rehabilitation agencies in NYS has historically been made by governing state officials. The process and factors used to make this fiscal determination continue to be acceptable by both NYSED/ACCES-VR and OCFS/NYSCB.

WIOA Title IV VR Program funds received by OCFS/NYSCB are used to provide services to eligible individuals in accordance with an IPE.  Funds are also used to provide diagnostic services to assist in determining eligibility for services.  OCFS/NYSCB established three outcome-based contracts for the provision of these services: comprehensive services; vocational evaluation/job placement services; and assistive technology services.  Contractors provide agreed upon assessment and training services within a specific geographic area.  If an individual’s needs call for specialized services outside the scope of these three contracts, or where there is no service available in a geographic area, OCFS/NYSCB district offices purchase services from other providers.  In addition, OCFS/NYSCB district offices receive allocation to purchase other allowable services such as college training, medical evaluations, and low vision evaluations and devices.  Fifteen percent of Title I funds will be reserved to provide services to student with disabilities.  OCFS/NYSCB also receives Title VI, Part B funds for the provision of supported employment services for individuals who meet the definition of “most significantly disabled.”

NYSED/ACCES-VR uses Section 110 funds to provide WIOA Title IV VR services.  Fifteen percent of these funds will be devoted to pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities.  A combination of Title VI, Part B and Section 110 funds will be used to provide supported employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities.  Title VI, Part B funds typically represent less than 6% of the total funds NYSED/ACCES-VR uses for intensive supported employment services. 

NYSED/ACCES-VR maintains agreements with other agencies for ongoing coordination of the implementation of supported employment intensive and extended services.  NYSED/ACCES-VR is responsible for the provision of extended services to individuals who are not eligible for such services through other sources.  NYSED/ACCES-VR contracts with providers in a performance-based contracting system with payments being based on the attainment of specific milestones and outcomes for supported employment.  Program performance and costs are reviewed at least annually.  Service re-negotiations occur based on overall performance, including performance on projected outcomes agreed to by NYSED/ACCES-VR and the provider.

Trade Adjustment Assistance Program

Federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program benefits include funding for Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA), out-of-area job search, job relocation, and Trade-approved training.  In NYS, WIOA and Wagner-Peyser funded staff and services are functionally aligned within each of our local Career Center offices.  This allows services to be provided to TAA customers in a seamless and efficient manner.  Trade funded services can be layered on top of WIOA and Wagner-Peyser funded services already provided through the Career Center.  NYSDOL allocated sufficient resources to each LWDA to support outreach (including Rapid Response services), orientation, case management, job development, and follow-up services for dislocated workers eligible for TAA benefits.

Program Data

Alignment of Data

NYS recognizes that aligning and integrating workforce and education data is important in order to fulfill the goals of WIOA.  However, this is a difficult task that will take many resources and time to achieve.  To begin the process, NYS established a Data Integration Workgroup as a sub-workgroup to the Aligning Workforce Programs Subcommittee of the SWIB.  The workgroup meets regularly and has identified the primary steps to take to work towards alignment and integration.  The Title I, Title III, Trade Act, and Unemployment Insurance program data is already integrated in OSOS; therefore, NYS will focus on how to align and integrate with the Title II and Title IV programs.

The Data Integration Workgroup began by creating a gap analysis for WIOA compliance, evaluating the current systems, and reviewing the combined/join Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL) reporting requirements.  The core programs then worked with their respective vendors to update existing system to be compliant with WIOA data collection and reporting requirements.  However, this will be an ongoing process as the Federal departments have continued to update requirements and release additional policy.

The workgroup has identified some of the obstacles to overcome in the move towards alignment and integration.  These include, but are not limited to, awaiting guidance from the federal Departments regarding the level of integration; the specific data required; common enrollments and common exits; developing data sharing agreements and other legal hurdles; fiscal data integration; confidentiality of customer information; meeting NYS requirements and integration with other systems such as the Statewide Financial System (SFS) and NYESS; funding for alignment and integration, and funding for future maintenance and system modernization costs; and the different stages of each agency’s systems (for example, one agency is in the process of issuing an RFP for a new case management system).

In light of these obstacles, the Data Integration Workgroup determined that the most feasible level of integration would be to either purchase or internally develop a data warehouse.  The WIOA partners would load their program data into the warehouse at regular intervals and the warehouse could be used to integrate reporting across the core programs.  Achieving even this level of integration will present unique challenges, including developing methods for identifying and combining records for common participants without a common unique identifier.  The workgroup has begun viewing demonstrations from potential vendors as well as researching the solutions other states have implemented.  We believe that the Federal agencies understand that integrated reporting is a long-term goal as they have not provided a deadline for integrated reporting. 

NYS used quarterly UI wage records for performance accountability for Title I, Title III, and Trade Act programs under WIA, and will continue to do so under WIOA.  NYS is currently developing UI wage data sharing agreements with Title II and Title IV programs to align with Federal requirements.  The state follows confidentiality requirements for wage and education records as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, WIOA, and applicable Departmental regulations.

Going forward, NYS will continue to take advantage of grant funding made available for system alignment and integration, as well as opportunities for technical assistance from the Federal Departments.

Priority of Service for Veterans

NYSDOL has established a veterans’ priority of service policy for the use of self‐service resources and staff assisted services.  Priority of service means that veterans and eligible spouses are given priority over non-veterans for the receipt of employment, training, and placement services provided under a qualified job training program. A veteran or an eligible spouse either receives access to a service earlier in time than non-veterans or, if the resource is limited, the veteran or eligible spouse receives access to the service instead of or before the non-veteran.

When a veteran or eligible spouse undergoes eligibility determination for enrollment (i.e., in WIOA Adult programs), staff initiate verification of veteran or eligible spouse status.  At the point of eligibility determination and enrollment, if a veteran or eligible spouse does not have documentation verifying their eligibility for priority of service, they are afforded access on a priority basis to all services provided by program staff, including intensive services, while awaiting verification.

In order for priority of service to be implemented successfully, NYSDOL recognizes that veteran identification plays a pivotal role.  Career Center staff are trained to ask about veteran status at intake.  If an individual self‐identifies as a veteran or an eligible spouse at the Career Center, that individual is scheduled with the next available staff person

In addition, NYS has designed, published, and distributed appropriate signage to all local Career Centers and affiliate service sites throughout the state. Signage is placed prominently at or near the entrance to the Career Center.  The placement of additional signage is required; however, the location of this additional signage is at the discretion of the Career Center.  Centers are strongly advised to place the additional signage in strategic locations and high traffic areas throughout the center, such as resource rooms and common waiting areas.

In addition to NYSDOL’s website, all LWDAs are advised to ensure that their websites include language advising visitors of the veterans’ priority of service policy.  Language alerting users to veterans’ priority of service is also included in any self-registration processes.

All LWDAs must include the priority of service provision in their contract template, RFPs, and sub-agreement language.

NYSDOL performs on-site visits to Career Centers and reviews Quarterly Manager’s Report on Services to Veterans to monitor priority of service.  NYSDOL policy was established to ensure Career Center professional staff is proficient in accurately recording veteran status in the OSOS case management system.  If a veteran customer enters through a partner organization serving veterans, that organization can utilize OSOS to support priority of service to their Veteran customer base.


The U.S. Secretary of Labor, through the Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training, has identified certain categories of veterans most in need of intensive services to mitigate their barriers to employment. Veterans with significant barriers to employment (SBE) and veterans between 18-24 years of age remain the highest priority. Within these categories, certain populations of veterans must be targeted for service:

·         Special disabled or disabled veterans;

·         Homeless veterans;

·         Veterans who are 18-24 years of age;

·         A recently-separated service member who at any point in the previous 12 months has been unemployed for 27 or more consecutive weeks;

·         A formerly incarcerated individual who was released from incarceration within the last 12 months;

·         Veterans lacking a high school diploma or high school equivalent certificate; and

·         Low-income veterans.

NYSDOL will provide immediate services to veterans who attest to belonging to one or more of the six criteria listed above.

Regardless of the service delivery program under which the veteran customer is served, Career Center staff complete the Military Service Questionnaire (MSQ) with every customer who identifies himself/herself as a veteran or eligible spouse.  The MSQ is used to determine if the veteran customer has a Significant Barrier to Employment (SBE) and is eligible to meet with a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist.  Customers are informed that the information is being requested on a voluntary basis; that it will be kept confidential; that refusal to provide it will not subject them to any adverse treatment; and that it will be used only in accordance with law.


Veteran customers collecting UI benefits, who are not work search exempt, are scheduled to attend individual appointments for reemployment services at the Career Center.  In Career Centers that have DVOP specialist coverage, and when characteristic information is available in OSOS indicating the veteran customer is DVOP eligible, the veteran customer is scheduled first from the UI weekly download to meet with the DVOP specialist to receive services.


When a veteran being served under another service delivery model is assessed as DVOP eligible, staff refers the Veteran to the DVOP specialist, if that office has DVOP coverage.  If the veteran is determined ineligible for DVOP services, or a Career Center does not have an available DVOP specialist, the veteran continues receiving one-on-one services from Career Center staff.


For walk-in Veteran customers not collecting UI, Career Center staff use the MSQ to determine DVOP specialist eligibility.  Veterans eligible for DVOP services are referred to the DVOP specialist, if that office has DVOP coverage.  If the veteran is determined ineligible for DVOP services, or a Career Center DVOP specialist is not available, the veteran receives one-on-one services from Career Center staff.


Workforce Development System Technical Advisory (TA) Effective Use of Initial Assessment in the Career Center System requires that all Career Center customers, including veterans with SBE, be provided with an Initial Assessment. The Initial Assessment process first identifies any individual barriers to employment.  If barriers exist, the customer is determined to need Career Development Services (CDS).  If no barriers exist, the customer’s employment goal is evaluated.  If the knowledge, skills, and abilities are deficient to meet the customer’s employment goal or if the employment goal does not suit the local labor market, the customer is identified as needing CDS.

The comprehensive assessment can include an in-depth, formal, structured interview with the veteran. Tools such as Job Zone’s Interest Inventory, Ability Profiler or Skills Profiler may also be used to help the veteran determine employment goals. Once the local labor market has been reviewed and an employment goal is determined, an individual employment plan will be developed. The plan will include a long-term goal, a short-term goal (if appropriate) and steps to meet the goals. Referral to supportive services (including needs related payments) may be necessary to assist the veteran in overcoming barriers or to utilize veteran benefits to further their education/careers. If a DVOP Specialist is not available, other Career Center staff members will provide priority of service to these veterans.

For additional details on priority of service to veterans, view the NYS Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) State Plan, available at

Special Populations and Accessibility

Employment First

Through the Employment First policy, NYS seeks to build on important economic development investments to ensure that individuals with disabilities equally benefit from the improving economy and have sustained opportunities to engage in the competitive labor market.  Specifically, NYS aims to increase the employment rate of individuals with disabilities by 5%; decrease the poverty rate of individuals with disabilities by a comparable 5%; and engage 100 businesses in adopting policies and practices that support the integrated employment of individuals with disabilities.  The driving force behind this initiative is the principle that everyone has the right to work.

The Employment First policy commission has made the following recommendations:

1.       Cultural Modeling: NYS agencies can model the integrated employment of individuals with disabilities.  Whether through enhancements to the governor’s programs to hire persons/veterans with disabilities (sections 55-b and -c of NYS Civil Service Law), or through community-based organizations directly hiring individuals, a strong culture of employment first must be established.

2.       Energizing the “Demand-Side” of the Equation: Redesign and reinvigorate the New York Business Leadership Network to pursue the aggressive goal of engaging 100 business partners.  A business first platform can be established through promoting existing financial incentives, supporting businesses to pursue federal contracts, and harnessing the power of NYS’s regional economic development efforts.

3.       New York Employment Services System (NYESS): The NYESS system has already distinguished NYS as the leader in moving individuals with disabilities into the world of employment as the largest Social Security Administration Ticket to Work (TTW) network in the nation.  Ensuring the full adoption of the system across community providers and state agencies will utilize the power of NYS’s integrated employment case management system to comprehensively monitor and support employment outcomes in NYS.

4.       Benefits Advisement: Benefits systems are complex and only limited resources are available to help individuals accurately understand eligibility requirements and the impact of employment on benefits.  NYS can utilize emerging tools like Disability Benefits 101 (DB101) and a network of “life coaches” to expand benefits advisement.

5.       Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities (MBI-WPD): NYS can integrate the MBI-WPD program into the online NYS of Health application portal, automating and standardizing eligibility determinations and referring applicants who require additional assistance.

6.       Transportation: Transportation to work is a key element for employment success.  A cross-agency taskforce can examine barriers to integrated transportation; identify potential solutions, such as a rural transportation tax credit; and build on initiatives like the proposed mobility transportation project.

7.       Education: NYS will continue to support schools in embracing approaches that increase the integration of students in their communities.  The Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant will guide ongoing policy and practice around early employment supports for individuals with disabilities and offer coaching for their families.  Options for local school districts include implementation of a “school of choice” for students, and revisiting the array of available credentials/diplomas.  Local school districts should be supported with best practices that give them the ability to place a greater emphasis on career planning and counseling for all students, resulting in better long-term outcomes.

8.       Creating an Employment First Service Culture: Training is recommended for direct support professionals, with an emphasis on the skills needed to deliver employment support services focused on achieving individualized goals.

9.       Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship: Expanding upon the NYS Education Department’s Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (NYSED/ACCES-VR) model of engaging NYS entrepreneurial assistance programs and/or small business development centers will facilitate the development of small businesses operated by individuals with disabilities.

10.   Expanded Access to Assistive Technology: Increasing access to assistive technologies through a strategic partnership with the Office for Children and Family Services (OTDA), NYSED/ACCES-VR, and the Justice Center administered Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID), the inventory of employment-related devices can be expanded and training increased on the use of such devices.

11.   Outcome Measures: Progress toward these goals can be measured using NYESS to compare Medicaid data to NYS wage data, enabling the detection of changes in the employment and poverty rates.  Timeframes associated with attainment of these rigorous goals should be established in conjunction with a strategy for implementation.  An independent academic body should be engaged to review the ongoing progress toward attainment of the projected goals.

While NYS has made significant progress in developing an Employment First framework, through a variety of collaborations across federal, state, private, and public partners, NYS’s full potential has yet to be realized.  The Employment First Commission believes that NYS can accomplish the goals of Employment First by engaging in a statewide comprehensive, cross-disability, cross-sector approach to removing employment barriers and by establishing clear policies to promote the hiring of individuals with disabilities.  The commission believes that the recommendations, when adopted, will prove to be the catalyst for realizing the Employment First vision in NYS.

Special Populations

Individuals in special populations are those who have barriers to employment.  WIOA defines individuals with barriers to employment as a member of one or more of the following populations: displaced homemakers, low income individuals, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, older individuals, ex-offenders, homeless individuals or homeless youth, youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system, individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, individuals facing substantial cultural barriers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFWs), individuals within two years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (TANF), and single parents (including single pregnant women).

NYS supports the implementation of universal access to programs and activities to all individuals, including those with barriers to employment, through reasonable recruitment targeting, outreach efforts, assessments, services delivery, partnership development, and numeric goals.

Specially trained staff are stationed at various Career Center locations to serve individuals who identify as having a barrier to employment.  For example, DVOP specialists and Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVERs) are trained to assist Veterans; DRCs are trained to assist individuals with disabilities; and Offender Employment Specialists are trained to assist ex-offenders.  In addition, central office staff provides periodic webinars and/or technical assistance conference calls to engage all Career Center staff on topics around serving customers with barriers to employment.

Case management of customers with barriers to employment is further enhanced by the availability of NYESS.  NYESS (implemented in December 2011) currently provides system access to the following seven state agencies and their network of service providers: OMH; NYSDOL; OPWDD; NYSED/ACCES-VR; OCFS/NYSCB; OASAS; and NYS Office for the Aging. 

NYS continues to be at the forefront in providing services to individuals with disabilities with the implementation of NYESS and the opportunities the system allows.  For example, in February 2012, the federal Social Security Administration announced that NYESS ( was designated as the first statewide Administrative Employment Network (AEN) in the United States.  An Employment Network (EN) is an entity that enters into an agreement with the SSA to either provide or coordinate the delivery of services to Social Security disability beneficiaries through the Ticket to Work program (  The statewide AEN designation allows SSA the ability to collaborate directly with NYS to document employment outcomes for Ticket holders, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the Ticket-To-Work program.  As a statewide AEN, NYESS creates a network of EN providers working with multiple state agencies using a single, real-time employment data/case management system.  This statewide effort generates thousands of dollars in incentive payments that are reinvested in expanded job supports for individuals with disabilities.


Accessibility is an important component within the public workforce system.  NYS assures that all partners in the workforce development system described in this plan recognize the importance of the physical, programmatic, and communications accessibility of facilities, programs, services, technology, and materials for individuals with disabilities and English language learners in the Career Centers.

Under WIA, NYSDOL’s Methods of Administration outlined the policies, procedures, and systems NYS designed and put in place in order to provide a reasonable guarantee that NYS and its recipients of Title I WIA funds complied with the Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity requirements of WIA Section 188 and its implementing regulations.  It is still available online at  The guidance is currently being revised to reflect new WIOA regulations, and will now be known as the Non-Discrimination Plan (NDP).

Additionally, NYSDOL will revise a Technical Advisory (TA) on the topic of “Accessibility of One-Stop Systems to Individuals with Disabilities.”  The TA on this topic, released under WIA on May 16, 2000, will be revised to reflect new accessibility regulations under WIOA. 

In 2011, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 26, requiring all state agencies to provide language assistance services to individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), including interpretation and translation.  Agency staff is required to complete language access training each year, and posters are featured in each Career Center to notify customers of the availability of language assistance services. 

