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. 4

Economic, Workforce and Development Activities Analysis. 4

Workforce Development Activities. 16

Operational Planning Elements. 26

State Board.. 26

Implementation of Strategy. 27

State Operating Systems and Policies. 51

Program Data. 69

Program-Specific Requirements. 76

Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth Activities. 76

Adult Education and Academic Standards. 90

Wagner-Peyser. 97

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) 108

New York Office of Children and family services, Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) 115

Attachment 4.2(c) Summary of the Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council. 115

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment System... 118

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials. 122

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations  125

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. 126

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates. 130

Attachment 4.11(c)(4) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds. 131

Attachment 4.11(d) State's Strategies. 132

Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion.. 138

Coordination with Businesses. 144

Interagency Cooperation.. 145

New York Office of Adult career and continuing education services, vocational rehabilitation.. 145

Input of State Rehabilitation Council. 145

Request for Waiver of Statewideness. 149

Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Development System. 149

Coordination with Education Officials. 150

Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations. 153

Arrangements and Cooperative Agreements for the Provision of Supported Employment Services. 154

Coordination with Businesses. 155

Interagency Cooperation.. 156

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development; Data System on Personnel and Personnel Development. 158

Assurances. 190

Common Assurances (for all core programs) 190

Title I-B Assurances. 194

Wagner-Peyser Assurances. 196

Adult Basic Education and Literacy Programs Certifications And Assurances. 197

New York State Office of Children and Family Services. 204

Vocational Rehabilitation Certifications And Assurances. 204

Vocational Rehabilitation Certifications and Assurances. 208

Glossary of Terms. 214

Appendices. 218

Appendix 1: WIOA Organizational Chart. 218

Appendix 2: Performance Goals for the Core Programs. 219


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:

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.

Services will 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 is able to 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 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 State 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.


The Core Programs are required to regularly report to the Federal government and public on program performance to keep the system accountable and transparent in the pursuit of the State’s workforce vision and goals.  Although WIA also required performance reporting, WIOA seeks to improve accountability across all core programs by requiring that they report on a set of uniform measures.  At the onset of WIOA implementation, setting of performance goals for programs without an institutional history of these measures or an established method for collecting needed data to report these measures will be a challenge.  The Core Programs are working to share existing data collection and analysis methods to identify and establish good data sources and to work through necessary administrative clearances to meet new WIOA requirements.  In particular, programs under Titles II and IV of WIOA are in the process of gathering the necessary information to establish valid and reliable data for the required performance measures.  The preliminary performance goals that have already been established are included in Appendix 2, Table 1.


The Federal Government uses the primary indicators of performance as the main assessment of the effectiveness of the State workforce development system.  In addition to these, NYS has developed intermediary performance indicators designed to support the primary indicators and system goals.  The intermediary indicators are designed to improve communication between system partners, leverage new technologies NYS has developed, or influence the behavior of frontline staff in New York State 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 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 2014-15.  Once final NRS and WIOA performance guidance is released, NYSED will continue to refine measurable skill gain targets for 2015-16, including definitions of measures and approved assessments for individuals with a barrier to employment “who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers.” 

In 2016-17, Adult Education and Family Literacy will work out procedures to comply with WIOA in a number of areas, pending final federal guidance.  This includes gaining access to the Unemployment Insurance database at NYSDOL and adapting the NYSED reporting data system and reporting requirements with final mandates.  Seven Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) centers and the NRS accountability specialist, funded with WIOA leadership funds, are prepared to mount professional development and training with all WIOA funded program coordinators, teachers, case managers, and data staff.  With regard to changes in the NRS system, including possible shortening of the deadline for federal reporting, ACCES-Adult Education Policies and Programs will take steps to comply with required deadlines and will develop the necessary state level policies and mandates as well as mount statewide training by the NRS accountability specialist, the RAENS, and NYC Literacy Assistance Center, which administers the ASISTS data reporting system.  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, New York State, November 2015


SOC Code


Registered Nurses



Retail Salespersons



Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers



Marketing Managers



First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers



Software Developers, Applications



Computer User Support Specialists



Customer Service Representatives



Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants



Web Developers



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 particular occupations and industries are currently in demand. 

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

·         Ten occupations had at least 5,000 openings in New York State in November 2015. 

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

·         The occupations most in demand in New York State in November 2015, according to online advertised job openings, are: Registered Nurses (9,624); Retail Salespersons (8,381); Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers (8,029); and Marketing Managers (7,872).


Industry Sectors with Largest Number of Online Ads, New York State, November 2015

Industry Sector



Administrative and Support Services



Professional, Scientific and Technical Services



Health Care and Social Assistance



Retail Trade



Finance and Insurance






Educational Services






Wholesale Trade



Other Services



Source: Help Wanted Online

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

·         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 November 2015. 

·         The industry sectors with the highest current demand for workers include: Administrative and Support Services (23,623); Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (20,912); Health Care and Social Assistance (20,561); Retail Trade (18,388); and Finance and Insurance (14,032).

Industries with Largest Number of Online Ads, Upstate and Downstate New York, November 2015


SOC Code

Occupational Title

Number of Online Job Ads

Upstate New York



Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers




Registered Nurses




Retail Salespersons




First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers




Customer Service Representatives




Computer User Support Specialists




First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers




First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers




Social and Human Service Assistants




Maintenance and Repair Workers, General


Total Ads (Top 10)


Total Ads (Upstate Region)


Downstate New York



Marketing Managers




Software Developers, Applications




Registered Nurses




Web Developers




Financial Managers, Branch or Department




Retail Salespersons




Management Analysts




Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants




Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists






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 one occupation is common to both top ten lists: registered nurse.  This shows that RNs are in demand everywhere in the state.

·         The quantity of online ad in the Downstate area (170,597) is greater than the number in the Upstate area (131,757).

Emerging Demand Industry Sectors and Occupations

Emerging Industries in New York State

Industry Code (NAICS)

Industry Title


(2nd Qtr.) Jobs

Projected 2016

(2nd Qtr.)







Beverage And Tobacco Product Manufacturing






Warehousing and Storage






Software Publishing






Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals





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

Analysts with the Division of Research and Statistics identified four emerging industries in New York State, based on short-term industry projections spanning the 2014-2016 period.  This set of emerging industries covers three broad industry sectors including:  manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; and information.

The four emerging industries had combined statewide employment of 57,400 in the second quarter of 2014.  The two industries with the most employment in the second quarter of 2014 were Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals (21,778) and Warehousing and Storage (21,350).  The total job count at the four emerging industries is expected to rise by 13,400, or 23.4%, between 2014 and 2016.  This percentage rate of increase is more than 20 percentage points greater than the state’s projected overall increase in jobs (+2.6%) over the 2014-2016 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 38% to 55% 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 %


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



Retail Salespersons



Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders



Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand



Industrial Machinery Mechanics


Total, Top 5 Occupations


Source: Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey


One of New York State’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) with the number of manufacturers more than doubling since 2011.

Expanding the state’s craft beverage manufacturing industry has been a focal point of economic development efforts by Governor Cuomo as evidenced by several statewide “beverage summits.”  These efforts have been quite successful, and can be attributed to a number of initiatives, such as the Craft Act of 2014.  This change in law reduced barriers to entry, eliminated burdensome regulations and secured promotional funding for craft beverage manufacturers.

As a result of the economic development efforts described above and the surging popularity of craft beverages, industry employment is projected to grow by 9.3%, from 8,130 to 8,890, between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2016.


Warehousing and Storage (NAICS 493)

Top 5 Occupations in the Warehousing and Storage Industry

Occupational Code (SOC)

Occupational Title

Share of Industry Employment %


Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand



Packers and Packagers, Hand



Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators



Stock Clerks and Order Fillers



Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks


Total, Top 5 Occupations


Source: Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey


There are several reasons why employment is projected to grow in New York State’s Warehousing and Storage industry.  The first is the state’s advantageous geographic location. New York is situated in a critical location, between the New England and Middle Atlantic regions.  The second is the rise of e-commerce, and the consequent increase in demand for storage and warehousing services.  Businesses are adopting new technology to increase speed and productivity.  A third factor is ongoing growth in the U.S. warehousing and storage market, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 7.0% (CAGR) between 2015 and 2019.

Growth in the Warehousing and Storage industry is closely tied to the downstream markets of Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade.  In addition to storing goods and materials, Warehousing and Storage provides a wide range of value-added services, such as assortment and sorting, packaging and labeling and logistics along with other SCM (supply chain management) services.