Technical Advisory #17-2, on the topic of “Language Interpretation Services Available at Career Centers,” requires certain actions to be taken to ensure LEP individuals receive the language assistance necessary to afford them meaningful access to all programs, services, and information within the Career Center system free of charge.  Career Centers receive instructions on how to access and utilize the vendors to provide interpreting services when needed.  The following services are available to Career Center customers:

·         Over the phone interpreters;

·         Consecutive Interpreters (in-person oral interpretation and/or written translation); and

·         Sign language interpreters. 

Career Center staff can also utilize available bilingual staff and “language banks” of volunteers who are fluent and able to interpret/translate in other languages.

A Language Access Plan was also developed by NYSDOL and a Language Access Coordinator was identified to oversee the plan.  Based on U.S. Census data, NYSDOL chose to translate all vital documents into the six most common non-English languages spoken in NYS.  These languages are Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Korean, and Italian.  Based on experience or other federal requirements, the agency may choose to translate vital documents into other languages as well.  Determination of what documents are considered vital is based on the Language Assistance Guide issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.  Vital written documents include, but are not limited to, consent and complaint forms; intake and application forms with the potential for important consequences; written notices of rights; notices of denials, losses, or decreases in benefits or services; notices of disciplinary action; signs; and notices advising LEP individuals of free language assistance services.

For customers utilizing online resources at the NYSDOL’s website, all accessibility-related issues are addressed at the following link:

Program-Specific Requirements

Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth Activities

Regions and Local Areas

NYS’s 33 local areas were designated during the transition from the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) to WIA in accordance with the parameters outlined in the statute.  These original local area designations remain intact under WIOA and are provided below within the ten NYS Regions.  Designation of the local areas took into account consistency with labor market areas and regional economic areas in NYS, and the availability of Federal and non-Federal resources necessary to administer workforce development activities, including appropriate education and training providers. The 33 local areas are:

Capital Region:

·         Albany/Schenectady/Rensselaer

·         Columbia/Greene

·         Saratoga/Warren/Washington

Central Region:

·         Cayuga/Cortland

·         Onondaga

·         Oswego

Finger Lakes Region:

·         Genesee/Livingston/Orleans/Wyoming

·         Monroe

·         Ontario/Seneca/Wayne/Yates

Long Island Region:

·         Hempstead/Long Beach

·         Oyster Bay/North Hempstead/Glen Cove

·         Suffolk

Mid-Hudson Region:

·         Dutchess

·         Orange

·         Rockland

·         Sullivan

·         Ulster

·         Westchester/Putnam

·         Yonkers

Mohawk Valley Region:

·         Fulton/Montgomery/Schoharie

·         Herkimer/Madison/Oneida

New York City Region:

·         New York City

North Country Region:

·         Clinton/Essex/Franklin/Hamilton

·         Jefferson/Lewis

·         St. Lawrence

Southern Tier Region:

·         Broome/Tioga

·         Chemung/Schuyler/Steuben

·         Chenango/Delaware/Otsego

·         Tompkins

Western Region:

·         Allegany/Cattaraugus

·         Chautauqua

·         Erie

·         Niagara

Local Area Designation

On April 14, 2014, a Technical Advisory was released to notify local areas that WIOA requires LWDAs to be designated by the Governor in order to receive federal funding allotments.  On behalf of the Governor, NYSDOL accepted requests from LWDB Directors for LWDA initial designation

Local designation requests were received from each of the existing 33 LWDAs, reviewed, verified, and organized by NYSDOL staff and approved on behalf of the Governor. 

NYS received no appeals of the original local area designations, and has received no requests for re-designations.

Statewide Activities

A portion of the Title I funding stream supports staff administration and systems maintenance, but also allows for a limited amount of funding for statewide initiatives at the Governor’s discretion.  As this allocation has been minimal in recent years, there has been little funding available to support creative and innovative workforce development initiatives.  In NYS, this funding is primarily used in support of a strong regional sector strategy approach.  One example is the support of the annual Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) process, for which funds have been set aside over the past six years to support work-based training proposals recommended by the Councils.  These training proposals directly support NYS’s economic investments, and reflect the workforce priorities of the state and the regions.  In addition to initiatives like this, the Governor uses this funding stream to incentivize proven workforce strategies and reward best practices.  Since WIOA now requires a regional planning process, NYSDOL has proposed the use of these funds to incentivize regional planning by rewarding LWDAs in regions that succeed in reaching collaborative workforce goals. 

Rapid Response

In NYS, Rapid Response has a team presence throughout the ten regions for intensive job placement services.  Each Rapid Response team is attached to Business Engagement and remains the responsibility of the region’s Associate Business Services Representative.  The team conducts onsite customized service orientations for affected workers, covering topics such as securing OSOS registration information, reemployment services; state public healthcare enrollment options; and when appropriate, an overview of Trade Act benefits that includes the Trade Adjustment Assistance individual eligibility process.  Both the business and affected workers are coded in OSOS with a specific Rapid Response or Expeditious Response Event Number for intensive reemployment service tracking. 

Rapid Response makes a concerted effort to begin reemployment services before layoffs occur.  The Regional Rapid Response Coordinator (RRRC) crafts each service plan by involving the business, labor union (if attached), local NYSDOL management, and WIOA partners, in addition to providing account updates that also include the Statewide Rapid Response Coordinator, Statewide Trade Act Coordinator and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Unit.


Onsite information and service include, but are not limited to:

·         Customized service orientation involving a slideshow or alternate use of an abbreviated service orientation leading into immediate one-on-one service;

·         Use of testimonials (business and job seeker) for encouraging new customer engagement;

·         Information on pertinent expanding industries (where the job openings are) and a Jobs Express regional screenshot (e.g., vacant positions by industry and companies with the most job openings);

·         Initial assessment;

·         Development of a skills-based resume (template for consistency) and customizing for specific job openings;

·         Sending interim job leads (template for consistency) that includes discussion with Business Services for maximum efficacy;

·         Employment referrals;

·         Customized career fairs;

·         Local training funds and Trade Act information when a petition is certified for classroom training or OTJ; and

·         When necessary, requesting use of Revised (July 1, 2010) Procedure for Requesting Discretionary WIA Dislocated Worker Funds for the Provision of Services to Dislocated Workers due to Substantial Layoffs or Plant Closings.

Rapid Response teams (including supervisory staff) maintain and case-manage job seeker caseloads with a goal of five meaningful service contacts daily.  In addition, each staff person has a goal of meaningful discussions with three businesses daily for job seeker advocacy; layoff aversion (promoting Shared Work consideration); and uncovering Business Service needs.  Also, Rapid Response aggressively pursues media Red Flags for generating Expeditious Response leads or even anticipating service before a WARN notice is submitted.  Note that the Trade Act Assistance section later in this document for additional information on the coordination between the two programs.

Natural Disaster Preparedness

The NYS Department of Labor can deliver the following to assist with Natural Disaster Preparedness: 

·         Disaster National Emergency Grant (NEG);

·         Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); and

·         Mobile Disaster Worker Response Team.

Disaster DWG:

Disaster DWG funds are available to assist with clean-up and other activities under three circumstances:

·         The FEMA Disaster Declaration for NYS includes the availability of public assistance funding for the affected counties;

·         Federal agency declarations, other than FEMA.  Federal declarations from the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration are examples of eligible federal declarations; or

·         Relocation of large group.  Circumstances where a substantial number of individuals, defined as 50 or more, relocate to another area from a disaster area.

Eligible Applicants

All Disaster DWG applications must be submitted by the state agency or outlying area designated by the Governor to receive WIOA Dislocated Worker formula funds or by an organization eligible for funding through the Native American Programs (WIOA Section 166(c)). 

Participants must be determined eligible as defined in WIOA Sec. 170(d)(2). The following eligibility requirements apply to the following individuals residing within the declared disaster area, or who are forced to relocate due to the disaster or emergency event:

·         Individuals who are temporarily or permanently laid off as a consequence of the disaster;

·         Other eligible dislocated workers as defined in WIOA Section 3(15);

·         Long-term unemployed workers, as defined by the state; and

·         Self-employed individuals who become unemployed or significantly underemployed as a result of the emergency or disaster. Outreach efforts should emphasize workers who lost employment as a result of the disaster. Veterans' preference applies within these eligible groups.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance:

·         DUA provides UI benefits to individuals who are dislocated (unemployed) due to natural disaster.

·         The FEMA Disaster Declaration for NYS will support justification for implementing DUA. 

·         NYSDOL’s Telephone Claims Center (NYSDOL/TCC) staff are refreshed on DUA procedures so that they may assist customers calling the center who have questions related to filing for benefits.

·         Given the seven (7) day waiting period for original claim filing, the availability of DUA aligns with claims currently filed as a result of the disaster.

Mobile Disaster Worker Response Team:

·         Career Center staff, Business Services staff, and Rapid Response staff form Mobile Disaster Worker Response Teams. 

·         The Mobile Disaster Worker Response Teams visit community locations in significantly impacted areas (i.e., shelters, libraries, schools, etc.) to assist businesses and impacted individuals, and to provide on-the-ground information and support regarding state-level efforts.

·         Staff does the following for impacted businesses and individuals:

o   Register them in OSOS to facilitate eligibility for program services;

o   Connect impacted workers with appropriate employment opportunities through the Disaster NEG;

o   Assist impacted workers to apply for DUA benefits; and

o   Post links and emergency phone numbers where businesses and workers can contact NYSDOL for services (this includes using the NYSDOL/TCC as the point of contact for all incoming telephone calls).

Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs


Dislocated workers and unemployed individuals are encouraged to apply for apprenticeship opportunities through various job fairs and Career Centers.  Many Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors recruit publicly through their local Career Centers for new apprentices.  Sponsors that elect to conduct area-wide recruitments are required to submit their recruitment information to NYSDOL, which is then distributed to local media, posted on the Department’s webpage, and listed in the NYS Job Bank. 

Training Provider Eligibility

Potential providers access an online application via the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) website (  Providers fill out an in-depth electronic application and submit it.  The application collects the following information on the provider:  name, training school name (if different), Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), address, website, and administrative and admissions contact information. If the provider is licensed, the provider will need to upload a copy of their license.  For each training course, the provider will need to provide course information including the course title and skill level, course description, and course curriculum.  The provider must also provide the tuition cost, and any other required or additional costs (i.e., books, lab fees, uniforms, tools, etc.). The completed application is forwarded to the appropriate LWDB, based on location, for review and approval.  For approval, the LWDBs review against cost, performance (based on performance measures identified in WIOA) and legal matters, (i.e. is the provider licensed to operate in NYS, etc.).  All of this information is captured on the ETPL during the application process.  Note that while the state maintains the ETPL, it is the LWDBs that actually populate it through approvals of training providers and courses in their LWDA.  LWDBs also determine if the training is eligible for funding.

For continued eligibility, the ETPL has a functionality built in to ask providers for updated information on a yearly basis.  Once submitted, the LWDBs will be asked to review the new data and reapprove.  If nothing is submitted, the providers are automatically removed from the list.

Priority of Service for Special Populations

The core program partners will work together to implement and monitor priority of service for individuals with barriers to employment, public assistance recipients, other low-income individuals, and individuals who are basic skills deficient.  Technical assistance is being developed around this topic and disseminated to the Career Center System.

Local Transfer of Funds between Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs

NYS’s criteria regarding local transfer of funds between Adult and DW programs is shared with the local areas annually in a NYSDOL Technical Advisory entitled “Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act (WIOA) Title 1B Adult and Dislocated Worker Transfer Requests and Administration to Program Funds Transfer Requests.”  No funds may be transferred to or from the Youth Program.

Current guidelines for transferring funds are as follows:

1. All transfer requests must be received by NYSDOL no later than June 30 of the program year of the allocation of local funds.

2. Funds retain their year of appropriation identity and must be tracked, accounted for and reported as follows:

·         Transfers between Adult and Dislocated Worker funds will be reported on the Monthly Accrued Expenditure Report separately in a section identified expressly for expenditures associated with the transfer.

·         Administration funds transferred to the originating program funds will be reported as part of the originating program.

·         When transferring funds from administration back to the originating program funds, no more than the original ten percent (10%) designated as Administration can be returned to a program. For example, if $100,000 were awarded as Adult funds and this allocation was split on the NOA between Adult ($90,000) and Administration ($10,000), the maximum transfer that could be made between Administration and Adult funds would be $10,000.

National Emergency Grants:

Sector Partnerships National Emergency Grant (SP-NEG):

On June 25, 2015, NYS was awarded a $7 million Sector Partnerships NEG (SP-NEG) by USDOL.  NYSDOL plans to use the majority of the awarded funds to administer enhanced career services and work-based training programs serving the long-term unemployed.  Funding will support work-based training in the form of OJT, Incumbent Worker Training, transitional employment opportunities, and trainings customized to the specific needs of businesses in high-demand sectors.

Up to $500,000 of funding awarded will be utilized on regional planning initiatives that develop new, or strengthen existing, sector partnerships.  Information provided by the REDCs identified Advanced Manufacturing as a significant industry in all regions.  As such, funds will be allocated to support a state level partnership development in Advanced Manufacturing.  Funds will also be available for partnership development activities in regionally significant industry sectors.

NYSDOL uses a number of online employment tools to support better skills measurement and job matching.  These tools are made available to the customer through the JobZone self-service interface of OSOS.  The integrated suite of tools will be upgraded to improve their availability and accuracy for use with SP-NEG participants.  Upgrades will include refinement of the Your Employability Score (YES) tool.  Funds will also support the upgrade and enhanced integration of the Burning Glass Focus Suite (BGFS) of skills-based match and referral tools into the JobZone/OSOS system.

Future Initiatives:

HOME2 Request for Proposals (RFP)

The Help Obtaining Meaningful Employment and Education (HOME2) RFP was released on July 17, 2015.  In September 2015, HOME2 will award up to $500,000 in WIOA funding to a service provider based in New York City that assists homeless, primarily Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or Queer (LGBTQ), transitioning-aged young adults (between 18-24 years of age) who are out of school and unemployed, with gaining meaningful employment that leads to a self-sufficient and independent lifestyle.  NYSDOL renewed the contract starting January 1, 2017 for a year. NYSDOL may renew the contract on an annual basis for an amount up to the year-one award, and for up to three additional years depending on contractor performance, the availability of funds, and the approval of the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC).

Governor Cuomo Initiative for Re-Entry of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

In September of 2015, 12 recommendations to remove barriers faced by formerly incarcerated New Yorkers were made by Governor Cuomo’s appointed “Council on Community Re-entry and Reintegration”.  The recommendations addressed employment, housing, and healthcare.  Governor Cuomo approved all 12 recommendations.  Five of the recommendations directly address employment for those re-entering the workforce:

·          Streamline the application process for Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct;

·          Amend 10 NYS licensing and employment regulations;

·         Set uniform guidelines that evaluate qualified applicants for state occupational licenses;

·         Launch job search efforts for the formerly incarcerated aided by new technology donated by the job search technology company Apploi; and

·         Adopt Fair Chance Hiring for all NYS Agencies.

The last recommendation will allow for greater consideration for positions within the state. Fair Chance Hiring will remove the requirement that applicants for competitive positions within state agencies, disclose information on prior convictions until and unless the agency interviews the candidate and is interested in hiring him or her for a specific position.

In 2017, NYSDOL’s Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions (NYSDOL/DEWS) sent staff in the Albany Central Office to a curriculum developed by the National Institute of Corrections and facilitated by staff at the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), to obtain Offender Workforce Development Specialist certification. This will allow central office staff to be of more value to Career Center Workforce staff and partner with DCJS in future projects and initiatives. NYSDOL/DEWS staff is also recognized as a partner with the Albany and Rensselaer Re-entry task forces, which are comprised of community partners providing service to the formerly incarcerated.

Youth Programs

NYSDOL’s Program Development Office is responsible for oversight and coordination of the WIOA youth programs and serves as a single point of contact on youth issues and for other youth-serving state agencies (i.e., NYSED, OCFS, and OTDA), as well as the core partner programs, in support of youth initiatives statewide.  Through the dual lens of career and youth development, the NYSDOL Program Development Office seeks to provide policy guidance; offer professional development opportunities; develop curriculum and tools; and identify best practices from the state, nation, and the globe.  The ultimate goal is to help position youth for a successful transition to adulthood and to help them make decisions regarding career/college/training opportunities.

LWDAs develop comprehensive strategic plans for youth services for those activities required under WIOA.  Local areas provide year-round comprehensive youth programs to eligible youth that include the provision of the youth program design framework activities as well as the 14 required program elements.  These services are provided to both in-school and out-of-school youth. Some local areas serve only out-of-school youth and appropriately refer the in-school youth.

Consistent with the strategic visions and goals advanced in the Combined Plan, NYS is committed to enhancing program alignment and service delivery.  NYS has established an Interagency Work Group to analyze service delivery strategies and identify opportunities for improvement across all participant populations including Out-of-School Youth (OSY).  NYS seeks to expand the Integrated Resource Team (IRT) model to OSY without regard to their disability status and provide the same level of service integration demonstrated in our multiple Disability Employment Initiative.  The WIOA expanded maximum age (up to age 24) of OSY and the increased flexibility in the provision of Youth services found in the Final Regulations increases the opportunity to serve OSY in a Career Center environment and more fully engage the required and optional partners found therein.  NYS believes that combining the system level intervention of the Interagency Work Group with the customer level coordination of services provided through IRTs creates an optimal service environment for OSY that will lead to improved outcomes.

LWDBs have the option to provide service elements through their staff and/or a network of competitively procured youth providers across the State’s 33 local areas.  The specific services vary by local area.  This local control is essential in a state as large and diverse as NYS, providing the program flexibility that a statewide program model would not.

The NYSDOL Program Development Office coordinates and supports youth activities across the state through many strategies including technical assistance; local area data monitoring; bi-monthly conference calls and webinars; and outreach.

The need for local flexibility carries over to the development of criteria/policy for youth requiring additional assistance.  Local areas are required to develop policies that reflect the specific needs of their economy and youth, and document the policies within the local plans. Technical assistance has been provided to the locals explaining the calculation of the 5% limit for qualifying in-school youth under this criterion, and the need for the policy criteria to be both objective and quantifiable for monitoring and reporting purposes. 

Technical assistance is shared with local areas, state agencies, and those Community Based Organizations serving youth to ensure that all WIOA required program elements are made available to in- and out-of-school youth across the State and that they are effectively implemented. Assistance includes webinars and bi-monthly Youth Issues calls to disseminate workforce information pertaining to youth.  In addition, the NYSDOL Program Development Office will remain proactive and provide technical assistance s to programs needing assistance with WIOA Youth primary indicators of performance to ensure youth receive the highest quality of service;

Local area data is monitored and customized technical assistance is offered as needed.  New Youth Management Reports are being developed for local areas to access information more easily from OSOS; assist them in monitoring performance of local youth contractors; and help support programming to help youth succeed.

Bi-monthly youth calls and webinars are offered to the system and will continue to be offered to assist practitioners in the topic areas below:

·         Supporting youth with multiple barriers to employment;

·         NYS Youth data tools to manage WIOA program;

·         Incorporating activities to build youth resiliency and self-efficacy;

·         Critical elements and policies of a WIOA youth program;

·         Business engagement for work experiences;

·         Implementing new WIOA service elements;

·         Learning about WIOA indicators of performance; and

·         Understanding WIOA youth program eligibility criteria.

In addition to engaging partners in the 33 LWDAs, NYSDOL seeks to engage the NYS Job Corps centers in LWDB activities and coordinating career planning strategies for youth involved in Job Corps and WIOA programs.  In the coming years, the NYSDOL Program Development Office will increase outreach to Job Corps staff and ensure that Job Corps information is shared in bi-monthly youth calls and technical assistance webinars.  Job Corps staff will have the opportunity to join a LinkedIn youth practitioners group currently under development.

In order to prepare youth for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations of the 21st century, and to meet the demands of business, especially in high-growth industries of the knowledge economy, NYSDOL’s Program Development Office will continue to update and develop the following tools and resources:

·         CareerZone (, NYSDOL’s online career exploration and planning tool for youth.  CareerZone is made freely available to the local areas to help youth assess their interests, work values, and skills, and match these to potential careers. Training and college information is linked to each career area and tools such as a state career plan model, resume builder, and budgeting tool help youth make informed career decisions.

·         CareerZone/JobZone (, NYSDOL’s online career planning tool for adults, and the self-service customer interface for OSOS.  Coordinated by the Program Development Office, WIOA youth programs across New York State started to integrate CareerZone into their program design and required the use of CareerZone in their grant contract RFPs.  Similarly, JobZone was adopted in the Career Centers to reduce the OSOS data entry demands on staff and facilitate the staff-assisted assignment of online resources to customers. Enhancements to CareerZone and JobZone will continue into 2017-18.

·         The Program Development Office will continue work with NYSED to support the implementation of the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Learning Standards; support the provision of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming; and to increase awareness of the CDOS Commencement Credential and the Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential.  Additionally, training will be developed for the NYSED Transition Coordinators to provide technical assistance on CareerZone to educators across the State.

This includes continued work and updating of resources to support the CareerZone User’s Guide for Educators, supporting the use of CareerZone and JobZone in the NYSED Literacy Zone program, and the incorporation of CareerZone into the local school districts.

·         Provide technical assistance to local areas, state agencies, and those community based organizations serving youth through continual communication and bi-monthly Youth Issues calls to disseminate workforce information pertaining to youth.  This will help to reinforce the effective youth program implementation, including all 14 required program elements.  In addition, the Program Development Office will remain proactive and provide technical assistance webinars to programs needing assistance with WIOA Youth primary indicators of performance to ensure youth receive the highest quality of service.

·         NYSDOL’s Youth Portal (, built around the theme of “Dream It, Plan it, Make it Happen.”  Resources were identified for youth ages 14-17 and 18-24, as well as for parents.  Additional pages for educators, workforce professionals, and business are under development.

Professionals working with youth will use these tools to support the implementation of WIOA youth programs that meet the needs of individual and cultural differences, support the development of youth-centered plans, and embody a youth development approach.  To support this goal, the following materials are under continual development by NYSDOL’s Program Development Office:

·         CareerZone User’s Guide, updated in 2016, to highlight the recent updates and changes to this NYSDOL career exploration and planning system; and

·         OSOS Youth Guides, developed and updated with resources for new and experienced staff to better understand the basic elements of WIOA youth programming and how to keep track of data and use it to enhance programs.

Attending and Not Attending School

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) defines school as one of the following:

·         A secondary school, registered by NYSED, including but not limited to, public, private, charter and religious schools;

·         A home-schooled youth who is registered with the local school district;

·         High school equivalency and dropout re-engagement programs funded by the public K-12 school system; and

·         Post-secondary institutions where the youth is enrolled in credit bearing courses. Youth who are enrolled in vocational or occupational programs through post-secondary institutions are considered undergraduates and as attending school.

Youth attending Adult Education Programs under WIOA Title II, YouthBuild Programs, Job Corps Programs, and high school equivalency programs and dropout re-engagement programs not funded by the public K-12 school are considered not attending school under WIOA.

The assessment of ISY for WIOA is based on the definition of “attending school” in State Law. NYSED defines P-12 education attendance as:

·         In each school district of the State, each minor from six to sixteen years of age shall attend upon full time instruction. Some school districts mandate the compulsory age of school attendance through age 17. 

·         Each minor from six to sixteen years of age on an Indian reservation shall attend upon full time day instruction.

·         A minor who becomes six years of age on or before the first of December in any school year shall be required to attend upon full time instruction from the first day that the appropriate public schools are in session in September of such school year, and a minor who becomes six years of age after the first of December in any school year shall be required to attend upon full time instruction from the first day of session in the following September; and, except as otherwise provided, shall be required to remain in attendance until the last day of session in the school year in which the minor becomes sixteen years of age.

·         Enrolled or attending school full or part-time, or the student is between school terms and enrolled to return to school.

A youth is considered not attending school if he or she has not attended for at least the most recent school year calendar quarter, which is 45 days.

Basic Skills Deficiency

NYSDOL accepts the definition of “basic skills deficient” provided in WIOA referring to an individual:

·         Who is a youth, that has English reading, writing, or computing skills at or below the 8th grade level on a generally accepted standardized test; or

·         Who is a youth or an adult, who is unable to compute or solve problems, or read, write, or speak English, at a level necessary to function on the job, in the individual’s family, or in society.

The local areas will develop a policy on the second part of the basic skills deficiency definition, in the local plans. They will note what valid, and appropriate formal or less-formal assessment(s) will be administered to show that the individual is unable to compute or solve problems, or read, write, or speak English at a level necessary to function on the job, in the individual’s family or in the society.   


Adult Education and Academic Standards

At the September 2012 ACCES Committee meeting, the NYS Board of Regents adopted the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) issued by OCTAE as the state academic standards for adult education in NYS.  As part of this process, the Committee asked ACCES-AEPP to issue an RFP for a new HSE test that would be aligned over three years to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and CCRS identified by OCTAE; provide multiple pathways to a HSE Diploma; and transition the adult education system to Common Core and Career/College Readiness by 2017.

In September 2012, NYSED issued the first RFP in the country to procure a new HSE test.  The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill (now Data Recognition Corporation) was selected as the HSE test for NYS.  The TASC increased in rigor each year over three years with more in-depth testing of CCSS and strong alignment with CCRS.  It is now fully aligned with NYS academic standards.  TASC was again selected as NYS’s HSE test through a second RFP issued in 2016. 

Digital literacy skills are critical to CCRS and a strong WIOA priority.  Online computer-based testing for TASC is the first online education testing from NYSED.  Online testing began in 2014 with a pilot of 13 sites.  An additional 19 sites were added late in 2014 and more sites were considered for 2015.  An RFP issued in 2015 expanded CBT testing even further.

The activities conducted since 2014 provide a foundation for aligning adult education content with rigorous academic standards under the Combined State Plan include:

·         In early 2014, NYSED’s ACCES Division requested a proposal to provide statewide training in response to the realities of the newly adopted, Common Core-based TASC exam to certify High School Equivalency (HSE).  The ultimate goal of this training was to help the State’s 5,500 HSE and Pre-HSE teachers meet the challenge of delivering high quality instruction to enable their adult learners to achieve success on the TASC and prepare for transition to college and careers.  To reach that goal, the ACCES leadership determined that a smaller cadre of statewide HSE teachers already recognized as being highly effective would be convened to further develop their teaching skills.  Simultaneously, the teachers would learn training skills that would enable them to serve as turnkey trainers to the larger group of teachers in their RAENs.

·         The Office of Academic Affairs at CUNY, a longtime provider of professional development and curriculum development for HSE and college and career transition programming, suggested the provision of videotaped statewide Institutes with online preparation and follow up support in the provision of turnkey training along with the creation of a body of instructional materials.  Following an initial and subsequent ongoing planning process with ACCES leadership, a series of training Institutes were held in Albany over the course of March 2014-November 2016.  These Institutes were taught by members of a CUNY central team of content and training experts in mathematics, English language arts/social studies, and science.  With the logistical assistance of the RAEN Director from Cayuga Community College, a total of 13 Institutes of two to four days in length (and additional training seminars and mini-institutes) were taught to groups, each comprising 30-35 teacher leaders and an additional 15 other personnel from every region in NYS.  The majority of the teacher leaders participated in more than one Institute, deepening and broadening their skills in multiple topics with each successive course.  The outcome of the multi-year ongoing program of training is that the State now can rely on a cadre of teacher leaders, with expertise in math, science, and/or English Literacy Acquisition (ELA), available in each of the seven NYS RAEN regions to provide Common Core-based TASC training.  A total of 408 educators have participated in one or more components of the training, emerging as highly trained instructional leaders available for teacher training throughout the state.  NYSED Teacher Leaders have been instrumental in rolling out the CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework across the state in support of enhanced achievement on the TASC test.  In addition, 124 teachers in New York City who work at night and on the weekends attended Teacher Leader training seminars in October 2015; and in January 2016, five mini-institutes on TASC topics, ESL and College and Career Readiness were held in New York City with 142 participants in attendance.  CUNY also developed and delivered two webinars, one in TASC Science and one in TASC math with the participation of NYSED and TASC assessment experts from Data Recognition Corp (DRC).

·         In addition to the courses developed and offered through the Institutes on a range of TASC topics in math, science, civics, history, writing, reading, as well as English as a Second Language (ESL), a complementary Career Pathway project was also undertaken, starting in 2016. At the request of NYSED’s ACCES Division, the CUNY team embarked on the development of a ten-industry sector, 11-module CareerKit instructional resource.  Based on current labor market data, the CareerKits introduce students to the sectors of Healthcare, Technology, Retail, Construction, Community & Social Services, Education & Childcare, Manufacturing, Food Production, Transportation & Warehousing, and Hospitality, Recreation & the Arts.  In addition, the Career Fundamentals CareerKit introduces students to career exploration in general across all sectors. With the ten CareerKits comprising more than 400 pages each, the project is a comprehensive effort and will be accompanied by a significant training program to help teachers utilize the materials (adapted for use at all achievement levels and instructional settings) to provide Career Pathway instruction to the State’s population of adult learners.

·         Beyond the training Institutes and CareerKit Project, a website,, was developed and launched. is a curated and reviewed selection of recommended teaching resources that support the instructional areas and approaches presented in the Institutes.  The website has been expanded in scope to include ESL, Civics, pre-HSE, and Career Pathways resources.  Since its inception, more than 105,000 visits have been made to the site.

Proposed Training Activities for 2017-2018

New activities being implemented in 2017-18 fall into seven areas described below.  These include:

·         The expansion of the range of training Institutes for teachers statewide;

·         Initiation of training in New York City for the large number of metropolitan area teachers emphasizing implementation of the CareerKits; and New York City training targeting improved math pass rates on the TASC;

·         Support for the completion and launch of the CareerKit project statewide, including the determination of courses of study and viable certificates at CUNY (to be adapted to SUNY) with labor market value that adult learners at the HSE level (as well as immigrant English language learners) might pursue.  Labor market study activities, contextualized lesson sets, and recommended resources in ten industry sectors, with assistance in adapting them in the seven RAENs, will be completed for statewide implementation;

·         Continued development and expansion of the website, connecting quality teaching resources to content assessed on both the TASC and TABE and getting them into the classrooms of adult educators across the state;

·         Continued development and expansion of;

·         Continued expansion of RAEN turnkey training to 5,500 educators across the state including Literacy New York (LNY) volunteers; and

·         Under the Teacher Support System (TSS) initiative, building a strong connection between NYS’s student reporting system (ASISTS) and HSE test scores; diagnostic HSE information; and teaching resources related to CCSS and CCRS.

Statewide Institutes held in Albany and Statewide Webinars

Five Institutes for up to 170 teaching/counseling practitioners statewide will be provided, serving representatives from all NYS RAENs.  The Institutes will each provide two-three days of training, with day and evening sessions, pre-Institute preparatory online work with all participants and post-Institute follow up.   Participants will receive a stipend, and the costs for travel and lodging are included.  The Institutes will include the integration of technology, both for teacher training purposes and student instructional purposes, and will relate the topic area of the Institute to corresponding career pathways, as well as providing a direct focus on college and career pathway instruction.  The five Institutes are:

·         An Institute to provide introductory training in three topics: math, ESL and ELA to a new cohort of Master Teacher Leaders from parts of the state underrepresented during the previous training;

·         An Institute to provide new training in Career Pathways foundations via the use of the NYSED/CUNY CareerKits, designed to strengthen HSE transition to college and careers for a group of statewide advisor/counselors (Institute will be videotaped);

·         An Institute to deepen and broaden the knowledge and skills of Math Teacher Leaders, involving them in the creation of problem-sets and lessons to be shared statewide.  Mini-grants will be offered to selected Teacher Leaders to develop lesson sets/instructional products via a proposal process;

·         An Institute to deepen and broaden the knowledge and skills of ELA Teacher Leaders, involving them in the creation of lessons to be shared statewide.  Mini-grants will be offered to selected Teacher Leaders to develop lesson sets/instructional products via a proposal process;

·         An Institute to provide new training in ESL aligned to the new federal standards for existing and new Teacher Leaders in ESL (Institute will be videotaped); and

·         Four webinars will be developed and offered to teachers statewide to support the work of the Institutes and to expand it to others throughout the State.

New York City-Based Seminar Trainings in College and Career Pathways and Mathematics

A one-day, 6-hour Seminar on College and Career Pathways will be offered to up to 40 New York City teachers to build site-based teacher leadership in WIOA-funded programs.  A separate one-day seminar will be offered to up to 40 New York City teachers to improve performance in math on the TASC.

Continued Development and Expansion of the website

CUNY will continue to expand the CollectEdNY teacher peer review of instructional resources, both technologically and also in terms of the quantity and range of materials reviewed.  Resources in ESL, Civics, Pre-HSE and Integrated Education and Training, Integrated English Language and Civics Education, and Career Pathways will be included in the expansion of topic areas. In 2016, CollectEdNY added a section called Math Memos, with the goal of promoting the development of problem-solving strategies and perseverance in adult numeracy classrooms. In 2017, CollectEdNY expanded its offerings further with Framework Posts. This section of the website includes additional teaching materials of high emphasis TASC content, organized by domain and sub-domain. In 2018, CollectEdNY will add the Career Posts section, which will contain selected activities from the CUNY CareerKits, provide supplementary materials for use with CareerKit activities and lend support to the field as we implement career pathways into adult basic education, HSE preparation and ESOL instruction.

In its first year (2015), there were over 18,000 views of the resources in CollectEdNY. In 2016 the number of views increased to over 30,000. In 2017, CollectEdNY continued to expand its role as a trusted resource for the NYS adult education community, with over 54,000 views.  Overall, there have been more than 100,000 visits to CollectEdNY since its inception.

Continued Development and Expansion of was launched in April 2015 as a comprehensive single resource to support teaching to higher CCSS and federal CCRS for adults.  Resources include a statewide training calendar for CUNY Teacher Leader training in each RAEN region, training modules videotaped from CUNY Teacher Leader Training Institutes, and instructional videos filmed by Teacher Leaders and RAENs (each RAEN must develop five instructional videos linked to CCSS/CCRS each year for the site and each of the Teacher Leaders must develop at least one).  There are important links to, the CCSS professional development website for P-12, and resources for teaching parents to support their children’s learning of rigorous academic standards.

Continued Expansion of RAEN Turnkey Training to 5,500 Educators across the State including LNY Literacy Volunteers

Each RAEN Center develops a turnkey training plan after every Teacher Leader Institute conducted by CUNY for Teacher Leaders in the region.  To date, over 408 adult education teachers received at least one Institute of training and ongoing support to effectively teach to rigorous CCSS/CCRS, including the use of the two new websites, and  This will intensify under the 2017-18 Combined State Plan and will be supported through the creation of twenty training modules designed to ensure uniformity of emphases in the training provided by the NYS Teacher Leaders.

Roll-out of the Teaching Support System (TSS)

In December 2014, ACCES-adult education and the Literacy Assistance Center (LAC) partnered on a new project, the Teacher Support System (TSS).  This is the first major initiative by a state to enable adult education teachers to use data collected for accountability purposes to improve their teaching practices.

The TSS will create a teacher portal to ASISTS, the data management system used by all NYSED funded adult education providers to track information on students, ranging from demographic data to student outcomes.  Currently, this data is used by program managers to manage their programs and by NYSED to evaluate providers and submit data to the Federal Department of Education.