Software Publishing (NAICS 5112)

Top 5 Occupations in the Software Publishing Industry

Occupational Code (SOC)

Occupational Title

Share of Industry Employment %


Software Developers, Applications



Software Developers, Systems Software



Computer User Support Specialists



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



Computer Programmers


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 -- New York’s software publishers are flourishing.  In fact, employment in the industry grew by 44.6% from June 2011 to June 2015.  Looking ahead, the industry’s statewide employment count is projected to grow by 47.5% (from 6,179 to 9,115) between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2016, which is the most rapid of any of the four emerging industries analyzed here.

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 2014 and the second quarter of 2016, industry employment is projected to increase by 38.2% (from 21,780 to 30,100), the second most rapid growth rate among our four 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 115,000 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.

As a result, to date the NYS Career Center system had over 65,000 business customers in Program Year 2014, and conducted outreach to over 80,000 businesses over the past two years.  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 (1,668 in 2015); Career fairs (111 in 2015); and On-the-Job Training hiring incentives.

Workforce Analysis

Employment and Unemployment

In November 2015, New York State’s private sector job count increased by 13,100, or 0.2%, to 7,869,600, a new record high, according to preliminary figures.  Since January 2013, the state’s economy has added an average of 13,200 private sector jobs per month.  Under Governor Cuomo, New York State’s economy has added 759,300 private sector jobs and experienced employment growth in 51 of the past 59 months.

The statewide unemployment rate was 4.8% in November 2015.  The rate is significant because it is the state’s lowest since before the state’s recession (April 2008-November 2009), and is below the comparable U.S. rate of 5.0% in November 2015.

Labor Market Trends

During the state’s economic recovery and expansion, which started in November 2009, three industry sectors -- Educational & Health Services (+273,900), Professional & Business Services (+184,800), and Leisure & Hospitality (+177,200) – have added the most private sector jobs in New York State.  The two private sector industries that have lost the most jobs in November 2009-November 2015 include Manufacturing (-10,700) and Natural Resources & Mining (-600).

Of the state’s 10 labor market regions, New York City (+18.7%) is the only one that has added jobs at a faster pace than the nation as a whole (+12.5%) since November 2009.  Other regions that have seen their private sector job counts grow by at least 5.0% since November 2009 include Long Island (+10.7%), Capital (+8.7%), Hudson Valley (+7.2%), Finger Lakes (+6.7%) and Western New York (+6.7%).  Regions that have added private sector jobs at the slowest pace between November 2009 and November 2015 include: Central New York (+3.8%), Southern Tier (+2.4%), North Country (+1.6%) and Mohawk Valley (+1.4%).

In November 2015, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.8% in both New York City and the balance of the state.  While the unemployment rate has declined in both New York City and the balance of the state, the rate has fallen much more rapidly in New York City.  In November 2009-November 2015, the rate in New York City has dropped from 10.2% to 4.8%.  This steep rate drop reflects, in part, the strong private sector job growth experienced in New York City over the past six years.  The rate decline in the balance of the state has been much more gradual, falling from 8.0% to 4.8% over the same timeframe.

The table below shows the change in unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) by labor market region between November 2009 and November 2015.  The rate in New York City has dropped the most (-4.9 percentage points) over the past six years -- from 9.9% to 5.0%.  Most other regions in the state experienced rate drops in the range of 3.0 percentage points.

Unemployment Rates, New York State, by Region, November 2009 and November 2015

(not seasonally adjusted)


November 2009

November 2015


(in percentage points)





Central New York




Finger Lakes




Hudson Valley




Long Island




Mohawk Valley




New York City




North Country




Southern Tier




Western New York





New York State’s economic recovery has been relatively 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 and Long Island regions adding jobs at a much more rapid percentage rate than regions in the rest of the state. 

In addition, New York City and the balance of the state experienced much different trends in their labor force participation rates since the start of the current economic recovery/expansion in November 2009.  In New York City, the participation rate has increased slightly, from 59.7% to 60.8%.  Outside of New York City, the participation rate has decreased sharply, from 64.2% to 61.0%, over the same period.  As a result of these trends, labor force levels in New York City are up 230,000 since November 2009, while they are down by more than 140,000 in New York State outside of New York City.

Businesses in a variety of industries report some level of difficulty in filling their job openings.  Some of the most difficult-to-fill titles include various finance and accounting occupations, retail salesperson, truck drivers, customer service representatives, advertising managers, various IT job titles (i.e., network architect, web developer), engineering job titles (i.e., biomedical engineer), health care practitioners (i.e., surgeon, optometrist) and health care support titles (i.e., home health aide, nursing assistant).


Education and Skill Levels of the Workforce

Educational Attainment for Population Age 25+: New York State 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














New York City







North Country







Southern Tier







Western NY







Source: 2009-2013 ACS 5-Year Estimates Table B15002.


The above table presents information on the educational attainment of the state’s population age 25 and older. 58% of the state’s population (age 25+) have at least some college or an associate degree, including 18.9% who have a bachelor’s degree and another 14.3% who hold a graduate or professional (i.e., medical or law) degree. 

Looking at the state’s labor market regions, populations in the Hudson Valley (38.1%) and Long Island (37.0%) have the highest share with at least a bachelor’s degree.  In contrast, the North Country (20.0%) and the Mohawk Valley (20.9%) have the smallest share.

Conversely, 20.2% 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 (9.1%) and Long Island (10.0%) 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 1 in 7 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 New York State, 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), New York State and Labor Market Regions



Age 16-19

Enrolled in


Not Enrolled in School

High School Graduate

Not High School Graduate

% Not Enrolled and Not HS Graduate

New York


























Central NY













Finger Lakes













Hudson Valley













Long Island


























New York City













North Country













Southern Tier













Western NY













Source: 2009-2013 ACS 5-Year Estimates Table B14005.

Among the more than 1 million New York youth aged 16-19, about 51,400, or 4.7%, are not enrolled in high school and have not graduated high school. More than half of the youth (50.1 %) 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 6.2% in New York City to a low of 2.7% on Long Island.


Civilian Population with a Disability (in 1000s), New York State and Labor Market Regions


Total civilian population

With a disability

No disability

Percent with a disability

New York State










Central NY





Finger Lakes





Hudson Valley





Long Island





Mohawk Valley





New York City





North Country





Southern Tier





Western NY





Source: 2009-2013 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, 10.9% of the overall civilian population has a disability.  This means more than two million NYS residents have a disability.  More than 40% of state residents with a disability live in New York City.  Another 22.9% of state residents with disabilities reside in the Hudson Valley or Long Island.

Long Island (8.7%) is the only labor market region in which the disability rate is below 10%.  In contrast, there are four regions in which the disability rate exceeds 13%.  The regions with the highest disability rates in the state include: Mohawk Valley (14.7%); North Country (14.1%); Southern Tier (13.6%); and Western NY (13.3%).

Share of Population in Poverty and Percent of Households Receiving Public Assistance, New York State 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

New York State










Central NY





Finger Lakes





Hudson Valley





Long Island





Mohawk Valley





New York City





North Country





Southern Tier





Western NY





Source: 2009-2013 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 percent of New York State households receiving cash public assistance or Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in the past 12 months.

About 1 in 7 New Yorkers, or 15.3%, were living in poverty, according to the American Community Survey. This figure, however, was much higher (21.7%) for those under the age of 18 in New York State.

These statewide figures mask wide variation in poverty rates across the different labor market regions. For example, less than 10% of residents in Long Island (6.2%) regions 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 7.9% of Long Islanders under the age of 18 lived in poverty, while the comparable rate was three times higher (23.7%) in the Mohawk Valley and more than three and a half times higher (29.4%) in New York City.

Over 3% of households in New York State 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 (4.2%). Similarly, Long Island had the lowest percentage share (5.2%) of households receiving Food Stamp/SNAP benefits in the past 12 months, while New York City topped the list at (19.8%).

Description of Apparent Skill Gaps

In today’s global economy, however, industries in the United States, Europe and elsewhere are experiencing rapid growth in “middle skill” occupations, which require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year bachelor’s degree.  In New York State, average annual wages for middle skill occupations range from $18,750 to $105,060, with an average of $51,122 per year across all occupations.

It’s these jobs that many businesses in New York State and the nation as a whole are struggling to fill.  It is estimated that New York State faces a middle skills labor shortage of about 152,000 workers over the next seven years.  Failure to address this gap will: erode the state’s ability to strengthen middle class economic justice; and cause New York State businesses to be less competitive in the global economy due to losses in productivity.

Analysts cite the lack of a pipeline of skilled workers.  Contributing to this lack of a pipeline is the fact that 23% of high school students in New York State fail to graduate on time, and only 35% of our public school students graduate “college and career-ready.”

Occupational projections from the New York State Department of Labor indicate there will be 5.18 million job vacancies in New York between 2012 and 2022 as a result of new jobs (i.e., growth need) and openings from retirements and career changes (i.e., replacement need).  While 15% of New Yorkers do not have a high school diploma or equivalent, only 9% of these job vacancies will be available for those who fall into the “middle skill” category.  On the other hand, nearly seven out of every 10 vacancies will require some type of formal education beyond high school. This trend will result in 69% of all jobs in New York in 2022 requiring some postsecondary education – the 17th highest rate in the country.

Unfortunately, only 58% of New Yorkers aged 25 or older have this level of education.  Some of the professions that are likely to be hard hit by a skills gap are pharmacy technicians, software developers and physical therapists.  Among science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations, more than 90% will require postsecondary education by 2022.

It is important to note that skill gaps go beyond those related to specific occupations.  Business owners are also increasingly concerned about the lack of important soft skills, which are required for virtually any job in today’s labor market.  In the U.S., nine out of 10 executives said that soft skills like communication, collaboration and critical thinking are important to support business expansion.  However, less than half of those executives rated their employees as above average in those skills.

Workforce Development Activities

The New York State workforce development system, specifically referred to as the New York State Career Center System, is well equipped to provide the services necessary to support the employment and training needs of the individuals and businesses served through the system even beyond the requirements of WIOA.  Details on the workforce development activities the State provides to participants are described in the sections that follow. 


In New York State, workforce development activities span a broad array of organizations and programs.  At the State level, there are three agencies with responsibility for the six WIOA core programs:

·         The Department of Labor, Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions – Administers Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth programs and Title III Wagner-Peyser program;

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

·         The Office of Child and Family Services, New York State Commission for the Blind – Administers Title IV program for blind individuals.

In addition to these 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;

·         Job Corps;

·         YouthBuild;

·         Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker;

·         Senior Community Service Employment;

·         Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education;

·         Jobs for Veterans;

·         Community Services Block Grant Employment and Training;

·         Housing and Urban Development Employment and Training;

·         Unemployment Compensation;

·         Second Chance Act of 2007;

·         Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and

·         Programs for Native American populations.


Other entities carrying out workforce development programs may also be partners for the local area if approved by the local board and chief elected official.

New York State Comprehensive Career Centers must provide career services for these partners.  NYS Comprehensive Career Centers are typically administered by NYSDOL and county or city partners, who may share responsibility for running the centers, allocating staff, and providing services to job seekers seeking assistance finding employment, training, and other services.  In addition, these partners must enter into contractual relationships with the Career Centers to describe how this coordinated service access will be achieved and how each partner will support the administration of the system. 

However, as of the release of this Plan, final WIOA regulations have not yet been completed.  The draft regulations contain descriptions of the level of services for partner programs that would constitute “career services.”  For supportive services (like TANF), career services are defined as “the provision of information relating to the availability of supportive services, and appropriate referrals to those services.”  The New York State Career Center system will provide ongoing comprehensive core program and partner staff training to support an effective cross program referral system, and to assist the program partners in achieving this required level of integration, supporting the State’s vision of a seamless system for customers.

Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth Programs and Wagner-Peyser Program

The NYS Department of Labor is the grant recipient and administrator of WIOA funds in NYS, with oversight and monitoring responsibility for the 33 Local Workforce Development Areas (LWDAs).  Within NYSDOL, the Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions (DEWS) oversees activities related to WIOA, the Wagner-Peyser (W-P) Act, the Trade Act (TAA), the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program, Veterans programs, and the Registered Apprenticeship Program.  DEWS develops workforce policy, manages WIOA performance and customer service standards, provides fiscal and program oversight of the statewide workforce and Career Center system, and manages the One-Stop Operating (OSOS) and Reemployment Operating (REOS) case management systems.

DEWS is also responsible for the Veterans program, Dislocated Worker program, Rapid Response, Trade Act programs, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN), and UI Section 599 (UI claimants in training) programs.  DEWS includes oversight of services to youth and career development activities, contract development and processing functions, tax credit programs, training and capacity-building for the workforce system, and fiscal and program technical assistance to local workforce areas.  The Business Services unit within DEWS coordinates delivery of services to businesses through field staff across the state.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) unit is also housed within DEWS.  HRD provides consulting, training, and capacity-building services to New York State’s workforce professionals in the Career Center system; supports DEWS’ efforts to increase the capacity and productivity of staff; coordinates annual conferences and events; and develops reports and briefings for executive staff.  In addition, the HRD unit arranges for training of all DEWS staff through webinars, weekly conference calls, and meetings.

DEWS staff is staff to the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) and the Commissioner of Labor is an ex officio member of the Board.  The State Board’s role is to work to develop innovative workforce development strategies to improve and expand services delivered through New York’s WIOA funded Career Center system.  Leading the Career Center system at the local level are 33 LWDBs that oversee their respective LWDAs and 96 Career Centers.  DEWS staff, in partnership with the local areas and other local agencies, provides services at the Career Centers throughout the state.  In addition, DEWS established regional Business Service Teams with the LWDBs to coordinate services to individual businesses as well as targeted sectors in the regions.

DEWS is supported by NYSDOL’s Administrative Finance Bureau (AFB) and Research and Statistics Division (R&S).  The AFB is responsible for budgeting, management, accounting, and expenditure of all Department funds.  R&S provides performance and data analysis, and is the primary source for labor market information in NYS.  DEWS also works closely with the Unemployment Insurance Division (UID) and collaborates on ways to share data and improve processes that will ultimately benefit customers of the Career Center system.

Adult Education and Literacy Core Program

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.  During 2013-14, NYSED dedicated Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title II funds to support a comprehensive and coordinated literacy system that increased the skills of approximately 106,616 out-of-school youth and adults in adult basic education, adult secondary education and English as a second language (ESL). 

·         Approximately 25% are between the ages of 18 and 24 (22% in FY14).

·         75.3% of adult students enter literacy programs employed.

·         26,293 were unemployed upon entry in FY14.

o   Of those, 8,131 were between the ages of 18 and 24.

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

·         154 programs provided literacy education;

·         55% of students are ESL learners.

·         45% of students are preparing for the HSE.

·         More than 12 million hours of instruction are recorded;

·         58.2% 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. 

In 2013, a comprehensive multi-year Request for Proposals (RFP) for WIA and EL Civics was issued to fund program areas in: adult basic education and literacy services, English language/civics, corrections and institutionalized education programs, and literacy zones.  The purpose of the funding is to: support adults becoming literate and obtaining the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency; to assist adults who are parents in obtaining the educational skills to become partners in the educational development of their children; and to assist adults in completing secondary school education and transitioning into postsecondary education or training.  The eligible program participants lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to function effectively in society; have not attained a secondary school diploma or the recognized equivalent; or are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.  This competitive funding was awarded to successful applicants from public school districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), postsecondary institutions, unions, libraries, community and faith-based organizations, volunteer organizations, and public housing.  The successful applicants for adult basic education competed for $20,264,737 in WIA Title II funding; $7,946,316 in English Language/Civics Education funding; and $2,607,193 in Corrections and Institutional Education funding.  A total of 63 WIA adult basic education grants were awarded; 23 EL Civics grants; and 19 Corrections and Institutionalized education grants were awarded. 

In addition, $5,043,000 in WIA Title II and state Welfare Education Program funds were used to establish 49 Literacy Zones.  This RFP supports the programs for the five-year period 2013-2018.  The current sub grantees were extended during the 2015-16 transition year and will receive implementation guidelines for new requirements of WIOA. 

Literacy Zones

As part of the Workforce Investment Act Title II competitive RFP noted above, 49 Literacy Zones were funded to support the continuation and expansion of Literacy Zones across New York.  The funding develops adult education and literacy in distressed communities of concentrated poverty or limited English language proficiency with a focus on building pathways out of poverty.

Goals of the program include: stabilizing families through full access to federal and state benefits and tax credits (such as health insurance and Earned Income Tax credits); helping navigate complexities of the health care system; connecting with schools to support a child’s literacy;  and effectively navigating college entrance requirements and financial aid for Adult Secondary Education students.  Each Literacy Zone is required to provide Family Welcome Centers, which connect families and students with a full range of programs and services including adult literacy instruction.  Many of these services are accomplished through leveraging of community, state, and local resources and funding streams that supplement limited adult education funding.  More information can be found at and  Literacy Zones will continue to receive information on using New York State’s e-Literacy NY; a Web based learning management system.  In 2016, e-literacy NY will develop a platform and host a variety of literacy curriculum all aligned with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS).  Literacy Zones were directed to focus on supporting students though intense case management.  Through these efforts, the Literacy Zones will facilitate students’ transition to HSE or to other literacy programs.