Key features of the TSS will include:

·         An innovative design that teachers will be able to access on a computer, tablet, or smartphone;

·         A dashboard displaying statistics on students, their activities in class, and their achievements, and which will display charts and tables to be printed and reviewed on a daily basis;

·         Quick links to commonly used reports and data entry/review screens;

·         A diagnostic profile for each student based on their standardized assessment performance.  The assessments in question could include the TABE online, the BEST Plus, the upcoming TASC Readiness Test, the TABE adaptive test, and any other standardized assessment that NYSED deems appropriate for use by adult education providers in the state (the TASC test also has detailed diagnostics to include for those students who have taken the test); and

·         Targeted links to the appropriate resources on an online repository of Common Core aligned resources (lesson plans, curricula, instructional materials, etc.) based on the needs of students served by a teacher.

Teachers will be able to log into TSS, pull up a roster of students, and access a dashboard that shows the skills their students acquired and the deficiencies to be addressed.  Links to specific resources addressing the deficiencies described will be located next to the dashboard.  This convenience will allow teachers to build on the professional development offered by NYSED to support the adoption of Common Core Standards/College and Career Readiness Standards.

Progress in 2016-17

In the summer of 2016, TSS was released for use by NYS adult education providers.  Since then, more and more providers, including the largest ones, have been using TSS to give teachers access to student data.  The LAC also worked with NYSED to design and implement a system for teachers to record attendance directly into TSS while still in the classroom.

Plans for 2017-18

NYSED will continue to support, (though not mandate) the use of TSS for providers as part of the overall strategy of supporting teachers as they continue to teach their students and help them achieve the outcomes listed in WIOA.

Implementation of the Case Manager Portal (CMP)

To support coordination of adult education with its WIOA partners, NYSED has authorized the creation of a dedicated Case Manager Portal (CMP) to support the work of case managers as they provide a coordinated and streamlined system of services for NYS residents.  The CMP will enhance the case management functionality in ASISTS to support referrals to and from WIOA partners as well as track the success of these referral efforts.  Case managers will be able to use the CMP to manage their work with clients, manage referrals, record case notes, and conduct follow-up while using data to guide their everyday work. NYSED is currently working with the American Institutes of Research (AIR), Cayuga Community College, and the LAC on a federally funded research project that will study how case managers use data to improve their work.  The findings of this project will inform the design of CMP. 

This interface will feature the following:

·         The ability to make referrals to and accept referrals from outside partners

·         Tools to manage the work with participants, including reminders for follow-ups, task lists, etc.

·         Follow-up survey screens that will allow case managers to take notes and enter outcomes when talking to participants

·         Editable text section for case notes on students that can subsequently

·         Dashboards showing participant demographics, activity and outcome status

·         A wide range of reports, from case management activity reports to NRS tables

Plans for 2017-18

NYSED will work with the LAC and selected programs to finalize the design for CMP by conducting focus groups, testing a beta during the summer of 2018 and releasing the portal to users by the end of December 2018. 

Local Education Activity Funding

NYSED requested and received from the U.S. Education Department a one-year waiver to extend the competitive bidding of WIOA Title II funds to July 1, 2018.   NYSED used 2016-17 to plan and prepare for the competitive bidding of all local WIOA funding, using an approach and format for multi-year funding.  The Request for Proposals (RFP) was released on December 27, 2017 and posted to the ACCES procurement webpage.   Applications are due to NYSED April 4, 2018 and final awards made July 1, 2018.   The direct link to the RFP is:

Significant highlights of the RFP:

·         All instruction must be aligned with federal College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards for Adult Education.

·         All instruction must include workforce preparation activities.

·         All funded programs must meet federal and state workforce development branding requirements.

·         All applicants must demonstrate the effectiveness of their past performance in literacy education.

·         Case management requirements are included for all instruction.  Case manager responsibilities include enrolling students in NYSDOL’s JOBZONE.

·         Every program must identify one or more contacts for workforce development system referrals.

·         All participants, with the exception of individuals enrolled in corrections education, will be tracked for employment and wage information in the second quarter after exit and employment in the fourth quarter after exit.  Social Security Numbers (SSNs) collected from participants will be used to track these measures through NYS Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Data base.  Those without SSNs will be manually tracked by programs.

·         The RFP makes a major commitment to integrated education and training and Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education programming as part of career pathways.  NYSED has made the policy decision that WIOA Title II funding will not support the training component of these new instructional approaches.  It identifies significant funding opportunities for training funds including WIOA Title 1, Employment Preparation Education State aid, SUNY and CUNY Full-time Equivalent Aid, tuition, foundation funding, local funding.

·         The RFP supports the transition of the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) from TABE 9/10, which will end June 30, 2019 to TABE 11/12 which will be the NYS approved assessment for literacy beginning July 1, 2019. The time leading up to TABE 11/12 statewide adoption will be used for experts from CUNY to train Master Teachers on high emphasis areas tested by TABE 11/12 and then turn-keyed to adult education teachers through seven Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) centers.

·         All applicants will be required to identify “next step” opportunities as part of a career pathway. 

·         All applicants must attest that they are providing equal opportunity for participants with barriers to participate in programs and services, using Attachment 7 GEPA Attestation Form.

·         NYSED agrees that in expanding funds made available under Title II of WIOA, NYSED will comply with sections 8301 through 8303 of the Buy American Act (41 U.S.C. 8301-8303. 

Data Assessment

Adult Education Performance Assessment









Total Number Students Served









English Language Learners








Adult Basic Education/Adult Secondary Education (ASE)








Educational Gain








Post Test Rate








Average Contact Hours per Student








Students on Public Assistance








# of Students Employed at Intake








# of Students Receiving HSE Diploma








# of Students Entering Postsecondary Education or Training








Data Assessment

Demographic data collected on our students indicates that roughly 46% are receiving some form of public assistance and 45% are employed at intake.  These two factors play heavily on the persistence and completion trends of our students.  Students are often derailed from their education goals as they tend to life challenges facing either themselves or their families.  NYS Education Department noted this trend and implemented requirements for programs to provide case management services to adult literacy students.  The support and positive directions students received enabled more students to persist longer (a 7% increase) and experienced increased educational gain (3% increase).  NYS Adult Education program performance has remained in the top quartile consistently for the past four consecutive years.  NYS also implemented an additional ESL assessment (BEST Literacy) aimed at assessing the writing skills of ESL students who had already achieved the maximum score on the existing ESL assessment (BEST Plus) which focuses only on the students’ verbal skills.  Of the 3% increase in educational gain over the past three years, two of that 3% was associated with our ESL learners.

Another major change that is evidenced in our State performance data is the shift in our HSE programming where students must now take the new TASC test as opposed to the GED that was the HSE test for more than 40 years.  December 2013 marked the sunset of the GED test and 2014 was the first year with students striving to success on the TASC test, based on common core standards.  The test is provided in both paper and computer formats.  Trepidation over the content in the new TASC test was felt throughout Adult Education programs from staff to students.  Students feared the new format and were discouraged from attempting the new test.  To support programs in this transition to the new common core standard content, NYS enlisted the quality professional development talent in CUNY and provided opportunity for every RAEN region in the State to identify and develop the skills of master teachers who would turnkey all they learned to their own regional programs.  These 987 well trained master teachers attended a series of common core institutes where they were provided tool kits in the areas of math, science, reading, writing, social studies, and ESL content, as well as Career Pathway training.  Master teachers then coordinate their efforts through the State’s RAEN network to move their turnkey training to reach over 5,500 teachers Statewide.  In addition, NYS included digital literacy in all procurement contracts as deliverables aimed at students being better able to take the TASC test online.  This effort was marked by major increases in the number of students taking the TASC test and achieving their HSE.  Final data in this area will be available for review after June 30, 2018.

Special Rule

Each eligible agency awarding a grant or contract under this section shall not use any funds made available under this title for adult education and literacy activities for the purpose of supporting or providing programs, services, or activities for individuals who are under the age of 16 and are enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under State law, except that such agency may use such funds for such purpose if such programs, services, or activities are related to family literacy activities. In providing family literacy activities under this title, an eligible provider shall attempt to coordinate with programs and services that are not assisted under this title prior to using funds for adult education and literacy activities under this title for activities other than activities for eligible individuals.


The Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933 established a nationwide system of public employment offices known as the Employment Service.  The Act was amended by WIA to make the Employment Service part of the One-Stop services delivery system and under WIOA to eliminate stand-alone Wagner-Peyser Employment Service Offices.

Within the context of NYS’s functional alignment, and in recognition that UI claimants comprise over 65% of the shared job seeker customer pool of the NYS one-stop system (Wagner-Peyser, Vets, WIOA, and TAA combined customer base), NYS implemented a statewide strategy to coordinate services to UI claimants that ensures claimants are afforded common service expectations and are held to common program requirements.

Through functional alignment, NYS workforce professionals are trained to provide seamless services to unemployed customers, from providing meaningful assistance with customers interested in filing for unemployment insurance benefits to providing job leads and training referrals.

Staff capacity building is a state priority.  NYSDOL provides high quality continuous development to workforce professionals to ensure excellent customer service to both job seekers and businesses.

Professional development activities are provided weekly through Workforce Career Center Operator conference calls, monthly statewide management informational systems (MIS) webinars, UI training webinars, video conferencing, and train-the-trainer workshops.  Professional development activities are posted on a WebEx platform for easy system access and training events are viewable on a shared calendar at

In addition to live training provided by UI experts, staff resource guides are available on the NYSDOL internet and intranet site.  Training and guides are updated regularly to provide current UI Reform laws and changes in regulations and implementation procedures.  Trainings include such topics as Assisting UI Customers in the Career Center and Identifying and Reporting UI Issues.

NYS Career Centers aid customers wishing to file a UI claim in several ways:

·         Via How to File for Unemployment Insurance brochures, available in multiple languages;

·         Resource room computers and internet access for easy online UI claims filing and weekly certification (Resource Rooms are staffed with workforce professionals to assist as needed); and

·         Access to telephones to file telephone claims and speak to UI Claims Representatives directly.

NYS has established minimal statewide program requirements designed to provide a statewide reemployment service strategy for UI claimants that:

·         Emphasizes early intervention;

·         Provides statewide service standards, yet encourages regional/local service delivery designs to tailor services to individual customer needs; and

·         Speeds the referral of claimants who need additional help to other support services available within the public workforce system, including but not limited to training/retraining.

Key Reemployment Services requirements include:

·         UI claimants are co-enrolled in Wagner-Peyser and WIOA Adult and/or Dislocated Worker programs and must receive a minimum of two staff assisted services.  Co-enrollment of UI claimants makes the widest possible array of services available without duplication of resources and creates an automatic link between the UI and workforce system.  Claimants are scheduled for an initial staff assisted enrolling service as early as possible in the claims cycle; at maximum within two weeks from the date the claimant information is available for scheduling in our Reemployment Operating System (REOS).  Scheduling, delivery method, and format may be regionally determined, but the statewide framework encourages conducting one-on-one interviews to provide the highest level of customer service, if possible.

·         UI claimants on Temporary Layoff (TLO) and/or union workers with exclusive union hiring arrangements must be individually assessed to verify status before any work search exemption is allowed.  If excused from work search, all claimants must be provided with information regarding the full range of services available in the workforce system.  UI claimants identified as work search exempt based on a temporary and/or seasonal loss of employment are to be scheduled for a staff assisted service, if still certifying for benefits beyond the anticipated return to work date.

·         The service design for UI claimants subject to work search requirements must minimally include:

o   A description of the full range of services available through the one-stop system and how services can be accessed;

o   An initial assessment including a basic review of the individual’s work history, skills, training, education, career objective, and any self-identified service needs (the initial assessment should be used to inform decisions on next steps such as scheduling additional services and/or targeting for follow-up services);

o   Information notifying claimants of their work search related responsibilities including advisement that failure to report for scheduled reemployment services may impact their continuing eligibility for benefits;

o   A complete, up-to-date, OSOS case management record that will support program enrollments, effective job matching, and referrals; and

o   A Comprehensive Assessment, when it is determined that the customer needs individualized career services.  Such services may be needed to address barriers to employment; establish an employment/occupational goal that is relevant to the local labor market; and/or identify deficiencies in occupational knowledge, skills, and abilities that can be rectified through skills development and training.  This leads to the development of an Individual Employment Plan (IEP).

·         UI customer caseload management strategies are in place to ensure that UI Reemployment Services customers receive ongoing services following the initial service.  If the UI claimant continues to certify for benefits, each claimant must receive additional staff assisted services within 90-day intervals of the initial enrolling service.

·         Potential UI issues are tracked and reported to the NYSDOL Unemployment Insurance Division (NYSDOL/UID) in a timely manner.

·         In accordance with NYS’s functional alignment policy, REOS is accessible by both ES and WIOA partner staff based on functional assignment.  Any/all staff providing reemployment services to UI customers have access to the comprehensive case management data available for all UI customers via REOS, as needed, to eliminate duplication of effort and facilitate effective, streamlined service to the customer.

·         Customers whose initial assessment determines a need for additional services are referred quickly to training or system partners for supportive services to address barriers to reemployment.

Agricultural Outreach Plan

NYSDOL’s Agricultural Outreach Plan (AOP) details the activities planned for providing services and outreach to both Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFWs), H-2A foreign guest workers and Agricultural businesses for the period of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019, and is prepared in accordance with WIOA proposed Section 167 and Unified Planning Guidance. 

Submission Requirements

The goal of the AOP is to describe the strategies the Agriculture Labor Program (AgLP) will use in the coming program year to provide services to MSFWs through the American Job Center network, or NYS Career Center System, which are quantitatively proportional and qualitatively equivalent to those provided to non-MSFWs, and to detail how services will be delivered to Agricultural businesses in an effort to ensure the jobs they provide are filled with the available, domestic labor supply.  In addition, the AgLP is committed to ensuring that H-2A foreign guest workers and domestic farmworkers understand their rights and how the labor law in NYS protects them.

NYSDOL’s plan includes the following:

(1)    Assessment of Need - Information on PY17 agricultural and MSFW activity, projected levels of agricultural activity in PY18, and projected numbers of MSFWs in NYS in PY18;

(2)    Outreach Activities - A description of how MSFWs across the state will receive services in PY18, as well as an assessment on staff and the resources available for outreach;

(3)    NYS’ strategy for:

                            (A)            Coordinating outreach efforts with WIOA Title I section 167 grantees as well as public and private community service agencies and MSFW groups;

                            (B)            Explaining to farmworkers the services available at the local Career Centers;

                            (C)            Marketing the employment service complaint system to farmworkers and other farmworker advocacy groups;

                           (D)            Providing farmworkers with a basic summary of farmworker rights, including their rights with respect to the terms and conditions of employment; and

                            (E)            Urging those farmworkers reached through outreach efforts to go to the local Career Center to obtain the full range of employment and training services;

(4)    Services Provided to MSFWs through the American Job Center Network and Services to Agricultural Businesses through the American Job Center Network - Review of the ways NYS’s AgLP staff will ensure MSFWs receive the same services as non-MSFWs and information on utilizing OSOS/NYS Job Bank, as well as job bulletins, to ensure that Agricultural businesses receive the workforce required to maintain a vital industry in NYS; and

(5)    Other Requirements - Opportunity for the State Monitor Advocate (SMA) to review and approve the AOP, and review and public comment by WIOA Section 167 National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) grantee PathStone Corporation, other agricultural organizations, and the public.

Assessment of Need

(i)      NYS Migrant Seasonal Farmworker Characteristics and MSFW Needs

Typical Characteristics of MSFWs in NYS:

·         Predominantly Spanish Speaking and/or English Language Learner (ELL).

·         Countries of origin include Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica, Burma, Haiti, Korea, and U.S. born workers from Puerto Rico.

·         Common languages include Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Korean.

·         Farmworkers are MSFW, seasonal, and year-round workers depending on the crop and method of farming.

Farmworkers, including MSFWs, have similar needs to other immigrant, refugee, and low wage worker populations, including:

·         Flexible hours for accessible services as agricultural work hours do not always coincide with typical business hours;

·         Assistance with language barriers; and

·         Assistance with finding work in agriculture by word-of-mouth and friends/neighbors.

In NYS, farmworkers tend to be seasonal workers that work at area farms seasonally.  In the off season, workers may find other temporary jobs or will wait to be called back by their previous agricultural employer.

(ii)    A review of the previous year’s agricultural activity in the state:

Agriculture is one of the most important industries in NYS, providing food for the state’s consumers and employment for many of its residents.  Crops grown across the state are very diverse and include a variety of fruits, root vegetables, and plant/nursery stock.  Throughout PY17, the AgLP recorded information on the specific crops grown on farms staff visited and provided vital data demonstrating the best time of year to visit certain farms based on the crops grown at that location. 

Regional crop activity in PY16 was as follows[1]:

1.       Region 1 consists of Suffolk, Nassau counties and the 5 boroughs of New York City.  Major agricultural industries include greenhouses/nurseries operations, fruit and vegetable crop farms and horse farms.

2.       Region 2 consists of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.  Major agricultural industries include apple and other stone fruits, vineyards and ground crops. 

3.       Region 7 consists of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster counties.  Major agricultural industry is apples.  Other predominant commodities in the region include stone fruits, ground vegetables, hay, corn, grapes, berries, nurseries, dairies and livestock.

4.       Region 4 consists of Albany, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington counties.  Major agricultural industries include apples orchards, vegetable farms, nurseries/greenhouses, and dairy farms.

5.       Region 5 consists of Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, and St. Lawrence counties.  The major agricultural industries are apples orchards and onion farms followed by other vegetable and berry crops, and nursery operations. The dairy industry is also a major contributor to the agriculture economy in the area.

6.       Region 9 consists of Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates counties.  The major agricultural industries in the area are vineyards, followed by fruit and vegetable farms and dairies.