Beginning in 2011, six Literacy Zones in the Central/Southern region of New York State used the online learning system called Learner Web.  This learning support system provides structure and resources for adults who want to accomplish specific learning objectives.  Learners access the system through the internet and are guided to supportive services from existing local education programs, community based organizations, postsecondary institutions, and social service agencies.  New York State is the only state using Learner Web for Incarcerated transition programs.  In 2015-16, Learner Web expanded to include postsecondary college transition with the 49 Literacy zones and their respective community college partners.  Learner Web will increase the use of digital literacy for novice users.

In 2016-17, a variety of professional development programs will continue to be delivered to Literacy Zones to assist in meeting their learners’ academic and personal needs.  Literacy Zone professional development will be provided in multiple ways including training for case managers so that they can be resources regarding assessments leading to a NYS HSE diploma, career ladders, one-stop referrals, core partner connections, and the Benefits Toolkit.

Post-Secondary Transition Resources

To prepare for WIOA transition, NYSED partnered with NYSDOL to use incentive funding to identify effective postsecondary transition/career pathways curricula that included preparation for the new and more rigorous HSE assessment, the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

The RFP was posted on the Contract Reporter and on the NYSDOL website:

Two curriculum frameworks were funded to prepare students for college and careers; the 2015 CUNY HSE Curriculum Framework and the Queens Library TASC transition curriculum.  Both curriculum frameworks will be used in 2016-17 for professional development through the RAENs and to guide WIOA transition to support career pathways, integrated education and training, and postsecondary transition.

Individuals with Disabilities

The Adult Education Programs Policy Office and the Vocational Rehabilitation Office are both organized under the Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES-VR).  This structure supports and encourages coordination of services for individuals with disabilities and adult literacy.  The two offices work together to develop policies and partnerships for those populations who require literacy and vocational rehabilitation services.

Adult and family literacy programs will continue to develop and refine practices for integrating Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements into their program.  ADA compliance elements were included in the New York State Adult Education Program and Policy team’s monitoring instrument and were incorporated into site reviews.  This instrument is completed annually by local program staff as a self-review tool. 

In 2016-17 New York State will continue to focus on the ways all funded adult literacy programs work with individuals with disabilities.  Many of the 49 Literacy Zones formed partnerships with the Independent Living Centers, which provide one-stop services to families with an individual with a disability.  The New York State Education Department developed an electronic universal benefits manual that supports all programs including those that serve individuals with disabilities.  This resource is updated annually and provides contemporary support to case managers providing services to individuals with disabilities.

All funded adult literacy programs are required to participate in Learning to Achieve trainings delivered by Literacy New York (LNY), a statewide network that provides technical assistance and workshops in reading and basic skills instruction for adult learners.  Each year, Regional Adult Education Network (RAEN) Directors offer training for Literacy Zones in Disability Awareness offered by the Center for Independence of the Disabled in NYC.  This training helps Literacy Zones attract and serve students with disabilities and is designed to help prepare Literacy Zones staff across the state to serve people with disabilities.


·         ACCES-AEPP has a strong, long-standing working relationship with agencies administering core programs, especially NYSDOL, and was directly involved in crafting the combined State Plan and implementation plans.

·         NYS has one of the largest and most diverse adult education systems in the country (over 172 programs across school systems, BOCES, 14 CUNY colleges, not-for-profit community based organizations, unions, and library systems).

·         New York’s performance on the federal National Reporting System consistently ranks in the highest national quartile, and its report card and performance improvement system is consistently cited as very strong.

·         New York has one of the largest state funding commitments with nearly $104 million, over two and a half times the federal WIOA funding received under Title II.

·         Comprehensive professional development is provided to all funded programs by seven RAEN centers.  Two State Technical Assistance Centers (STACs), rest-of-state and New York City, provide training and technical assistance to community based organizations, literacy volunteer agencies, colleges, and libraries funded under the NYS Adult Literacy Education (ALE) program.

·         Mandated Title II representation on 33 LWDBs will provide an important resource for connecting all WIOA funded programs in each area with workforce policies and implementation.

·         Co-location of adult education programs in numerous Career Centers across the state form a firm foundation in many workforce development areas.

·         Forty-nine Literacy Zones with strong case management and family welcome centers are focused on pathways out of poverty and helping New Yorkers in high need communities connect with community workforce resources and navigate complex systems like postsecondary transition.

·         New York has a strong, high performing literacy volunteer sector systemically integrated with adult education throughout the state.

·         In July 2015, ACCES-adult education conducted a comprehensive workforce development survey of 172 funded WIOA Title II agencies to informally assess best practices, gaps, and opportunities for strengthening existing partners or developing new connections with the Career Centers in the 33 LWDAs.  This data was used to develop proposed directions in this Combined State Plan and will enable ACCES-AEPP to work with programs, local workforce boards, one-stop operators, and agency and program partners in each area in targeted approaches as local workforce plans are developed by the local workforce areas.  RAEN centers will play an important role in supporting these efforts.


·         Funding reaches only a fraction of the need.  In New York City alone, more than 1.1 million city residents between 18 and 64—20 percent of working age New Yorkers—lack a high school diploma or its equivalent.  Statewide, 2.851 million New Yorkers who are out-of-school youth or adults, age 16 or older, lack a high school diploma or the equivalent.  Only 44,000 tested to obtain their High School Equivalency Diploma—1.6% of the target population (2012 Annual Statistical Report on the GED test). Currently, 115,000 out of school youth and adults are annually served in NYSED-funded adult education programs—4% of the target population.

·         Flat appropriation levels at the federal level will challenge implementation of the broadened vision for Title II under WIOA, including an expanded focus on integrated education and training, postsecondary transition, and integrated English language literacy.  NYSED will need to pilot and evaluate a broad range of possible models and expand professional development to contextualize instruction, integrate transition and support services, and build career pathways.

·         Currently, NYSED uses nearly 100% of state adult education funding as a match for federal Title II funding, far exceeding the 25% minimum match.  This limits the ability to use state funds as a match for other federal funds such as Food Stamp Employment and Training dollars.  To leverage additional federal funds, NYSED may need to reduce the percentage state match during the years of the Combined State Plan pending final federal guidance.

Building Critical System Changes in 2016-17

Implementation of the combined state plan will build important foundations and steps for WIOA implementation aligned with the state strategy.  This includes:

·         Adapting the Title II performance accountability to meet new WIOA and National Reporting System (NRS) requirements based on final federal guidance.

·         Creating strong workforce partnerships in every workforce development area, based on state directions and gaps identified through a comprehensive survey of 199 funded Title II programs.

·         Establishing effective processes for sharing costs for one-stop infrastructure, and other shared costs, based on final federal guidance including program-specific guidance on shared services that each partner can contribute.

·         Preparing for re-bidding of all Title II WIOA funds based on final federal guidance, the final approval of local workforce plans and one-stop delivery systems, and establishing a consistent process across all 33 LWDAs for SWIB review of all Title II local applications and input on how well plans align with the local plan.  The new RFP will include new methodology for rating the “demonstrated effectiveness” of applicants and an approval process to raise local administrative cost limits and other budget changes needed to support one-stop infrastructure and other shared costs.

·         Identifying and piloting career pathways and postsecondary transition program models based on participation in the national OCTAE initiative, Moving Pathways Forward; innovative development steps being funded through CUNY in 2016 to develop career pathway pilots and professional development resources; expansion of two dedicated adult education teacher websites to house career pathways instructional resources and supports; and re-purposing of seven RAEN center work plans.

Moving Pathways Forward provides targeted technical assistance services to assist all states in the development and implementation of their career pathways systems and facilitate local programs’ provision of career pathways services.  States have access to resources and guidance to assist them in assessing their career pathways-related needs, identifying goals for their project activities, and determining planning steps to strengthen and expand key career pathways system components, including:

§  Cross-Agency Partnerships and Industry Engagement;

§  State Vision of a Career Pathways System and communications about this vision;

§  Alignment of Policies and Programs;

§  Education, Training, and Support Services;

§  Professional Development and Technical Assistance;

§  Data Systems and Evaluation; and

§  Funding and Sustainability.

·         Focusing leadership funds on the key requirements of WIOA through approval of new annual workplans for the RAEN and NRS Accountability specialist and work charges of NYSED state ACCES-Adult Education staff.

·         Continuing to implement a new High School Equivalency diploma for New York that serves as a gateway credential for employment, training, career pathways and postsecondary transition, and providing in-depth training of master teachers and turnkey training for 5,500 adult education teachers.

·         Adapting state and WIOA-funded professional development to support career pathways, postsecondary transition, integrated education, and integrated English literacy and civics education.

Vocational Rehabilitation Core Program

The New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB), as part of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), establishes cooperative agreements primarily with private non-profit vocational rehabilitation service providers for assessment and training services through three types of outcome-based contracts: comprehensive services; vocational evaluation/job placement services; and assistive technology 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.  Providers assess each consumer to determine his/her 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.

New vocational evaluation/job placement contracts were implemented January 1, 2015.  Thirty-four providers were approved statewide.  These providers include private not-for-profit agencies, independent living centers, and independent private vendors.  They actively provide a number of services, including but not limited to: job assessment; job seeking and development; diagnostic vocational evaluation; situational assessment; and job placement.

In recent years, NYSCB staff increased referrals to NYS Career Centers.  Referrals for computer use and job searches were made, often in addition to other job placement and job development services.  NYSCB staff met with the Disability Resource Coordinators (DRCs) at the Career Centers to arrange for services and access to employment opportunities.

Assistive technology contract services provide consumers with computer and/or computer-related technical training.  In Fall 2012, assistive technology center contracts were awarded through an RFP process in seven areas of the state: Buffalo, Rochester, Central New York, Capital District, Hudson Valley, New York City, and Hempstead.  The contracts were awarded for the timeframe January 2013 through December 2017.  Consumers referred for computer technology services participate in assessment and training to prepare them for postsecondary 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 to meet their individual needs. 

NYSCB reviewed the vocational training programs currently delivered through community rehabilitation partners and determined that two types of vocational skills training are needed; one to support consumers in increasing employability and a second to meet the demands of emerging labor markets.  The first type of training is focused on those consumers planning to enter fields such as customer service, office administration, and other clerical occupations, and the potential need to acquire advanced skills levels in Braille, keyboarding, note taking, computer applications, and other office practices.  The second type of vocational skills training is related to meeting the needs of a particular business or business sector.  The training is developed in conjunction with a business or group of businesses representing a sector expected to have high demand for workers over the next 5 to 10 years.  NYSCB will continue to develop and explore the need for new program and training opportunities.

Supported employment services are provided for consumers who meet the Federal definition of “most significantly disabled” (Section 7(21)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and who will need support after they obtain a job.  NYSCB consumers receive supported employment services through contracts between the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) ACCES-VR program and supported employment providers.  With changes initiated by ACCES-VR in 2014, NYSCB is no longer limited to utilizing only supported employment providers approved to serve blind individuals.  Any of the 197 supported employment providers may now provide services to NYSCB consumers.  NYSCB anticipates the increase in available providers will lead to additional employment outcomes for NYSCB consumers.

Connection to Workforce Needs

During the past year, Lighthouse Guild, based in New York City, entered into discussions with NYSCB regarding the need for intensive Braille training for individuals expecting to use Braille in work settings.  It became apparent that Braille proficiency must exceed the training offered through Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) for consumers planning to enter the workforce in administrative and professional settings.  Lighthouse Guild is currently testing a pilot program that combines introduction of Braille skills during VRT and continued skill building through Vocational Training.

Two other providers, Visions Services for the Blind and Helen Keller Services for the Blind, received a 3-year grant from the Lavelle Foundation to identify emerging business sectors in the New York City metro area.  Awardees of this grant will develop training programs for the identified sectors in partnership with businesses, and provide training for individuals who are blind, leading to employment.  At the conclusion of the grant, it is expected that training programs initiated under the grant which result in successful employment for individuals who are blind, will be sponsored by NYSCB through its vocational training and placement programs.  NYSCB continues to encourage its providers to develop new vocational training options utilizing a similar business-centered approach.

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR):

The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) 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, NYSCB can better match business staffing needs with the skills and interests of consumers seeking employment, as well as help businesses to retain employees who experience disability.  The NET provides:

An exciting development with the NET is the launch of the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) through which businesses can identify qualified job candidates with disabilities.  The portal provides 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 seeker’s efforts and success, and VR managers are able to see how the system assists with job placements.  Businesses with national footprints including Key Bank, Walgreens, Pfizer, BJC Healthcare, ch2m, Raytheon, Quest Diagnostics, and Wells Fargo have signed on, using 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.


Within NYS, there is a large gap between working age adults with and without disabilities on key factors such as educational attainment and employment.  There are 1.05 million individuals 18-64 years of age with disabilities in NYS (8.5% prevalence rate) according to data gathered from Cornell University Online Resource for U.S. Disability Statistics (2013).  Twenty-five percent of New Yorkers with disabilities have less than a high school diploma, compared to 11% without disabilities.  Only 16.5% of working-age individuals with disabilities in NYS hold a Bachelor’s degree, compared to 36.6% of individuals without disabilities.  The NYS employment rate of working age individuals with disabilities (age 18 to 64) is 31.9%, compared to 72.1% for persons without disabilities, a gap of 40.2%.  The median household income of working age adults with disabilities in NYS is $37,600 and $66,400 for families without disabilities, a gap of $28,800.  The percentage of New Yorkers ages 21-64 years with a disability living below the poverty line in 2011 was 30%, compared to 12.3% of adults without disabilities. 

This data suggests that for New Yorkers with disabilities, more than twice the number do not have a high school diploma, and less than half have a Bachelor’s degree when compared to those without disabilities.  The percentage of individuals with disabilities who are employed is less than half of those without disabilities, and the median household income and poverty rate is more than double for New Yorkers with disabilities.  More working age individuals with disabilities have a Bachelor’s degree, higher median earnings, and higher household income compared to national data, but the poverty rate for New Yorkers with disabilities (30%) is higher than the national rate (27.8%).

ACCES-VR is working to close these gaps through services such as postsecondary education.  Postsecondary training not only leads to higher earnings; it can provide the individuals the skills businesses need to fill middle-skills jobs.  ACCES-VR also increased its funding levels for training across all postsecondary programs.  To strengthen outcomes, ACCES-VR provides advocacy and support to individuals requiring these services when institutions of higher education do not have the level of supports in place needed by individuals with disabilities to succeed.  Additionally, ACCES-VR works closely with the postsecondary education community to jointly identify and meet the needs of students with disabilities.  Recently, the New York State Board of Regents convened an Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities to further determine how to improve enrollment and success rates for individuals with disabilities on campuses across NYS.

ACCES-VR identified services to youth as a priority and changed how it defines youth.  It increased the age of youth from under 22 to under 25 years of age and developed a transition unit staffed by one district manager and a senior counselor in each of the 15 district offices to increase outreach to the schools and improve services to youth.  Services for transitioning youth, including paid work experiences, are in development as a strategy for career advancement.  Challenges include disseminating information about vocational rehabilitation and building relationships with schools, students, and parents, and how we can work together to move transitioning youth to adult services.

ACCES-VR is a member of CSAVR’s NET, as is NYSCB.  The NET promotes partnerships with businesses that can help businesses meet their staffing needs and improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.


Additionally, ACCES-VR continues to develop local strategies to increase access to employment services for individuals with disabilities.  There are 13 Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Projects in the upstate NY LWDAs that focus on Employment Networks (ENs) and services related to assessment, benefits advisement, and placement.  ACCES-VR liaisons meet periodically with DRCs to better understand and coordinate cross-systems services; to better meet the needs of individuals with disabilities; and to increase support in maintaining employment after a consumer’s closure from VR services.  The DRCs are responsible for providing and improving targeted services to individuals with disabilities, as well as improving the capacity of all workforce staff in their respective sites to provide the best possible services to the disability population.  All 13 pilot sites are registered as ENs under the Ticket to Work program, with the intent to get individuals off SSA benefits and back to work.

New York State ACCES-VR jointly conducts a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) with its State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) every three years to determine the rehabilitation (and other) needs of residents with disabilities and to identify gaps in VR services.  ACCES-VR uses this information to shape policy, procedures, training, operations, and practice.  The next assessment will be conducted for the FY2017 State Plan.

Operational Planning Elements

State Board

The State Workforce Investment Board (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.

The SWIB has been WIOA compliant since the legislation was signed into law, and the complete membership roster is provided in the State Operating Systems and Policies section of this Combined State Plan.  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 (ESDC), and the New York State 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 will 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 the State’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, will continually 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; and utilize a common customer information system for simple cross-title service delivery leading to successful implementation of New York’s strategy.