7.       Region 10 consists of Genesee, Monroe, Orleans and Wayne counties.  The major agricultural industry is apple orchards, but various vegetables such as cabbage, onions, potatoes, squash, and corn are also produced regionally.

8.       Region 11 consists of Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Livingston, Niagara, Steuben, and Wyoming counties.  The major agricultural industries include apple orchards, vineyards, mixed ground crops including onions, cabbage and potatoes, berry patches and dairy operations.

[1] For the purposes of this report, NYS has been divided into the regions that are covered by AgLP staff:

(iii)  A review of the previous year’s MSFW activity in the state:

For PY16, the estimated number of MSFWs in NYS totaled approximately 17,131[2].  The estimated numbers of MSFWs per geographic region[3] is:

1.       Region 1:      1,544

2.       Region 2:     948

3.       Region 7:     2,188

4.       Region 4:     1,131

5.       Region 5:     631

6.       Region 9:     1,920

7.       Region 10:   6,771

8.       Region 11:   1,988

This number is partially based on information obtained in the federally required 5148 report, which estimated 6,670 MSFWs in NYS using the numbers reported on the Grower/Processor Certificates issued by NYSDOL’s Division of Labor Standards.  However, these certificates only apply to farms with five or more migrant farmworkers.  To capture seasonal workers and farmworkers on the smaller farms, the AgLP used data from the program’s Farm Lists, which is collected for each region by AgLP staff.  In PY16, AgLP staff visited small, medium, and large farming operations, including seasonal and year-round workforces.  The goal was to reach as many of the seasonal Farmworkers and H-2A foreign guest workers in the state as possible.  AgLP staff performed outreach education to a total of 4,286 MSFWs; 1,587 H-2A foreign guest workers and 1,370 Year-Round farmworkers in PY16.  The number of farmworkers served in each for geographic region includes:

1.       Region 1:      1,923

2.       Region 2:      582

3.       Region 7:      589

4.       Region 4:      269

5.       Region 5:     333

6.       Region 9:     717

7.       Region 10:   1,788

8.       Region 11:   1,042

PathStone, the current WIOA Title I section 167 grantee, reported serving 2,021 MSFWs, resulting in a combined total of 9,264 individuals receiving employment services in PY16.

Assessment of AgLP Progress and Assessment of Equity Ratio Indicators:

NYSDOL/DIPA reviewed the field staff Regional Outreach Plans (ROPs) for 2016 and the following detailed assessment of each Agriculture Labor Specialist’s (AgLS) ROP[4] indicates progress in services being provided to all farmworkers in NYS.

·         Region 1-The AgLS in this region intended to conduct activity at 206 farms, and exceeded his goal by reaching 219 farms.  He also continued to contact farmworkers in Riverhead, NY at the Spanish Apostolate. In total, the AgLS made 2,724 contacts for calendar year 2016, which includes activity related to MSFWs, H-2A workers, year-round workers, and agricultural employers.  

·         Region 2-The AgLS in this region estimated field activity goal at 106 businesses.  The AgLS reached his goal.   Activity was conducted both in the field and at the region’s Farmworker Community Center, or “The Alamo”, in Pine Island, NY.  The Region 2 AgLS made 869 contacts during the PY16 season.

·         Region 7-  The AgLS in this region planned field activity goal at 100 farms.  Areas of the Hudson Valley were affected by weather which caused a reduction in workforce.  Approximately 95% of the migrant seasonal farms were reached during the season.  Activity was conducted both in the field and at the region’s Farmworker Community Center, or “The Alamo”, in Pine Island, NY.  The AgLS reached 913 contacts. 

·         Region 4-  The AgLS in this region planned field activity at 70 area farms.  The AgLS conducted field work at 74 area farms.  In PY15, the AgLS had 93 contacts with migrant seasonal Farmworkers.  In PY16, the AgLS had 101 contacts with migrant seasonal Farmworkers.  The AgLS had a successful season, conducting 688 contacts.

·         Region 5- This region faced challenges in PY16.  Weather played a role in less migrant workers in the area.  Additionally, several farms decided to use the H-2A foreign guest worker program as their sole workforce.  The AgLS planned to conduct field work at 55 farms and reached 53 farms.  The AgLS had 581 contacts for the PY16 season.

·         Region 9- This region also faced weather challenges that reduced the number of workers in the area.  There are many farm labor contractors in this area that serve many of the local vineyards and the AgLS was successful in meeting with them and their crews.  In total, the AgLS had 847 contacts in the region during the PY16 season.

·         Region 10- The farmers in this region had a 30% reduction in workforce due to weather.  The AgLS was visited 140 farms and had 2413 contacts for the season.

·         Region 11- Weather was also a factor in this region, but the AgLS conducted outreach and provided services to 100 farms in the region.  The AgLS added 9 farms to the Farm List and had 1312 contacts for the season. 

Data based on the Equity Ratio Indicators for program years 2015-2017 indicate that NYS typically meets three of the five indicators (referred to jobs, referred to supportive services, and job development contacts).  However, the Equity Ratio Indicators for services in the last four years are difficult to fully review because the data is not cumulative over the four quarters.  It is therefore difficult to determine, if over the course of the program year, the service Equity Ratio Indicators are being met.  Additionally, the formulas used to track the Equity Ratio Indicators will need to be reviewed for accuracy.   

(iv)  NYSDOL/DIPA training:

NYSDOL/DIPA provided training in 2017 regarding better documentation of support services provided to farmworkers.  We will also continue to review the quarterly 5148 data to determine if the training has helped with reporting requirements.  NYSDOL/DIPA will also discuss further training for outreach staff by other NYSDOL staff to ensure proper documentation of services provided.

(v)    A projected level of agricultural activity in the state for the coming year:

The AgLP has seen a steady increase in the number of agricultural job orders, both for domestic labor and H-2A workers, submitted each program year, since PY12[5].  Based upon this consistent and steady increase, it is believed that the level of agricultural activity in PY17 will be equal to, or greater than, the level of agricultural activity in PY16. 

Based upon the total number of Grower/Processor Registrations submitted to Labor Standards, combined with the AgLP’s known number of MSFWs not captured by the registrations and the number of H-2A guestworkers, the estimated number of MSFWs in NYS for PY17 totals 17,131 individuals. 

In PY17 and PY18, an increased focus will be placed on assisting Agricultural businesses in submitting job orders for domestic labor.  As the AgLP was brand new in PY12, the focus was largely on meeting the Agricultural Businesses across the state and notifying them of the services the Agriculture Labor Specialists (AgLS) could provide to them and their workers on the farm.  Now that the businesses are aware of the AgLS in their area, more focus can be placed on providing them with the labor supply required to ensure their farms thrive.  An increased labor supply will ultimately correlate to a high activity level in the industry overall.

(vi)  A projected number of MSFWs in the state for the coming year:

Based on last year’s numbers, and the data provided by Labor Standards in the Farm Labor Contractor Registrations and Grower/Processor Registrations for each quarter’s 5148 report and that provided by PathStone Corporation, it is the AgLP’s estimate that approximately 17,131 or more farmworkers will be in NYS during PY18. 

Outreach Activities

Numerical goals for the number of MSFWs to be contacted during PY18:

The eight bilingual AgLS are stationed in NYS Career Centers[6] close to high populations of agricultural workers.  For those staff members who are not located in offices deemed significant by USDOL ETA, the AgLP worked with NYSDOL’s Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions (NYSDOL/DEWS) to ensure the AgLS can work in a “significant office” at least one day per week.  This will ensure MSFWs can reach an AgLS from almost anywhere in the state on any given day.  Because the staff is strategically located close to MSFW populations, the goal is to reach as many of the estimated 17,131 farmworkers in PY18 as possible.  Likewise, an objective of the AgLP is to visit farms with an MSFW workforce twice during the season to provide outreach services to MSFWs working on the farm during the harvest season that may not have been there earlier in the year, during the planting season. 

Outreach will also continue to be provided to dairy workers, who may be year-round workers as time permits.  This will lead to an overall increase in the number of farmworkers reached by AgLP staff, and may also lead to the discovery of seasonal workers who may work at these dairies and can receive outreach services.

Assessment of available resources:

For PY18 there are currently eight AgLS (field staff) and three Supervisors who conduct full-time outreach to MSFWs.  The AgLP also has two Labor Liaisons.  In addition to conducting outreach as needed, the Labor Liaison will also assist the AgLP in connecting local domestic labor with available jobs in NYS.  The Division Director also maintains direct contact with farmworkers and conducts outreach to Farmworkers with a hands-on approach to ensure NYSDOL’s Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs (NYSDOL/DIPA) provides information and services relevant to the distinct needs of agricultural workers. 

In addition to the 11 full-time AgLP staff, the Labor Liaisons, and the Director, the NY SMA will conduct outreach throughout PY18.

In February and March 2017, Agriculture Labor Program staff received training on the following:

·         Field Visit Outreach including new reporting form (Jeanette Lazelle);

·         Guidance on Regional Outreach Plan Development (Geovanny Trivino);

·         Updates on AgLog Database (Geovanny Trivino);

·         Employment Services Referrals (Stacey Rice);

·         FLCU:  The role of the Labor Liaison in H-2A (Caylin Gwise);

·         FLCU:  Conducting Field Checks and Housing Inspections (Melissa Buckley and Ruth Gonzalez-Cruz);

·         FLCU:  New Materials for the H-2A Worker (Melissa Buckley and Ruth Gonzalez-Cruz);

·         Human Trafficking training for NYSDOL/DIPA Front Line Staff (Estelle Davis, Esq.); and

·         General Outreach to Immigrant Workers and Outreach Log Database entries (Carmen Calderon).

Additionally, Jeanette Lazelle provided a special field outreach project titled “Outreach to Female Farmworkers” in 2017.   Under this project, outreach and education on the issue of sexual harassment and workplace violence was provided to businesses and female farmworkers on seasonal farms.  In 2018, this special project will be expanded to include all farmworkers on seasonal farm operations.  The outreach education includes identification of sexual harassment and workplace violence and the services that can be accessed through NYSDOL.  A fact sheet on these topics is found at

Technical Advisories are shared with all NYSDOL staff as appropriate.  NYSDOL/DIPA will also request training on employment services as needed for outreach staff.  Additionally, NYSDOL/DIPA is working on further developing its internal protocols and providing technical training as needed.  At minimum, NYSDOL/DIPA will train staff on all program areas on a yearly basis.

Staff capacity building is a NYS priority. Professional development activities are provided through conference calls, UI training webinars, video conferencing and train the trainer workshops.  In addition to live training provided by UI experts, staff resource guides are available on our NYSDOL internet and intranet site.  Training and guides are updated regularly to provide current UI Reform laws and changes in regulations and implementation procedures. Training has included such topics as Assisting UI Customers in the Career Center and Identifying and Reporting UI Issues.

1.       In PY18, AgLP staff will continue to work closely with PathStone Corporation.  Staff will continue to participate in PathStone’s Program Area Advisory Committee Meetings throughout the season.  Additionally, the local AgLS will work at PathStone’s Williamson office to provide outreach, information, and employment services to farmworkers who visit and are referred to the AgLP by PathStone.  Additionally, NYSDOL and PathStone will work together to execute an MOU by the end of PY17. 

2.       The AgLP also continues to develop the services and information available to farmworkers through the Farmworkers Community Center in Pine Island, also known as the Alamo.  During PY16, the AgLP staff provided services and information from the Alamo three days per week.  This will continue as we further develop the services that farmworkers can access at this location.

Furthermore, in PY18, Long Island’s Riverhead Spanish Apostolate will continue to host the local AgLS at their offices.  For both locations, our staff presence provides much needed outreach and assistance to workers who would not typically visit the nearest NYS Career Center.

Tools used to conduct outreach:

To reach an estimated 17,131 MSFWs, as well as year-round agricultural workers in PY18, AgLP staff will use several tools:

·         The primary delivery method is personal contact.  Staff travel to farms several days each week to meet with MSFWs in person and provide them with packets of information relevant to their rights; supportive services available to them in the community; and employment related services available at the Career Centers across the state.

·         Each AgLS is equipped with a mobile technology, making the AgLS accessible to MSFWs even when they are not at the Career Center. 

·         Prior to visiting farms, staff assemble a packet of materials including fact sheets from NYSDOL, information on other agencies serving MSFWs in the community (Community Resource Guides), and contact information for the AgLP staff.  The following documents are included in the basic outreach packet for MSFWs (non-foreign guest workers):

o   NYSDOL/DIPA services (in English and Spanish);

o   NYSDOL/DIPA AgLP Contact List;

o   NYSDOL General Services (in English and Spanish);

o   NYSDOL’s NYS Career Center Locations (contains address and phone number);

o   NYSDOL Protection for Farmworkers (in English and Spanish);

o   Farmworker Fact Sheet (in English and Spanish); and

o   Community Resource Guide.

In addition, the staff tailors these worker packets by adding specific information regarding workshop and training opportunities available at their local Career Centers.

When applicable, staff also provides outreach services at various events across the state.  Several times per year, there are events held in the agricultural community where outreach can take place and staff can have direct access to farmworkers.  These events include:

·         Empire Farm Days;

·         Mexican Consulate events throughout the year; and

·         Guatemalan Consulate events throughout the year.

Services Provided to MSFWs through the American Job Center Network

The goal of outreach is to contact MSFWs who are not reached by the normal intake activities of the NYS Career Center.  The AgLS provide outreach services to farmworkers at their living and gathering locations outside of the physical Career Center, which may include farm sites, labor camps, grocery stores, and churches.  The AgLS explain the services that can be accessed at the local Career Center and educates the farmworkers on their rights and responsibilities under NYS labor law.  Regarding employment services, the AgLP staff encourage farmworkers to visit the nearest NYS Career Center to explore the career services available to them.

AgLS provide the following services through outreach:

·         Information on services available through PathStone Corporation, NYS’s current WIA 167 grantee;

·         Information on training services such as GED, ESL, and basic education available through the Career Center or other services provided in the community;

·         Details on applying for UI, if applicable;

·         Health care, transportation, and child care services available in the local area;

·         Information about NYS state and federal labor laws and their enforcement;

·         Appropriate channels for filing complaints through the Employment Services Complaint System; and

·         Resolution of “apparent violations” observed or uncovered by the AgLS during their outreach visit.

To ensure that MSFWs receive quality services when they visit any of the local Career Centers in NYS, the AgLP created and presented a specialized training webinar for Labor Services Representatives (LSRs) in NYSDOL/DEWS who regularly serve customers seeking employment.  The goal of the training is to guarantee that farmworkers are served by all LSRs in the Career Centers, rather than rely exclusively on the AgLP Staff.  The content of the training details the distinct nature of agriculture and the nuanced employment needs of both agricultural businesses and farmworkers.  It also provides step-by-step instructions for creating comprehensive employment profiles for farmworkers; performing skills and job matching; and knowing where to find agricultural job openings in active recruitment in OSOS.  The webinar is updated and recorded annually and is available online to allow newly hired LSRs to receive the training at any time and at their own pace.  There is also a Quick Tips Guide that LSRs can reference quickly in order to make the resources readily available.

Providing these services to farmworkers, and ensuring they utilize them, increases the likelihood of farmworkers becoming more competitive in the local, regional, and national economy, and enables them to use acquired skills to transition to employment in the non-agricultural sector if they so choose.

Services Provided to Agricultural Businesses through the American Job Center Network

Providing services to Agricultural Businesses in NYS is extremely important because they require a reliable workforce to ensure the products they grow can be harvested in a time and manner that guarantees the highest quality product reaches consumers.  The AgLS provide many services to employers, including updating them on compliance with state and federal labor laws and ensuring they have the most current posters, forms, and guides.  AgLP staff also provides the following business services to Agricultural Employers:

·         Assistance in recruiting domestic labor;

·         Matching workers’ skills and experience to business needs and available positions;

·         Answering questions about recruiting and registering workers;

·         Referrals for labor laws and compliance issues; and

·         Labor market data.

Additionally, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NYSDOL and the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) was established in August 2015 to ensure that the goals of each agency are met while providing streamlined services to the agricultural businesses and farmworkers affected.  More specifically, the agreement eliminates duplicative migrant labor camp pre-occupancy and occupancy inspections, which would otherwise be required by both agencies.

In PY18, the AgLP will continue to focus on providing Agricultural Businesses the domestic labor they need to succeed in this important industry.  The AgLP will continue the “Labor Needs” project that began in PY13 to determine exactly what the businesses in the state are looking for in their workforce and the time of year they will most likely need workers.  The Labor Needs Form provides an opportunity for the Agricultural Business to place a local job order with the AgLS.  The AgLS then enters the information into OSOS, and the job order becomes active on the NYS Job Bank, becoming visible to potential workers on the Internet.

For those workers without computer access, these jobs are also posted in the NYS Career Centers, as well as the Farm Jobs Bulletin the AgLP implemented in April 2013.  This bulletin is sent out to staff approximately every two weeks and can be posted at grocery stores, churches, and other MSFW gathering locations so they may become aware of available positions across the state.  We expect these initiatives will help workers obtain jobs and businesses receive the labor supply required at farms across the state.

While conducting field visits and outreach to MSFWs, the AgLP staff also speak with Agricultural Businesses and provide information on services available to them.  Just as the workers have a packet, the staff also prepares a business packet prior to visiting the farm that includes the following:

·         NYSDOL Services for Business Flyer;

·         NYSDOL/DIPA Services Flyer;

·         NYSDOL/DIPA AgLP Contact List;

·         NYS Agricultural Minimum Wage Poster;

·         NYS Federal Bonding Program;

·         Farm Labor Commissary Registration Form;

·         NYSDOL Application for Grower/Processor of Migrant Registration;

·         Pay Notice Agreement for Workers (in English and Spanish);

·         Blank Wage Statement (For non-H-2A employers);

·         Blank Wage Statement (For H-2A employers);

·         Unemployment Insurance Employer Registration Information;

·         Workers’ Compensation Advocate for Business Booklet;

·         What Business Owners Must Know About Workers’ Compensation Flyer;

·         USDOL H-2A Employer Handbook; and

·         List of region-specific service providers by county for the AgLS’s territory.

Furthermore, AgLP staff develops and implements various trainings for farm labor contractors and agricultural employers.  The goal of the written materials and information sessions is to promote an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of employers, as well as the rights and services available to farmworkers.  Through online webinars, recorded training sessions, in-person workshops, and the distribution of written information along with employer-specific packets, AgLP staff has provided education such as:

·         Know Your Rights presentations at Mexican Mobile Consulate events around NY State;

·         Presentations at Ag & Markets Listening Tour for New and Beginning Farmers around NY State;

·         Know Your Rights Presentations at Department of State’s Office of New Americans Centers around NY State;

·         AgLP/PathStone and NYSDOL/DEWS Joint Training in Rochester and Middletown NY;

·         Outreach at Empire Farms Days;

·         Compliance Education at Jumpstarting the Next Generation hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension; and

·         Compliance Education at New York Wine & Grape Foundation in conjunction with the USDOL.

In March 2017, the ES Complaint system was updated and training was provided to all Career Center and partner staff. The ES Complaint system is discussed with workers when they reach out to AgLP staff to discuss possible violations of labor law. Workers seeking to file formal complaints are assisted with completing the complaint form and the AgLP staff forward the form to the appropriate enforcement office. Where workers do not want to file formal complaints, the AgLP staff work with businesses to discuss potential violations and resolve them with business cooperation.


In the off season, the AgLP staff craft their regional outreach plans and begin contact with businesses to discuss their anticipated labor needs for the following season. The AgLP staff discusses the Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS) as a possible way to obtain the necessary labor for their business. The AgLP continue to contact businesses throughout the season and will continue to offer ARS as a possible option for their labor needs. The overall trend the past few seasons has shifted interest away from local job orders to the H-2A guest worker program to meet the businesses’ labor needs.  The AgLP staff continue to discuss local job orders as a possible solution to short term labor needs and businesses will occasionally submit smaller local job orders for early season or end of season labor needs. 

Other Requirements

(i) State Monitor Advocate (SMA):  Belen Ledezma is the NYS Monitor Advocate. She has been given an opportunity to review and comment on this AOP.

(ii) Review and Public Comment: The draft of this AOP will be made available to the groups listed below on November 1, 2017 and they will be given a 30-day window to provide feedback and comments.  The following groups and organizations will be invited to share their input and comments:

·          Cornell Cooperative Extension;

·          New York Farm Bureau;

·          NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets;

·          PathStone Corporation;

·          Worker Justice Center of New York;

·          The International Institute of Buffalo; and

·          Cornell Farmworker Program

MSFW Career Centers

NYSDOL is complying with the requirements under 20 CFR 653.11. The list of the 10 Significant MSFW centers and agricultural plan is located on our NYSDOL website at 

Trade Adjustment Assistance

The primary goal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is to assist trade-affected workers in locating and preparing for suitable re-employment as rapidly and effectively as possible.  In NYS, this is accomplished through:

·         Timely provision of Rapid Response services;

·         Effective case management through the provision of various basic and individualized career services in the Career Center as a co-enrolled participant under the WIOA Dislocated Worker Program; and

·         Focus on re-training workers determined to need further skills to obtain employment in emerging and in-demand occupations.

TAA coordination with WIOA and Wagner-Peyser

It is the goal of NYS to ensure that dislocated workers, including Trade-certified workers, receive services available through the Career Center service delivery system to ensure rapid reattachment to the workforce through attainment of suitable employment.  Further, NYS determined that individuals eligible for services under TAA programs are best served through Career Center offices operating in LWDAs.  NYS previously adopted policy (Technical Advisory #04-6.5 and subsequent amendments) to ensure all TAA customers are co-enrolled as dislocated workers and are provided the same set of basic and individualized career services available to all customers in the system.  This co-enrollment allows trade affected customers to take advantage of the same reemployment, assessment, labor market information, career advisement, case management, and follow-up services available through the local Career Center system.  In NYS, WIOA and Wagner-Peyser funded staff and services are functionally aligned within each of our local Career Center offices.  This allows services to be provided to TAA customers in a seamless and efficient manner.  Trade funded services can be layered on top of WIOA and Wagner-Peyser funded services already provided through the Career Center.  NYSDOL allocated sufficient resources to each LWDA to support outreach (including Rapid Response services), orientation, case management, job development, and follow-up services for dislocated workers eligible for TAA benefits. 

TAA and Rapid Response

The NYSDOL/DEWS Rapid Response Program involves planning and delivery of reemployment services for affected workers prior to a mass layoff or business closure.  Rapid Response services are initiated when separations meet the NYS WARN Act thresholds, and/or when a Trade petition has been submitted to the USDOL. 

In NYS, ten regional Rapid Response Teams, attached to Business Engagement, impact the TAA program.  When a WARN notice is filed, the RRRC contacts the business within one day of receipt of the WARN.  If the business is not TAA certified, the RRRC will assist the business with filing the TAA petition, or will file directly on behalf of the affected workers.  For businesses that are already TAA certified, the Rapid Response team provides workers with an introduction to the benefits and services available under TAA and guides them to the local career planner for help with accessing benefits.  Also, when NYS receives notice from the USDOL that a new Trade Act petition is filed, the Statewide Trade Act Coordinator alerts the Career Center system, activating Rapid Response services. 

The Rapid Response Team conducts onsite and offsite customized service orientations for workers, covering reemployment services, state public healthcare enrollment options, credit counseling resources, and if applicable, an overview of TAA benefits and the TAA individual eligibility process.  All attendees of the Rapid Response orientation are registered in OSOS immediately following the orientation session.  Both the business and attached affected workers are coded with a Rapid Response Event Number for intensive reemployment services and service tracking purposes.

The RRRC keeps the Statewide Trade Act Coordinator, along with the WARN Unit and key local NYSDOL and workforce development system partners, apprised of the status of layoffs.  Working with the business, the Rapid Response team develops a service plan. 

When the specific trade affected workers are known, the RRRC advises the business to email the following information directly to the NYSDOL/UID Benefits Section, to begin the process of determining individual worker eligibility:

·         Name of trade affected worker;

·         Social Security Number;

·         Worker’s Address;

·         Division of the company where the worker was assigned;

·         Employment start date;

·         Separation date; and

·         Reason for separation.

Coordination – Rapid Response, Unemployment Insurance Division, Career Center Network

NYSDOL/UID mails each worker, after layoff, an application for TAA.  Applications are evaluated by the NYSDOL/UID and result in an individual determination of eligibility.  The NYSDOL/UID uses worker contact information collected by Rapid Response Teams and from the trade affected company to mail TAA applications to affected workers.  The NYSDOL/UID advises the Statewide Trade Act Coordinator on a weekly basis of any applications that were mailed. 

The Statewide Trade Act Coordinator in turn advises key local NYSDOL and workforce development system partners, including 33 local TAA Coordinators.  The local TAA Coordinators reach out to the workers to promote the program and urge workers to return their individual eligibility applications to the NYSDOL/UID for review, and to visit the Career Center for case management services.

Case Management

Case management begins with a preliminary assessment of knowledge, skills, interests, and abilities.  This initial assessment helps identify dislocated workers (including Trade-certified workers) who possess marketable skills needed by local employers.  It may also identify dislocated workers (including Trade-certified workers) who need additional services at a more intensive service level.  An on-going comprehensive assessment, based on the current labor market, includes:

·         Testing of skill levels such as math, reading, and writing to determine grade-level equivalencies;

·         Evaluating aptitudes, abilities, and work values;

·         Identifying transferable skills such as computer, problem solving, time management, and organization;

·         Assessing English language proficiency (command of the English language);

·         Identifying knowledge of foreign languages that may help an employer;

·         Assessing supportive service needs such as child care or transportation; and

·         Evaluating the need for referral to community resources.

Assessment results help determine if the affected worker can return to suitable employment or if training is the appropriate path to reemployment.  Career planners, in conjunction with the affected worker, determine one of the following steps:

·         Active job search to return to the labor market, or

·         Referral to training; either classroom, OJT, or a combination of the two.


Career planners, working with the trade affected worker, determine when training is appropriate for the worker given his/her capabilities, background, experience, and conditions within the current labor market.  In considering training options, the guiding principle is to return the trade affected worker to suitable employment as quickly and as economically as possible.  Before submitting a request for training approval to the NYSDOL/DEWS State level TAA Program Unit, local career planners ensure that the required six criteria for approval of training are met.  These criteria are:

·         No suitable employment is available to the worker;

·         The worker will benefit from the training;

·         There is reasonable expectation of reemployment following the completion of training;

·         The worker is qualified to undertake and complete the training;

·         Training is reasonably available; and

·         Training is appropriate and available at a reasonable cost.

Career planners call upon NYSDOL’s network of local labor market analysts; access employment projections on the NYSDOL website; and utilize their own knowledge of the local labor market to assist workers in developing occupational goals.  A training program may be approved for an eligible trade affected worker at any time regardless of their eligibility for UI/TRA (Trade Adjustment Allowances).  In the event the trade affected worker exhausts UI and is not eligible for TRA, careful consideration is paid to the person’s ability, based on financial resources, to complete the training program. 

Training may not be approved when, all costs being considered, training substantially similar in quality, content, and results can be obtained from another provider at a lower cost within a similar timeframe.  The total cost of a training program, in determining reasonableness, includes tuition and related expenses (books, tools, and academic fees), travel or transportation expenses, and subsistence.  Training at facilities outside the trade-affected worker’s commuting area that involves transportation or subsistence costs that add substantially to the total costs, are not approved if similar training is available locally.  Training cannot be approved when the cost is unreasonably high compared to the cost of training workers in similar occupations. 

Career planners assist workers in finding training programs of a suitable duration to achieve the desired skill level in the shortest possible time.  NYSDOL/DEWS informs the NYSDOL/UID of approved training plans through the use of a shared database which tracks dates of training and the associated TRA payments.

Program Process Responsibilities 

The Trade Act program in NYS is co-managed by two NYSDOL Divisions: the NYSDOL/UID Benefits Section, which is responsible for interfacing with the trade certified businesses and determining individual eligibility, and the NYSDOL/DEWS TAA Program Unit, which provides program oversight to the Career Centers.  NYSDOL/UID mails TAA application packets to laid off workers and Threatened Status letters to those identified pre-layoff who are named as trade affected by the businesses.  NYSDOL/UID communicates the list of laid off and threatened workers to NYSDOL/DEWS, which in turn communicates with LWDAs.  Local areas provide outreach to facilitate the application and entitlement processes.  Career Centers begin case management while workers await their determination of eligibility. 

The following details program responsibility by NYSDOL division:

·         Receive petition to trigger rapid response – NYSDOL/DEWS;

·         Provide a legal notice of certification through publication in a local newspaper (outreach) –NYSDOL/UID and NYSDOL Communications Office;

·         Provide notification to local boards of filed Trade petitions – NYSDOL/DEWS;

·         Notify trade affected workers of approved Trade certifications, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, and Health Coverage Tax Credit eligibility – NYSDOL/UID;

·         Determine individual eligibility to TAA– NYSDOL/UID;

·         Pay weekly TRA benefits – NYSDOL/UID;

·         Provide orientation to TAA benefits/services – NYSDOL/DEWS via Career Centers;

·         Approve/deny and revoke waivers from training – NYSDOL/DEWS;

·         Approve/deny requests for training – NYSDOL/DEWS;

·         Approve/deny requests for job search and relocation allowances – NYSDOL/DEWS;

·         Provide regular updates to local boards on federal Trade funds, WIOA NEG funds, and additional assistance funds that may be available to support training for trade affected workers –NYSDOL/DEWS;

·         Process hearings and appeals related to determinations and decisions concerning Trade Act funded benefits and other services, including the following: TRA; job relocation allowances; job search allowances; subsistence allowances while in training, including certain costs associated with an approved training plan at a provider outside the commuting area, as defined by applicable unemployment insurance law or regulation; and training programs as approved courses of study –NYSDOL/UID;

·         Approve the use of a reimbursement method to ensure the adequate oversight and integrity of federal funds made available for Trade-approved training – NYSDOL/DEWS;

·         Provide required reports to USDOL and others as required by law or regulation – NYSDOL/UID, NYSDOL/DEWS, NYSDOL’s Division of Research and Statistics (R&S), and NYSDOL/UID; and

·         Ensure the integrity of data for reports provided to federal agencies as required by law or regulation; NYSDOL/UID, NYSDOL/DEWS, and NYSDOL’s Division of Research and Statistics.

Role of Local Boards

Local workforce development boards ensure that their strategic planning process includes an analysis of the local labor market to:

·         Determine business needs;

·         Determine emerging, targeted, and demand occupations;

·         Identify employment opportunities, which include those with a potential for career advancement; and

·         Identify employer-based training opportunities.

Boards set local policies for a Trade Act service strategy that coordinate various service delivery approaches to:

·         Assist dislocated workers eligible for Trade benefits in obtaining suitable employment as an alternative to referral to training;

·         Promote the use of WIOA basic and individualized services to support the rapid reattachment to the workforce;

·         Refer individuals to prevocational and vocational training in demand and targeted occupations; and

·         Assist in job retention and career advancement.

Local boards ensure that dislocated workers eligible for Trade benefits, who are unable to find suitable employment through WIOA Title I core services, are co-enrolled in WIOA Title I dislocated worker services for referral to WIOA-funded career and Trade-funded training services.

Managed Resources 

TAA resources are utilized to help support common systems utilized by NYSDOL and the Career Center system to provide integrated intake, case management, and reporting for our co-enrolled Trade-impacted customers.  This includes OSOS, a tab-and-button driven case management system, used to record data related to Wagner-Peyser (Labor Exchange or LEX), WIOA, and TAA programs.  For the immediate future, OSOS will continue to be used to record services provided to our TAA customers. 

PeopleSoft is fiscal accounting software that allows NYSDOL/DEWS to track allocations and spending of all programs managed by NYSDOL/DEWS, including TAA and WIOA programs.  It also allows NYSDOL to generate timely and accurate reports of fiscal activity at both the state and local levels.

The NYSDOL Website ( features a Workforce Professionals section serving as a repository for program information used by Career Center professionals.  The TAA section of this site houses all TAA program administration forms used by Career Center professionals, in addition to resources such as the TAA Desk Guide, TAA OSOS Desk Guide, TAA FAQ, and other staff capacity building material.  Additionally, career planners access employment projections in the Research & Statistics section.  In addition, the TAA program maintains a customer-facing presence on the website with TAA FAQ, Fact Sheets, and contact information to assist customers with contacting local TAA coordinators and career planners.

Additional Information

Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2015 (TAARA) went into effect on June 29, 2015.  This Act restores the group eligibility requirements and benefits available under the 2011 Amendments, re-opening eligibility to service sector workers and worker groups whose jobs are adversely affected by trade with countries that are not parties to Free Trade Agreements with the United States, including China and India.  The changes continue a seamless system of services for WIOA dislocated and trade affected workers that further enhance the positive outcomes anticipated by the amendments.  NYSDOL is currently in the process of communicating the provisions of the TAARA to the Career Center system in accordance with the Operating Instructions provided by USDOL in Training and Guidance Letter No. 7-13.

Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Awards

Entities in NYS were awarded $17.63 million in Round II of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT); $7,034,061 in Round III; and $2,499,477 in Round IV.  The NYSDOL collaborates with our awardees focusing on high-quality, high-wage jobs within the advanced manufacturing industry, and the healthcare and food service sectors.  These efforts are in addition to the work already begun by a previous (Round I) award of $19.86 million to provide academic and English language skills instruction “contextualized” to five industry sectors with the goal of engaging adult learners and helping them bypass traditional developmental education.

In Round II, NYSDOL/DEWS worked hand in hand with SUNY in 2015 to educate career planners on opportunities for TAA-eligible Career Center customers within the advanced manufacturing sector as part of an awareness campaign regarding the Training and Education in Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Educational Pathways Project.  SUNY TEAM will enable members of the SUNY Statewide Community College Collaborative to provide NYS's TAA-eligible workers and unemployed Veterans with the training and education required to find high quality, high-wage jobs within the advanced manufacturing industry sector.  With access to educational pathways aligned with advanced manufacturing industrial career pathways and third-party certifications, the TEAM Educational Pathways Project supports credential and degree attainment for participants in two years or less.

During Round III, NYSDOL/DEWS assisted award grantee and Northeast Resiliency Consortium member Kingsborough Community College (KCC) to further the work of the consortium by strengthening the college’s outreach efforts to TAA-eligible and unemployed residents of greater New York City.  NYSDOL/DEWS assisted KCC with targeted outreach and promoting occupational training in food service and Community Health Worker programs, bringing awareness to individuals who may benefit from the supportive services KCC provides and the continuing education courses in EMT, Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Medical Assistant, and Credential Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor programs.

Going Forward

Program Staff Capacity Building

NYS continues to develop an initiative to provide Trade Act specific training to workforce professionals via videos designed for independent viewing by Career Center personnel.

The cutting-edge training program uses the Adobe Captivate software to deliver engaging interactive presentations on all aspects of the Trade Act program, including the petition and entitlement processes; criteria for approval of benefits and the associated request processes and deadlines; and case management data entry instruction and detail regarding the agent/liable state relationship.

Training will address varying knowledge gaps associated with the on again/off again activity level of the Trade Act program by allowing staff to review the program details on demand at their workstations.

Participant Data Analysis

Joining forces with our Business Engagement units, Career Center staff in NYS continues to examine opportunities to re-engage our Trade Act customers who have not shown an interest in training in the past and explore ways to augment training already underway.  Key emphases include promoting OJT; offering customized job placement; testing new methods of outreach to inform customers of un-accessed benefits; and streamlining the assessment–to-approval process.