Services provided by the mandatory Career Center partners and other optional partners will be coordinated and aligned through the development of the local Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among all local partner agencies and providers participating in each comprehensive Center.  The local MOU will define shared responsibilities as well as individual responsibilities, and will outline how services will be coordinated and the use of any common data collection and reporting process.  The local MOU provides an overview of the local system including services to be offered; methods for referral of individuals between the one-stop operator and the one-stop partners for appropriate services and activities; sharing of applicable customer information (taking confidentiality requirements into account); and allocating of costs and sharing of resources to support the system.  Career services, training services, and supportive services offered by the various mandatory and optional partner programs are coordinated through the development of the local MOU agreement.  Further, the MOU will describe how customers will be connected with services; who will provide these services; how intake, enrollment, and assessment processes will be handled; and how referrals to partner programs for further services will take place.

One-stop operators are the entities that coordinate the service delivery of required Career Center partners and service providers.  Local Boards may establish additional roles of one-stop operators, including, but not limited to:  coordinating service providers within the center and across the one-stop system; being the primary provider of services within the center; providing some of the services within the center; or coordinating service delivery in a multi-center area.  The competition for a one-stop operator must clearly articulate the role of the one-stop operator.  The one-stop operator must be selected through a competitive process not less than every four years.  The Local Board shall develop a competitive solicitation, generally a Request for Proposal, to ensure one-stop operator selection is conducted through a competitive process.

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; 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 New York SWIB as well as the individual programs in the system.  The SWIB’s Aligning Workforce Programs subcommittee 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 New York’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 New York State Office for the Aging, NYSED (including ACCES-VR), the New York State Department of Health (DOH), OCFS (including 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: 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, the State 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 subcommittee of the SWIB, will reinforce the goal of continued cross system integration. 

New York State also continues to expand its outreach efforts to make individuals on public assistance and other low income individuals aware of all of 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 the State 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.  Additionally, NYSDOL expects to expand relationships between Registered Apprenticeship and the State’s Education system by encouraging an increase in the amount of articulation agreements between Registered Apprenticeship programs and the Education system.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

In New York State, 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 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.

New York State 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 State residents. The State will provide robust cross-program training for all partner staff on available economic supports and workforce services.  The types of cross training, benefit access and referral mechanism support will include the following items.

·         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 between 8 and 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: TANF, 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 sheet is generated.  This sheet 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 establish agreements to clearly establish a point person(s) for each other on day to day client cross-system needs.  For instance, Career Center partners can contact these individuals when specific 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 public assistance, New York State will expect each local workforce development area to establish specific procedures to consult with the social services commissioners on the provision of 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 public assistance recipients and other low-income individuals in these services.

·         New York State 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. 

·         The State will place specific emphasis on the coordination of youth services to allow youth served through the TANF agencies 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, New York State will not impose unfunded mandates requiring local 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 local social services districts to establish a physical on-site presence at the Career Centers.  Instead, New York State will utilize technology-based solutions to meet the requirement in the preamble to the draft federal WIOA regulations to provide and accept applications for TANF funded assistance at the Center Centers.  Such applications will be limited to TANF applicants who do not have immediate emergency needs.  In the longer-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.  The provision of the state-funded kiosk will be a contribution toward the infrastructure cost requirement, and in some instances, might fulfill the requirement based on the local partnership agreement and usage.  In the interim period before IES is functional, WIOA-TANF partnership requirements will be met through the prescreening functionality of the MyBenefits and ACCESS NYC portals.

Coordination, Alignment, and Provision of Services to Individuals

Expeditious Entry into the Workforce System

New York State 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

New York State 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. 

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. 

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 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 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.

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.  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.  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.

NYSCB continues to maintain its relationship with other New York state agencies involved in workforce development, including the OPWDD, OMH, OASAS, and NYSDOL.  Across the state, 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 regards to matching individual skills with employment needs.  Outreach was also accomplished through collaboration with partner agencies. 

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, 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

NYSCB entered into a Partnership Plus Agreement, which enables consumers with a Social Security Ticket to Work to obtain VR services from 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.

NYSCB uses funds to contract with two private agencies for individuals who are blind to provide pre-college programs for 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. 

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, NYSCB district offices engage new providers when specialized training is required for a consumer to reach his/her vocational goal.  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.

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.

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.

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, 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. 

ACCES-VR also has many initiatives in place that assist in opening opportunity for youth and adults with disabilities.  For example, 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 14-16 year olds receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

ACCES-VR participates in the Partnerships in Employment Systems Change grant, which enhances collaboration among OPWDD; the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC); NYSED’s Office of Special Education (OSE); and New York State’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, ACCES-VR contracted to provide Community Employment Specialists.  These individuals will work with the ACCES-VR Transition Unit and provide information to school districts on vocational rehabilitation and post-school employment options for youth with disabilities.

Continuous Engagement

New York State 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

New York 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, 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 New York State’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 New York State 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. 

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.

For PY2015, NYSDOL established a new Business Services Customer Service Indicator for the combined WIOA/W-P program.  Specifically, the measure is to effect that 95% of businesses who receive referrals on staff entered job orders receive a follow up contact.  The new measure is designed to ensure that the needs of business customers are met and to help build the State’s business customer base.  This replaces the PY2014 measure to increase the number of businesses posting jobs on the NYS Job Bank/Jobs Express. 

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 New York State has embarked upon specific regional sector strategies for the health care workforce in NYC and Central regions.  The State 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; and

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.

·         In regions comprised of a single LWDA (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.

The initiative has since been rolled out to nine other counties in New York.  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.

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 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 State agencies including NYSED ACCES-VR, ESDC, OTDA, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The mission of Business Services is aligned with the ESDC goal of encouraging job creation and economic opportunities.  Accordingly, Business Services collaborates with ESDC 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 promotes and connects job seekers to the NYSERDA-funded Clean Energy OJT program.  As of June 2014, 334 individuals were hired by 69 businesses under this program.  NYSDOL and NYSERDA also 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 City University of New York (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 also worked closely with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), as it is a major hub of technological growth in NYS.  Business Services facilitated numerous recruiting events at CNSE’s original location in Albany and at its developing sites in Rochester and Utica.  In 2013 and 2014, Business Services events in these three locations hosted more than 2,800 jobseekers for 750 job openings.  CNSE is a featured business at Capital Region career fairs and conducted hundreds of on-site interviews.  With a potential for thousands of jobs in the next few years, this relationship is expected to grow as the CNSE footprint expands throughout NYS.

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 200,000 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 of the job openings in New York State by region and occupation in a user friendly website (  There are approximately 125,000 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 also 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.

Business Services is currently rolling out Focus Talent, a new tool that will allow businesses to search the Talent Bank for qualified candidates.  It also improves the self-service tools for businesses, assisting them to develop quality job postings for the Job Bank.  There are future enhancements planned to allow businesses to directly connect with job seekers. 

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 is available to businesses looking to expand their workforce and can be used for On-the-Job, Apprenticeship, or Customized training, depending on the individual needs of the employer, and the NYSERDA Clean Energy OJT program trains workers to perform energy efficiency and residential and commercial renewable energy retrofits; and energy efficiency, renewable energy, or advanced technology installations. 

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.  Although WOTC was not reauthorized for 2015, Business Services continues to promote awareness of the program to ensure businesses are positioned to take advantage of the credit, should it become available in the future.  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 New York businesses place youth participants in 27,133 jobs across targeted urban communities with high youth unemployment.

Business Services consistently looks for ways to incorporate technology to serve business customers.  Through funds from an Unemployment Insurance-Employment Services (UI-ES) Connectivity Grant, Business Services procured a virtual career fair tool from Expos2.  Expos2 provides a versatile virtual career fair product that enables business customers to recruit talent through technology and avoid the travel costs and lost time associated with physically attending career fairs and recruitments.

Virtual career fairs work just like in-person events, but from the convenience of a computer.  Businesses can post positions, chat with job seekers in real-time, and even showcase a video presentation about their company.  With the Expos2 product, businesses can create a virtual business card to exchange at a virtual hiring event, set up at specific time to privately chat with customers they believe are good matches for their positions, and design the virtual booth to suit their needs.

Staff promote the services and provide all necessary technical assistance to businesses, including building the virtual booths; uploading logos, flyers, pamphlets, videos; and links to websites.

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

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 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 NYSCB consumer caseload management system and through supervisory review of consumer cases.

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 and work tryouts.  ACCES-VR reimburses 100% of an employee’s wages for up to 480 hours for on-the-job training and work tryouts.  Recently, the team met with the Workforce Development Committee of the 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 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 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 the State 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 New York State 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 state budget for 2015-16 includes $3 million to add additional schools to the NYS P-TECH initiative.  Seven new P-TECH partnerships were awarded in 2015, bringing the total number to 33 schools.  The public workforce system in various local areas makes a good partner in this initiative.