New York Office of Children and family services, Commission for the Blind (OCFS/NYSCB)

Description a: Input of the State Rehabilitation Council

OCFS/NYSCB held in-person public forums and statewide teleconferences 2016 to gather input into the development of both the NYS Combined State Plan and the VR Portion of the Combined State Plan.  Notification of the in-person public forums and statewide teleconferences was distributed to all active consumers, in their preferred format.  Other individuals and entities receiving the notice included: private agencies for individuals who are blind; Independent Living Centers; members of the OCFS/NYSCB State Rehabilitation Council (SRC); and consumer advocacy group representatives.

The proposed VR Portion of the Combined State Plan and the notification announcement of the in-person public forums and statewide teleconferences were posted on OCFS/NYSCB’s web site.  These documents were also available in alternative formats including: audio; Braille; electronic; and large print, upon request.  Public forums were held in two locations in NYS in conjunction with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), NYS Chapter conventions.  The forums and teleconferences provided opportunities for statewide public participation.  After the public comment period, the proposed plan and comments received at the forums and teleconferences were reviewed by the SRC.  The SRC also provided input into the goals and strategies set by the State Plan during one of their quarterly meetings.

For the 2018 modification of the State Plan, will be holding a statewide teleconference for input and comments from consumers and stakeholders.  The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) met on November 9, 2017 to review and provide input into the 2018 modification of the Office of Children and Family Services, NYS Commission for the Blind (OCFS/NYSCB) State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment Services.  Members of the SRC received copies of the proposed State Plan prior to and during that meeting.  OCFS/NYSCB received two written comments from the SRC; in addition to these, comments reflected below are OCFS/NYSCB’s summary of concerns that SRC members orally expresses at the November 9th meeting.

State Rehabilitation Council Goals and Objectives

The SRC and OCFS/NYSCB comprise a collaborative partnership.  SRC members include current and former participants in the OCFS/NYSCB vocational rehabilitation program; representation from SUNY/CUNY, Native American VR Programs, the National Federation of the Blind, American Council for the Blind, Statewide Workforce Investment Board, Client Assistance Program, Independent Living Centers, State Education Department, parents of children with disabilities; and representatives from business, industry and labor.  The SRC assists OCFS/NYSCB in developing and reviewing the State Plan, including OCFS/NYSCB’s goals and strategies.  The SRC provides policy advice and reviews consumer needs and satisfaction with services.

Comment 1: In Description o: State’s Strategies, the SRC would like to see Strategy 1 moved to Goal 4, Increase staff capacity to deliver quality services to consumers.

Response: OCFS/NYSCB agrees and has moved the strategy under Goal 4 in Description o: State’s Strategies.

Comment 2: In Description o: State’s Strategies, the SRC would suggested that the words “and expanded” be added to Strategy 3, to read:

Continue to foster and expand current working relationships with Office of Mental Health and the Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities on both the local and state level.

Response: OCFS/NYSCB agrees and has added the language in Strategy 3 under Goal 1, in Description o: State’s Strategies.

Comment 3: In Description o: State’s Strategies, the SRC commented that the four core partner’s agency names should be identified in Goal 2, Strategy 3.

Response: OCFS/NYSCB agrees and has added the titles of the additional core partners to Strategy 3 under Goal 2.

Comment 4: In response to Goal 3, Strategy 2, of Description o: State’s Strategies, the SRC commented that they would like to see the development of a listserv of current consumers to allow for awareness of the events discussed in this strategy to be quickly disseminated.

Response: NSYCB has not added this recommended strategy to this goal. The purpose of this goal is to promote awareness of OCFS/NYSCB services to potential participants not known to OCFS/NYSCB.

Comment 5: In Description o: State’s Strategies, the SRC noted a concern about Strategy 2, under Goal 4 that the term “blindness” should be added so that the strategy reads:

Continue employee orientation programming in all regional offices to include training on visual impairments, blindness and low vision.

Response: OCFS/NYSCB has added the term blindness in Strategy 2 under Goal 4 in Description o: State’s Strategies.

Comment 6: The SRC commented on Strategy 3 under Goal 4, and suggested some revision to reduce specificity and read as such:

Increase the regional workforce development conducted at a regional, district office level, including promoting OCFS/NYSCB with community businesses and working with providers of employment services.

Response: OCFS/NYSCB accepted this comment and updated Strategy 3 under Goal 4 to reflect the revision.

Comment 7: The SRC would like to see the addition of a goal added to Description o: State’s Strategies detailing the creation and implementation of a unified agency wide policy that ensures that consumers are given access to their entire Electronic Case File (ECF) in their preferred format.

Comment 8: The SRC would like to see goal added to Description o: State’s Strategies pertaining to the creation of an agency wide, universal policy ensuring that consumers are given access, or made aware of the availability, of their entire case record in their preferred format:

To enhance informed choice and to increase consumer awareness of how NSYCB services work, develop a statewide process by which consumers are made aware of their right to all assessments, training reports and case documents; and are provided with those documents in their preferred formats.

Comment 9: The SRC would like to see a goal added to Description o: State’s Strategies pertaining to accessibility:

Promote awareness of OCFS/NYSCB programs and services by adopting a uniform, agency wide strategy for providing all OCFS/NYSCB documents to consumers in their preferred accessible format; and by training staff in the use of this process. 

Response for Comments 7, 8 & 9: After careful review and discussion, at this time, OCFS/NYSCB will not adopt the recommendations of the SRC related to creating and implementing a policy providing consumer access to their entire ECF in their preferred format. OCFS/NYSCB continues to support active consumer involvement and participation in the Vocational Rehabilitation process and has implemented guidelines for Comprehensive Services Contractors to encourage active consumer involvement in the development of training plans and the provision of services throughout their program. Consumers can request documents from their ECF in their preferred format as needed and in accordance with OCFS/NYSCB confidentiality requirements. As per the SRC’s recommendations, OCFS/NYSCB will actively work to increase the availability of guidance to consumer’s on how to request documents and contents of their own case record, and work to make sure counselors are aware of the need to provide information in the consumer’s preferred formats.

OCFS/NYSCB intends to assess compliance through revision of the agency’s quality assurance program and will work to have the OCFS/NYSCB intake information available statewide through the NYS Library for the Blind National Library Service (NLS) cartridges.

Description b: Request for Waiver of Statewideness

NSYCB has not requested a Waiver of Statewideness.

Description c: Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Development System

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)

CSAVR’s National Employment Team (NET) provides a coordinated approach to serving business customers through business development, business consulting and corporate relations.  By establishing partnerships with businesses, OCFS/NYSCB can better match business staffing needs with the skills and interests of consumers seeking employment, as well as help business to retain employees who experience disability.  The NET provides:

·         Businesses with direct access to qualified applicants and support services from the public VR system;

·         VR consumers with access to national employment opportunities and career development resources; and

·         VR agencies with a national system for sharing employment resources, best practices and business connections.

A designated point of contact serves as the primary contact for businesses seeking to partner with OCFS/NYSCB.  In the past year, through the NET partnership, OCFS/NYSCB has shared information and job postings from federal and corporate partners with OCFS/NYSCB staff and placement partners.  In addition, OCFS/NYSCB has distributed NET-shared information on a number of internship and skill camp opportunities for high school and college students.

An exciting development with the NET is the development of a Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) through which businesses can identify qualified job candidates with disabilities.  The portal that went live in August 2014 has provided consumers and counselors the opportunity to create individualized job searches, post resumes, and communicate with businesses through the system.  Counselors are able to track individual job seekers efforts and success, and VR managers are also to see how the system is assisting with job placements. Businesses with national footprints including Key Bank, Walgreens, Pfizer, BJC Healthcare, ch2m, Raytheon, Quest Diagnostics and Wells Fargo, have begun to sign on, to use the TAP system to allocate employees for various positions.  Priority is given to increasing the number of nationwide businesses participating in the use of the TAP to develop their workforce. 

Working with Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP)

OCFS/NYSCB works closely with its community rehabilitation partners to create opportunities for successful careers for its consumers who are legally blind.  This partnership is most visible in the annual Vision Rehabilitation Institute, which is planned jointly by OCFS/NYSCB and CRP staff together for training and networking on issues related to workforce development.

OCFS/NYSCB implemented a new 5-year vocational evaluation and placement contract which began January 1, 2015.  Thirty-Four awardees were selected around the state.  The awardees include agencies for individuals who are blind, agencies that provide services to individuals with disabilities, independent living centers, and individually owned businesses, affording consumers greater choice in selecting an appropriate provider.  New guidelines for these services were developed and distributed and joint training sessions for OCFS/NYSCB staff and providers were held in Spring 2015.

As the current Assistive Technology Services contract enters its fourth year, OCFS/NYSCB will review its assessment and training protocols with providers so that the training provided is in line with current practice and continuing advances in assistive technology.  OCFS/NYSCB continues to provide assistive technology services and devices to individuals through six Assistive Technology Center (ATC) contracts, covering seven areas.  Consumers who are deaf-blind can receive assessment and training at the adaptive technology center located at Helen Keller National Center in Sands Point. Consumers who are unable to access technology services at an ATC may receive services through private vendors located throughout the state.  All approved assistive technology contractors and vendors and the services they offer are listed on the OCFS/NYSCB website,

Adaptive technology centers are required to have an array of equipment available for the consumer to review during the assessment process. Training is then customized to the consumer’s need both in terms of hardware and software.

Two OCFS/NYSCB loan closets also provide statewide access to loaner equipment while a consumer is awaiting delivery of equipment purchased for them for school or employment.

OCFS/NYSCB continues to encourage development of vocational training programs that meet the requirements of business and will work with providers to create and approve curricula, especially in fields with jobs in demand where vocational training has not previously been available.  OCFS/NYSCB continues to support community rehabilitation providers in the development of pre-vocational programs beginning with youth at age ten and continuing through the transition years.  These programs will provide both variety and increasing complexity so that youth are well prepared for post-secondary education and training.

Partnership Plus

In Spring 2014, OCFS/NYSCB entered into a Partnership Plus agreement with the Research Foundation for Mental Health.  Partnership Plus assures that consumers with a Social Security Ticket to Work are able to obtain the services they need from OCFS/NYSCB and that as they complete their services with OCFS/NYSCB, they are given access to broad network of community providers from whom they can select to coordinate issues related to Social Security payments and other benefits and services.

NYS PROMISE Initiative

OCFS/NYSCB is on the steering committee for NYS PROMISE (Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income), a research project developed to improve transition-to-adulthood outcomes for eligible youth who receive supplemental security income (SSI).  This five-year initiative strives to increase access to services for eligible youth and their families to improve academic and employment outcomes, increase financial stability, and reduce reliance on SSI.  The priority for the steering committee is to engage local and state partners in defining a broad strategic approach that starts to describe a system of person and family centered intervention.  OCFS/NYSCB actively participates in the steering committee to assess services that are provided to legally blind students through other NYS organizations.

Meeting the Needs of Special Populations

OCFS/NYSCB staff participates in educational webinars and networking events presented by the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative.  The Collaborative serves as a resource to deaf-blind youth, families and professionals, providing technical assistance (program development and support) to improve services for children and youth who are deaf-blind (ages 0-21).

OCFS/NYSCB remains a member of the Interagency Council for Services to Persons who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, or Hard of Hearing formed to coordinate the collection of information on population needs, engage in comprehensive strategic planning and prepare legislative and policy recommendations to the Governor and the State Legislature.

Cooperation with National Industries for Individuals Who Are Blind

OCFS/NYSCB has designated the NYS Preferred Source Program for People who are Blind, a subsidiary of the National Industries for the Blind (NIB), as its designee for NYS Preferred-Source products.  The creation of service sector jobs is highlighted as a priority in the Letter of Designation (LOD).

OCFS/NYSCB encourages NIB associated agencies to provide needed work experience and skill training to enable individuals to seek competitive employment in an integrated setting.

Cooperative Agreement with Recipients of Grants for Services to American Indians

OCFS/NYSCB continues to act as a partner with the Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (SNI TVR) Program.  The partnership represents both parties’ commitment to mutual cooperation, coordination and collaboration to increase vocational opportunities for members of the Seneca Nation of Indians who are legally blind.  It establishes shared values, outlines how services will be coordinated and how members of both organizations will participate in cross-training activities.  The collaborative relationship between the OCFS/NYSCB Buffalo District Office and the SNI TVR Program has increased awareness, acceptance, and utilization of OCFS/NYSCB services.  OCFS/NYSCB maintains a relationship in which referrals are handled in a timely and culturally sensitive manner.  OCFS/NYSCB staff conducts in-service training with agencies on the Cattaraugus Reservation, and works closely with staff of the Salamanca satellite of the Section 121 program and with the Area Office for the Aging on the reservation.  OCFS/NYSCB staff serves on the Section 121 Project Advisory Board, which meets monthly.  OCFS/NYSCB further supports the activities of the Section 121 Tribal VR Program through the delivery of state-funded services to children and elderly individuals, allowing them to better focus resources on tribal members seeking employment.

State Programs Carried Out Under Section 4 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998

OCFS/NYSCB equipment loan closets are a collaborative effort with the TRAID program managed by the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.   The loan closets provide short and long-term equipment loans to OCFS/NYSCB consumers who need equipment quickly while waiting to receive their purchased equipment or who need equipment for a specific time limited period.  The Director of the NYS TRAID program is a member of the OCFS/NYSCB State Rehabilitation Council and provides a valuable link between the TRAID programs and OCFS/NYSCB.

Programs Carried Out by the Undersecretary for Rural Development

OCFS/NYSCB has not had an active working relationship with programs carried out by the Under Secretary for Rural Development and will look into opportunities for future collaboration to determine whether opportunities for New Yorkers who are blind are available.

Noneducational Agencies Serving Out-of-School Youth

Placement services continue to be a priority for OCFS/NYSCB.  A workgroup consisting of both OCFS/NYSCB and provider staff developed new expectations and requirements for delivery of placement assistance which will enhance delivery of job seeking, job development, and other employment services.  OCFS/NYSCB and a workgroup representing its major community rehabilitation partners continue to meet periodically throughout the year to discuss how to deliver quality programming to consumers.  OCFS/NYSCB and community provider staff continues to meet annually at the Vision Rehabilitation Institute to learn and discuss issues related to blindness and employment. OCFS/NYSCB works closely with the Chapter 515 programs to provide supported employment services to consumers including out-of-school youth.   OCFS/NYSCB district office staff has relationships with local social service agencies that provide essential services to out-of-school youth.  This relationship provides an opportunity for referrals of individuals who are legally blind to OCFS/NYSCB for vocational services and a reciprocal referral opportunity when out-of-school youth involved with OCFS/NYSCB need the services provided through the state social service network.   OCFS/NYSCB will continue to work to develop relationships with other non-educational agencies serving out-of-school youth so that youth who are legally blind who are eligible for VR services can receive those services. 

State Use Contracting Programs

OCFS/NYSCB accesses goods and services through the NYS Preferred Source Program (NYSPSP) for People Who Are Blind. NYSPSP for People who are Blind is a state-mandated initiative to create and sustain employment opportunities for New Yorkers who are blind or visually impaired. State and local agencies are required to purchase products and services that appear on the Preferred Source List through NYSPSP. These commodities are produced by affiliated nonprofit agencies in NYS that employ people who are blind or visually impaired.  Agencies are required to purchase from the preferred source program in the products and services meet their needs and are comparatively priced. 

Description d: Coordination with Education Officials

OCFS/NYSCB works with students, families and school districts to facilitate the coordination of transition services for students who are legally blind and transitioning from school to the world of adult responsibilities and work.  OCFS/NYSCB recognizes that these efforts are critical to enable students to achieve maximum success in employment, post-secondary education, independent living, and community participation and is committed to being an active partner in the transition process.  Making the transition from school to the adult world requires careful planning and a cooperative effort among families, school staff and community service providers.  Planning helps students, their families and school districts design services to maximize the student’s years in school to prepare for full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.

The OCFS/NYSCB vocational rehabilitation (VR) program serves eligible transition aged students ages ten years and older by providing an array of services that give students the tools necessary to enable them to make informed decisions about their future goals.  The youth and his or her parents work with the OCFS/NYSCB counselor to set academic and career goals and put a plan in motion to meet those goals.  This often includes gaining work experience before graduating from high school, as well as learning self-advocacy and independent living skills that help lead to future success. 

The Transition Policy was recently revised.  The policy provides information about the requirements, roles and responsibilities of VR in preparing students with disabilities for eventual employment. It includes updated information regarding pre-employment transition services and outlines the role of the vocational rehabilitation counselor as an active participant in the transition planning process.  OCFS/NYSCB’s responsibilities lie primarily in providing technical consultation to schools and preparing students for permanent employment.  OCFS/NYSCB staff use their knowledge and experience to influence schools to provide services needed to prepare students to participate in postsecondary, employment and community living outcomes. 

Some of the ways OCFS/NYSCB works with school personnel in the transition process include:

1.     Sharing knowledge of rehabilitation services and outcomes;

2.     Identifying the need for involvement by other state agencies, adult service programs, independent living centers, and community based services whose resources can assist students who are legally blind, their families, and education personnel during the transition planning and service delivery process;

3.     Providing information to assist in the selection of vocational goals that are consistent with labor market needs and integrated community living opportunities, including information about:

a.       Work site accommodations;

b.       Business expectations;

c.       Labor trends and occupational outlooks;

d.       Job entry qualifications;

e.       Job placement analysis;

f.        Work opportunities;

g.       And other vocationally-related issues.

OCFS/NYSCB supports the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) from the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments which includes skills that are not part of the core curriculum of reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies.  The ECC is the body of knowledge and skills needed by students with vision loss in order to be successful in schools and in post-graduate pursuits as a result of unique, disability-related needs. 

OCFS/NYSCB Children’s Consultants and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors will continue to emphasize to school district personnel, the importance of integrating the ECC into standard academic instruction and routine daily tasks, and encourage school staff to work closely with itinerant vision teachers and staff from local private agencies for individuals who are blind to provide the comprehensive services needed by students. 

Formal Interagency Agreement with the State Educational Agency

OCFS/NYSCB will be revising the current State Education Agency (SEA) Agreement.  The Joint Agreement between the P-12 Office of Special Education and OCFS/NYSCB will provide an overview of the purpose, objectives and joint responsibilities of each party in the provision of transition services for students who are legally blind.

Specifically, the new agreement will include:

·         Information regarding pre-employment transition services

·         Delineates that the responsibilities of OCFS/NYSCB include providing consultation and technical assistance to assist educational agencies in planning for the transition of youth from school to post-school activities;

·         Delineates the responsibilities of each party with respect to transition planning in order to facilitate the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student;

·         Articulates the financial responsibilities of each agency involved in the transition process; and

·         Includes the procedures for outreach to, and identification of, students with disabilities in need of transition services.

·         Documentation requirements with regard to students with disabilities who are seeking subminimum wage employment and an

·         Assurance that neither the SEA nor the LEA will enter into an arrangement with an entity holding a special wage certificate.

Roles and Responsibilities

The joint agreement clarifies that school districts have the primary planning and programmatic responsibilities for the provision of transition services for their students in school.  School districts are financially responsible for transition services mandated for school districts by federal or state statutes and regulations.  OCFS/NYSCB personnel currently consult with schools to see that adult services are part of the planning and decision-making process for students with disabilities in transition.  OCFS/NYSCB is responsible only for services written into the IEP by the Committee on Special Education with the direct knowledge and agreement of the OCFS/NYSCB counselor.  Transition services for youth are to be aligned with labor market needs, integrated community living opportunities, and coordinated with the adult world to facilitate employment, post-secondary education, and community living outcomes.  OCFS/NYSCB may be consulted for vocational evaluation interpretation, occupational opportunities, decision making with the Committee on Special Education, coordination with adult services, peer counseling, role modeling and job placement analysis.  OCFS/NYSCB will provide pre-employment transition services if they are beyond the scope of the special education program and within the scope of VR services.  Assessments for in-school youth may be purchased by OCFS/NYSCB when existing assessments fail to provide adequate information for the counselor to determine OCFS/NYSCB eligibility or to develop plans for OCFS/NYSCB services.  In addition, if the student needs specific vocational services to prepare for employment upon exiting school, OCFS/NYSCB will fund these services. 

Consultation and Technical Assistance

OCFS/NYSCB staff is required to consult with school personnel to assist in recommending assessment practices and interpreting results in relation to employment.  OCFS/NYSCB counselors assist the school by identifying resources in the community that are familiar with blindness and that offer comprehensive assessments. 

As a participant in the school’s transition process, OCFS/NYSCB staff is encouraged to contribute knowledge of rehabilitation services and outcomes, and to discuss post-school plans with the youth, family and school personnel.

Procedures for Outreach

A standardized process has been implemented for school district referrals.  OCFS/NYSCB collaborates with school districts and other state agencies to facilitate a coordinated approach for the provision of transition services and to eliminate the duplication of assessment, services and reporting.  The agreement specifically states that schools are responsible for the coordination of educational programs, including transition planning, programs and services that prepare students who are legally blind for adult living, learning and earning.  OCFS/NYSCB can provide transition services that involve preparing for the students’ future employment.

Plans, policies and procedures for coordination with education officials and roles and responsibilities of each agency

The OCFS/NYSCB transition policy states that as a participant in the school’s transition planning process, OCFS/NYSCB staff should contribute knowledge of rehabilitation services and outcomes, and identify the need for involvement by other state agencies, adult service programs, independent living centers, and community based services whose resources can assist students who are legally blind, their families, and education personnel during the transition process.  It also states that OCFS/NYSCB is responsible only for services written into the IEP by the Committee on Special Education with the direct knowledge and agreement of the OCFS/NYSCB counselor.  Financial responsibility for services, other than those which are mandated for school districts by federal or state statute or regulation, may be shared by other agencies, including OCFS/NYSCB. 

Cooperative efforts between the schools and OCFS/NYSCB take place on a daily basis at the district office level.  OCFS/NYSCB Children’s Consultants provide schools with technical support, help parents learn to advocate effectively for their children, and purchase services to supplement those that school districts are required to provide.  As the student nears transition age, the OCFS/NYSCB Children’s Consultants’ familiarity with particular students allows for a more effective transition to the vocational rehabilitation program.  In cooperation with the school and community agencies, OCFS/NYSCB vocational rehabilitation counselors encourage and help individuals to live more independently and develop meaningful employment plans.  During school years, OCFS/NYSCB counselors can provide vocational guidance and counseling, resource information, and the preparation of post high school service plans.  In addition, OCFS/NYSCB counselors may be able to provide job related occupational tools, purchase low vision aids, assist in obtaining employment and facilitate summer employment.

OCFS/NYSCB currently employs eight vocational rehabilitation counselors who work exclusively with transition age youth.  The transition counselors provide educational guidance to OCFS/NYSCB vocational rehabilitation counselors and encourage student and parent involvement in the transition process.  Brochures describing OCFS/NYSCB services have been widely distributed.  The brochures are available in regular print, large print and Braille (upon request) and electronically.  A publication called “Transition: A Guide for Parents and Students” has been developed and distributed to families and school personnel.  OCFS/NYSCB staff frequently visit transition career fairs and attend high school open houses and present information about OCFS/NYSCB at college programs held on college campuses.  In addition, staff participate in transition conferences and works closely with many staff from local school districts to reinforce the mission of VR, explain the role VR plays in the transition process, and discuss VR policies and procedures.

The OCFS/NYSCB Transition Policy requires that the student’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) be developed within 90 days of eligibility determination.  Information on the IPE should be consistent with the content of the IEP, including vocational goals, educational and rehabilitation objectives, projected dates and responsibilities for participation in the transition process.  OCFS/NYSCB transition counselors have received training on this policy requirement and on the requirements of coordinating the IPE with the IEP.  All OCFS/NYSCB transition counselors have been actively developing employment plans for youth. 

OCFS/NYSCB Transition Counselors also work closely with NYS Education Department Transition Specialists who work at one of ten Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers (RSE-TASC) throughout the state.  The RSE-TASC was established to act as a coordinated statewide network of special education technical assistance centers.  RSE-TASC provides training targeted for parents, school districts and other agency providers on topics such as transition and the IEP, measurable post-secondary goals and work-based learning.

The New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative

The New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative (NYDBC) is a five-year (10/1/2013 to 9/30/2018) federally funded project which provides technical assistance to improve services for children and youth who are deaf-blind (ages 0-21).  The NYDBC is housed at Queens College in Flushing, New York and is funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (USDOL/OSEP).  OCFS/NYSCB has agreed to collaborate on specific initiatives with NYDBC.  Specifically, OCFS/NYSCB assisted NYDBC in disseminating a state-wide needs assessment to increase the early identification of children who are deaf-blind in NYS.  OCFS/NYSCB staff also receive considerable technical assistance and training from NYDBC that will increase knowledge and skills in addressing the developmental and educational needs of children who are deaf-blind.  OCFS/NYSCB will also be involved in collaborative relationships with local, regional and statewide teams (as necessary) to support and improve systems to better serve children and youth.

Description e: Cooperative Agreements with Private Non-Profit Organizations

OCFS/NYSCB establishes cooperative agreements primarily with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers for assessment and training services through three types of outcomes-based contracts: comprehensive services, assistive technology services, and vocational evaluation/placement services.  Contractors provide agreed upon assessment and training services within a specific geographic area.  Where an individual’s needs call for specialized services outside the scope of these contracts, or where there is no service available in a particular geographic area, OCFS/NYSCB district offices seek out additional providers and develop local agreements to obtain the services. 

Comprehensive contract services are designed to assist consumers with a goal of employment to develop or improve the basic skills they need to successfully seek and maintain employment.  For some, this may begin with a referral for low vision services.  Providers assess each consumer to determine their unique needs.  The assessment is followed by services which may include comprehensive and integrated training in basic life skills for preparation for competitive or supported employment, along with pre-vocational (for transition age youth) and vocational training services to prepare consumers to seek employment and enter the workforce.

OCFS/NYSCB initiated new five-year contracts for comprehensive services for individuals who are blind on January 1, 2014.  Changes recommended by the workgroup were incorporated into new contract guidelines and were released to contractors and made available on OCFS/NYSCB’s website.  Training on the new guidelines was held OCFS/NYSCB regions.  Updated guidelines were posted to the OCFS/NYSCB website,, and are revised as needed. 

New vocational evaluation/job placement contracts were implemented January 1, 2015.  Thirty-four providers were approved statewide.

Assistive technology contract services provide consumers with computer and/or computer-related technical training leading to employment.  In Fall 2012, ATC contracts were awarded, through a RFP process, in seven areas of the state: Buffalo, Rochester, Central New York, Capital District, Hudson Valley, New York City, and Hempstead, Long Island for the period January 2013-December 2017.  Consumers referred for computer technology services participate in assessment and training to prepare them for post-secondary education, vocational training, and employment.  Consumers have an opportunity to view a wide selection of appropriate hardware and adaptive software, and have input into the development of an equipment recommendation that will meet their individual needs.

OCFS/NYSCB and Helen Keller National Center have entered into discussions designed to enhance their current outcome-based contract and improve services to individuals who are deaf-blind in the areas of basic skills, technology, and vocational services.

In 2012 OCFS/NYSCB began entering into agreements with nonprofit organizations for the provision of benefits advisement services.  Fifteen vendors have been approved for the provision of benefits advisement services throughout NYS.  Providers of these services include agencies chartered primarily for provision of services to individuals who are blind, independent living centers, and other agencies that have engaged staff who are trained and certified by the Social Security Administration, by the Cornell Institute of Labor Relations, or by Virginia Commonwealth University.  Many of these providers offer advisement not only on Social Security benefits, but also on a host of other benefits which may be affected by entering employment. 

Description f: Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

The purpose of the OCFS/NYSCB’s supported employment program is to enable individuals with the most significant disabilities to achieve and maintain competitive employment in their communities.  OCFS/NYSCB continues to serve all eligible individuals who need supported employment services, with a goal of placing as many individuals as possible in employment.   In Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, 27 individuals received supported employment services.  A total of eight consumers were successfully placed in supported competitive employment and transitioned to extended supported employment services (an increase of four from FY 2015). The average hourly wage slightly increased from $8.87/hr. to $9.72/hr., and the average number of hours worked per week increased from 18 to 21.6.  Referrals decreased from 24 to 12.

OCFS/NYSCB has four primary goals for FY2018: the first is to increase the number of individuals placed in supported employment to at least the level of 2012 (20); the second is to maintain hourly wages to at least $8.95/hr.; the third is to maintain the average number of hours worked at a minimum of 23 hrs./week; and the fourth is to increase referrals.  In NYS, the administrative responsibility for supported employment programs is consolidated in the Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (NYSED/ACCES-VR), as established in accordance with Section 3, Chapter 515 of the Laws of New York of 1992.  NYSED/ACCES-VR incorporated supported employment into its new Core Rehabilitation Services Contract effective January 1, 2014.  Supported Employment is now an outcome based-funded model.  OCFS/NYSCB works cooperatively with NYSED/ACCES-VR to provide opportunities for supported employment across the state.  OCFS/NYSCB and NYSED/ACCES-VR will be having quarterly meetings to review the new model.  OCFS/NYSCB staff have been trained on the new outcome contracts, and additional training will be implemented as needed. 

Because blindness is a low incidence disability, OCFS/NYSCB continues to be challenged in anticipating service needs and distributing the limited funds available.  The lack of extended services funds further limits the number of individuals who can enter intensive supported employment services.  OCFS/NYSCB plans to work more closely with NYSED/ACCES-VR in the future to determine the distribution of funds available for intensive and extended services, while providing information and training to enable staff to better access extended services through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) or Office of Mental Health (OMH), as appropriate. 

OCFS/NYSCB does not currently provide extended supported employment services.  If extended services are provided to youth with the most significant disabilities in the future, they would be provided for a period not to exceed four years.  OCFS/NYSCB currently works directly with OPWDD and OMH to transition to extended supported employment services prior to the 24-month limitation of supported employment intensive services.  

OCFS/NYSCB continues to maintain case management, program monitoring and oversight responsibilities for the supported employment services provided to OCFS/NYSCB consumers.  Service providers regularly provide OCFS/NYSCB with individual consumer reports, and OCFS/NYSCB staff meets regularly with providers and consumers.

OCFS/NYSCB will continue to work with NYSED/ACCES-VR to assess performance on an ongoing basis, participate in on-site reviews, and provide technical assistance or recommend adjustments to contracts as needed. 

OCFS/NYSCB, with NYSED/ACCES-VR, continues to take a close look at supported employment caseloads to utilize Title VI-B funds in the most effective manner to assist individuals with most significant disabilities in obtaining competitive employment. 

Counselors have been instructed to:

·         Conduct comprehensive assessments, including situational assessments, prior to referral for supported employment services in order to increase the likelihood that individuals referred for supported employment will benefit from it.  This also allows intensive service dollars to be focused more on job development, placement and training and should allow individuals to complete the intensive phase more quickly.

·         Consider the use of natural supports following employment and start to establish eligibility for extended services at the beginning of the planning process.  This will maximize the use of limited NYSED/ACCES-VR funding for extended services.

Provider agencies have been instructed to regularly review cases to determine which consumers no longer require extended services due to their increased experience and confidence, and the availability of natural supports.

During the past year, OCFS/NYSCB has worked with other members of the Chapter 515 Implementation Team to improve the delivery of supported employment services.  Specifically, the team has:

·         Shared information about program revisions within each agency’s service delivery system; and

·         Reviewed data to monitor the effectiveness of supported employment services.

Description g: Coordination with Businesses

OCFS/NYSCB has established mechanisms to enable transition age youth to access paid work experiences during their teenage years.  OCFS/NYSCB Transition Counselors will continue to work closely with students and businesses to develop appropriate integrated work experiences in local communities.  Counselors will also work closely with school staff to coordinate work experiences for students.  Job coaching services will be provided when the vocational rehabilitation counselor has determined that the services are necessary for the individual to benefit from the work experience.  Many private agencies for individuals who are blind in NYS have developed pre-vocational programs that assist youth in vocational clarification, job seeking skills, the development of appropriate on-the-job behavior, interviewing preparation and resume writing.  Most summer work experiences that have been developed through partnerships with OCFS/NYSCB staff, local businesses, and staff of private agencies for individuals who are blind consist of four days of work, followed by a day of role playing and discussion about various work situations.  Through work experiences it is expected that transition age youth will be able to experience work life, explore careers and fields of interest, and access spending money.

OCFS/NYSCB will work to increase outreach to businesses and develop relationships that lead to increased opportunities for individuals who are legally blind.  OCFS/NYSCB is a member of the National Employment Team (NET) through the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR).  CSAVR’s NET provides a coordinated approach to serving business customers through business development, business consulting and corporate relations.  By establishing partnerships with businesses, OCFS/NYSCB will better match business staffing needs with the skills and interests of consumers seeking employment, as well as help business to retain employees who are legally blind.  OCFS/NYSCB will continue to develop the connections between both CSAVR as well as businesses.

OCFS/NYSCB also connects with businesses on a regional level through direct outreach by district managers and district office staff.  Regional and small businesses are best accessed through a regional approach and local OCFS/NYSCB staff that live and work in the community are often the best resource.  District offices will continue to develop relationships with businesses through internships, Work Experience Training opportunities and Work Try-Outs.  OCFS/NYSCB will also continue to collaborate with NYSED/ACCES-VR Regional Workforce Coordinators to connect with businesses that have interest in working with VR program individuals.  OCFS/NYSCB has held collaborative meetings with local businesses human resources hiring managers, and will continue to foster these relationships through ongoing meetings on a regional basis.  OCFS/NYSCB will use these connections to make matches between consumer’s skills and local job openings.

Description h: Interagency Cooperation

OCFS/NYSCB collaborates with the Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and Office of Mental Health (OMH) in the provision of employment and supported employment services.  OCFS/NYSCB plans to work to increase collaboration and communications with partner state agencies and will focus on sharing specific knowledge and expertise in the area of vision loss.  The encouragement of a multi-disciplinary approach will be promoted at both a regional and state level. 

OCFS/NYSCB will encourage staff to provide in-service presentations for OPWDD and OMH staff regarding blindness, vision rehabilitation therapy, Orientation and Mobility (O&M), as well as job site accommodations.  OCFS/NYSCB recognizes that collaboration with these partner state agencies is integral to the employment success of individuals served by multiple agencies.  These partners are currently collaborating on Governor Cuomo’s Employment First initiative and have already begun to address barriers that currently exist in the provision of services between agencies.  OCFS/NYSCB will continue to participate in these initiatives advocating for individuals who are legally blind receiving OCFS/NYSCB services and will continue to work to provide seamless services to consumers in conjunction with our partner state agencies.

Description i: Comprehensive System of Personnel Development: Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development

This plan outlines strategies to update staff credentials so that all staff meets the highest academic standards for their profession.

Number of Personnel Employed

As of October 2017, OCFS/NYSCB employees totaled 128 individuals, with 125 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff in seven district offices and the home office. The fill level of OCFS/NYSCB is 127 FTE staff. Therefore, the identified vacant positions below that are identified as OCFS/NYSCB having the capacity to fill only two positions currently, any additional staff above two FTE must be meet with a corresponding decrease in another area or office.  The total number of field staff was 71, with 7 positions vacant.  Approximately 3000 legally blind individuals are active in the Vocational Rehabilitation program at any given time.  The average caseload is 67 consumers per VRC.

Of the