The state budget for 2015-16 also includes $2.5 million to allow five community colleges to participate in a community schools initiative.  This program will bring healthcare services to campuses; assist students with transportation; provide additional resources for child/elder care; and augment existing academic and career development supports.  Community colleges serve some of the state’s most disadvantaged students and communities, and are more likely than four-year institutions to attract part-time and nontraditional students who are trying to balance work, family, and other obligations with their education.  Through the community schools initiative, students will have the tools and supports they need, both in and out of the classroom, to persist and graduate.

SUNY will create regional planning councils ensuring that the 29 community colleges outside 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 State 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 will set program development, enrollment, and transfer goals on a regional basis.  This initiative will limit 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 includes $30 million in new investment and performance funds allocated to SUNY and CUNY campuses that develop performance improvement plans.  These plans will 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.  New York State 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 will be 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 will 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.  To embark on such a statewide initiative of Career Pathways, the SWIB, in collaboration with the LWDBs, will need to customize an individual approach to Career Pathways for each of the 33 LWDBs in New York State.

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 New York State.

Leveraging Resources to Increase Educational Access

New York State recognizes that the realities of today’s global economy makes 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 public 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.  The work of the REDCs is supported by the SWIB and its subcommittees.  The SWIB Education and Credentials subcommittee is actively engaged in career pathway development within the demand industries.  This work will include a comprehensive mapping of occupational demands to available credentials and a skills gap analysis between the supply of job seekers and the current and projected worker requirements of business.  These mappings and gap analyses will facilitate the effective delivery of services in the state’s Career Centers and appropriate referral to credential training.


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 New York State 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 on-the-job training 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.

New York State’s Registered Apprenticeship program is aligned with WIOA and Wagner-Peyser (W-P) 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 apprentices 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 of these area-wide recruitments, and is distributed to local media and posted on NYSDOL’s webpage, in addition to listing the positions on the NYS Job Bank.

At the successful completion of each Registered Apprenticeship program, the 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 will 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 DEWS 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 manufacturing or food service and/or agricultural organizations.  They follow the local business climate and provide outreach to new and expanding businesses to market and promote the benefits of Registered Apprenticeship.

As part of this effort to focus on new and emerging industries, NYSDOL  reactivated two trades during the past year; Locksmith and Plant Maintenance – Boilermaker.  The services provided by a Locksmith ensure the environmental safety and security of everyone.  Important components of this trade include identifying and understanding different lock types, fabricating keys, assembling and disassembling locks, using key control software for keying, re-keying and changing locks.  Plant Maintenance – Boilermaker is an essential trade in the manufacturing industry.  Individuals in this industry perform physically demanding work including monitoring boiler operations; troubleshooting boiler problems; and repairing and rebuilding boilers. 

In addition to these two trades, there are several new trades which are under review for approval including Quality Assurance Auditor, Precision Optics Manufacturing Technician, Computer Support Technician, Centerless Grinder Machinist, and Dairy Grazier.   The approval of new programs in these emerging industries would help build and diversify New York State Registered Apprenticeship.

In addition to the first competency-based program, NYSDOL now has its first hybrid program for the Carpenter trade.  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.  The hybrid approach is a combination of the time-based and competency-based approaches and requires a minimum number of on-the-job training hours for each skill prior to testing.  Approval of competency-based and hybrid programs allows sponsors and apprentices additional flexibility in the length of time needed to complete a program and will help NYSDOL to move Apprenticeship into new occupations created through technological advancement, demographic changes, and globalization.

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 Green and Renewable Resources, 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: Energy; Financial and Professional Services; Tourism (including Hospitality, Food, and Beverage); and Software/Telecommunications/Information Technology.

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 On-the-Job training;

·         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 and the accompanying Community College system has 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 five years, as part of a process that has awarded over $1.5 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.  The momentum continued in 2013 with $220 million to implement regional strategies and priorities.  In addition, State agencies provide additional resources to support regional growth strategies.  These funds are made available through a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).  The CFA was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process for stakeholders within each region.

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 ESDC, NYSERDA, New York Power Authority, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), 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:

REDC strategic plans are to be comprehensive and address needs in a holistic fashion.  Accordingly, ESDC, 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 ESDC 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.  ESDC 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

To further inform and enhance regional progress reporting, NYSDOL requires LWDBs in each region to review the goals and strategies laid out by their respective REDCs, and collaborate on a regional work plan that identifies resources, partnerships, and initiatives that address one or more of their REDC’s specific goals and strategies.  This process helps to highlight the inter-relationship between workforce development and economic development efforts in each region and showcases the powerful contributions the LWDBs make to regional economies.  These include:

·         Partnerships;

·         Informing training providers of business needs;

·         Aligning training resources;

·         Pursuing grants and other funding opportunities;

·         Focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM);

·         Advancing entrepreneurship;

·         Targeting training resources on low-income populations;

·         Supporting the REDC’s Opportunity Agenda;

·         Promoting youth career development and employment;

·         Expanding Apprenticeship; and

·         Developing a regional portal for job and training opportunities.

A brief description of each of these notable actions is presented below:

·         Partnerships – Partnerships among businesses, training providers, educational institutions, and government entities are used to identify the skills gaps in the sector, establish new training opportunities, and host business forums to identify industry sector needs.  They can also help businesses solve production problems, improve products and manufacturing processes, create new businesses, support research into new materials and nanostructures, and attract additional research funding.

·         Informing training providers of business needs – Regions provide information related to regional demand occupations and the needs of in-demand industries to training providers.  Providers then align training programs with the skill needs, bringing consistency and efficiency to training provided in a region.  In addition, community colleges were asked to create Business Advisory Committees, to help shape curriculum, recruitment, placement, and evaluation of vocational and training programs.  These practices engage training providers and community colleges in responsive planning and curriculum development to meet the needs of in-demand industries, keeping programs up to date as they evolve with businesses needs.

·         Aligning training resources – Regional LWDBs pool and earmark training resources provided ITAs to focus on REDC target sectors and in-demand occupations.

·         Pursuing grants and other funding opportunities – Grants and other funding opportunities offer the chance for additional sources of funding to the regular WIOA funding available.  Collaboration with other partners, particularly to implement training programs, helps increase the likelihood of award.

·         Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) – Many REDCs identified STEM occupations as a priority.  Promotion of STEM related trainings; working with businesses to assess their STEM hiring needs; and applying for relevant grants through activities such as assessments for STEM preparedness, computer literacy, math and reading, and mechanical reasoning, aligns Regional LWDBs with this REDC priority.

·         Advancing Entrepreneurship – Regional LWDBs advance entrepreneurship by encouraging Career Center customers to utilize the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) and look to capitalize on grant opportunities to assist startup companies and companies looking to expand.

·         Targeting training resources to low-income populations – Targeting training resources for low-income populations is necessary to serve the hardest to serve populations in a region.  A number of grants to provide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and low-income workers with training and employment opportunities are active in NYS.

·         Supporting REDC Opportunity Agendas – Involvement in the Opportunity Agenda, an REDC initiative, can help overcome the challenges that prevent poor communities from fully participating in the state’s economic revitalization.  By concentrating on one particular community, regions can identify strategies to address specific challenges and be able to competitively seek funding through a streamlined process.

·         Promoting youth career development and employment – Promoting youth career development and employment helps prevent youth from leaving the region due to lack of employment opportunities.  This can be done by facilitating the process of commercializing academic ideas or inventions and building companies around them.  This can also be done by working with college partners to address needs of out-of-school youth by focusing on increasing regional college and high school internships.

·         Expanding Apprenticeship – Expanding apprenticeship models in organizational settings can have a positive impact on regional economies.  Developing an overview of apprenticeships operated throughout the state can provide insight into best practices.  This information can then be shared with local businesses operating in the same sectors/industries to help them establish their own apprenticeship programs.

·         Developing a Regional Portal for Job and Training Opportunities – Developing a regional portal for job and training opportunities for customers can help simplify the job search process.  This can be accomplished by surveying Career Center customers to develop a regionalized list of relevant customer resources.

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 NYSCB, while the Board of Regents is responsible for NYSED, including ACCES-VR and Adult Education and Literacy.  NYSED, OCFS, and NYSDOL are linked through the SWIB, with each agency being an ex-officio member of the board.  Both ACCES-VR and 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 ACCES-VR utilizes its District Offices to provide services to participants.  NYSCB also oversees Title IV-Vocational Rehabilitation, and like 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 ESDC, OTDA, SUNY, and CUNY.  Appendix 1 presents the Organizational Chart for administration of WIOA.

State Board

For detailed information on the State Workforce Investment Board, please see the State Board Functions section under Operational Planning Elements on page 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


Dattola, Rick

Tupper Lake Supply


Diodati, Richard

Charles T. Sitrin Health Care Center


Esteban, Sergio

LaBella Associates PC


Fancher, Michael

College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering


Fitzgerald, Carol

Life Medical Technologies, Inc.


Fuest, Norbert

Morton Salt


Hill, Beth L.

Fort Ticonderoga


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 (ESDC)





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

King, Deborah

1199 SEIU Training & Employment Funds

Organized Labor

Ayala, Plinio

Per Scholas


Mathis, David

Oneida County Workforce Development


McDermott, Joseph

Consortium for Worker Education


Miliken, James



Murphy, Ed

AFL-CIO, Workforce Development Institute


Cole, Paul

American Labor Studies Center

Mature Workforce

According to SWIB bylaws adopted May 2015, nominations to business and labor representative positions are solicited from appropriate State-level business/labor organizations, consistent with WIOA.  As New York State had a WIOA-compliant State Board prior to WIOA implementation and there were no subsequent membership changes prior to Combined State Plan submission, it has not yet been necessary to exercise the business/labor nomination process.

Board Activities

The SWIB created subcommittees that focus on specific goals that align with the goals and strategies of WIOA and the REDCs.  Each subcommittee 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 subcommittees with all members participating on at least one subcommittee.  The subcommittees 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.  This work will include a comprehensive mapping of occupational demands to available credentials and a skills gap analysis between the supply of job seekers and the current and projected worker requirements of business.  The mapping and gap analyses will facilitate the effective delivery of services in the state’s Career Centers and appropriate referral to credential training.

·         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; identifying existing business intermediaries in each region for priority sectors; and determining if there is a need to assist in building this linchpin to further sector strategies.  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.  Local board directors representing the diverse areas of the state (cities, and rural and suburban areas) will be invited to participate for local input on better alignment and service delivery.  A workgroup of core program staff was formed under this subcommittee at the beginning of 2015 to begin discussions on the WIOA Combined State Plan and continue to meet to find ways to progress on WIOA goals of better system integration and alignment.

·         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 subcommittee 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.  Subcommittees may refer issues or concerns to another subcommittee for further consideration if it aligns more with the objective and function of that subcommittee.  For example, if the Significant Industries subcommittee identifies a training skills gap within a specific business sector, it may be referred to the Education & Credentials subcommittee for further study in order to develop a recommendation to address the problem.

State Policies

The State 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 documents; Local boards, 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 State Board, 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 Local and Regional Workforce Planning

·         Functional Alignment of Program Services

·         Veterans’ Priority of Service

·         Individual Training Account Approval Policy

·         MOUs and other Agreements

·         Governance Issues and Guidelines

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

In regards to 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 have been working to improve the State approval process for MOUs, and staff has been officially assigned to focus on this process and work to streamline partner negotiations.  NYSDOL has already 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, the types of data that can be used as a basis for cost allocation, as well as a concrete example of cost allocation plan development.

Core Program and One-Stop Partner Assessments

In addition to the WIOA performance standards, NYSDOL also tracks several Customer Service Indicators (CSIs).  CSIs are designed to move the Career Center System in NYS toward specific goals that NYSDOL deems important to the good of the state, and/or to assist Local Areas in meeting their WIA/WIOA Common Measure goals.  First instituted during PY07, NYSDOL used a number of different CSIs that have evolved over time.  For PY15, CSIs cover the following topics:

·         Ensuring the provision of Initial Assessment as the first staff-assisted service;

·         Ensuring customers have a complete customer record (termed “Employability Profile”) in OSOS;

·         Ensuring customers identified as needing Job Search Ready Services (JSRS) receive a referral within 5 days of the Initial Assessment;

·         Increasing the number of JSRS customers performing resume based searches in JobZone, which populates the NYTalent Bank;

·         Ensuring Youth participants complete a CareerZone Portfolio;

·         Ensuring Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) are done in occupations identified as regional priorities by LWDBs in a region; and

·         Ensuring follow-up with business customers who have referrals on their job orders.

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.

Anticipated 1st year metrics include, but may not be limited to:

·         Number of shared customers across various agencies.

·         Standardized “Report Card” like public reports (aggregate level) available on new web portal (in development): Statewide/Regional/Local; Agency/Provider; and Cross Agency.

Over the next three years, NYESS and NYS DDPC will develop an integrated web-based platform called DB101.  This system will be integrated with NYESS, CareerZone, and JobZone to provide accurate, up-to-date information and benefits calculators so participants can better assess how going to work will impact their access to publicly funded healthcare and income support like Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, housing assistance, and other public benefits.

The Adult Education and Literacy Programs Adult Student Information System and Technical Support (ASISTS) is a NYSED-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 NYSED 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) will be selected for inclusion in the Individual Technical Assistance Program (ITAP).  The Big5 city school district programs (NYC, Yonkers, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo) consistently receive support from ITAP, given their large size.  All ITAP programs will be desk monitored, accompanied by monthly conference calls and an annual scheduled site visit.  All communication and quarterly data analysis will be 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, and any program’s performance that places that program in Quartile 1 and missed one or more of the state benchmarks, is placed under Corrective Action.  The program will be required to correspond electronically on the accountability website.  Quarterly data reviews will be conducted by the NRS Accountability Specialist and subsequent conference calls will be scheduled with those programs exhibiting poor performance or inconsistent data patterns.  The NRS Accountability Specialist will assist 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 continued to receive NYS issued report cards.  This will continue in 2016-17.  The report cards evaluate programs under two distinct methodologies.  The first is a standard benchmark measurement.  NYS benchmarks for performance in Educational Gain, 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 Educational Gain, the program’s scores are weighted based on the educational functioning levels 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 educational gain;

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

·         20% of the score is based on the four follow-up measures, i.e., total students with a follow-up goal who achieved the goal upon exiting divided by the total exiters with one of the identified goals; and

·         10% of the score will be based on achieving both a 50% and 70% response rate on the survey of all students who exited the program with a follow-up goal.

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 11/30;

·         Quarter II (10/01-12/31) data entered and reviewed by 2/28;

·         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 8/31.  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.  This timeline is being reconsidered for FY15/16 and may result in an abbreviated version.

ITAP continues in 2015-16.  ITAPs identify agencies in need of intense technical assistance.  The contracted Accountability Specialist, New York State 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 2015-2016, 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 Educational Gain, Post Test Rate, and Follow up Outcomes.  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 NYSED.  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 CAP plan that identifies specific steps for meeting NYS annual benchmarks by June 30, 2017.  For programs identified for corrective action in November of 2015 or 2016, they must meet their annual benchmarks by June 30, 2017 and June 30, 2018, respectively.

After the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) process is initiated, NYSED staff will conduct virtual calls/webinars to include the local program staff identified by the adult education director, the NRS Accountability Specialist under contract with NYSED and the program’s RAEN director to track progress toward meeting the NYS annual benchmarks.  For a program placed in CAP in 2015-2016, the program will have two years to raise performance to meet or exceed the New York State annual benchmarks.  All communication is documented on the accountability website.  Program data and related data reports are stored in secure, user-protected, individual program accounts accessible only to NYSED staff, the RAEN director, and the NRS Accountability Specialist.  The website and all secure documents are maintained through the office of the NRS Accountability Specialist, funded under contract with NYSED.

As part of the comprehensive CAP, there is a Continuous Evaluation Process (CEP) under which programs and NYSED must identify quarterly progress milestones on key indicators such as educational gain that lead to meeting NYS annual benchmarks within two years.  NYSED staff, the RAEN director, and the NRS Accountability Specialist will conduct a quarterly review to determine whether approved quarterly milestones were met for each agency on corrective action.  Failure to meet the quarterly progress milestones for any three consecutive quarters could result in the termination of the grant at the end of that program year.  This means that a grant could be terminated as early as June 30, 2016.

Both the CAP and CEP 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 New York’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.

·         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 instruction.  This assessment is used to place students in literacy classes.

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

Category III – Services.

·         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 to demonstrate learning gains.  ASISTS calculates the educational 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.

·         Educational Gain - NRS guidelines define a student as demonstrating educational 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 three key NRS outcomes:

o   Employment and Retention of Employment;

o   Attaining the NYS High School Equivalency Diploma; 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.  Employment Preparation Education (EPE) 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 New York State 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 in use of this funding for each of the four WIOA Titles is provided in the following descriptions.

Title I

For Title I Adult, Youth, and Dislocated Worker Programs the majority of funding 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 with the assistance of the SWIB.  To further clarify and expand, New York’s use of State level WIOA funds for workforce investment activities is in compliance with the law’s 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 their regions, and the LWDBs are also consulted for feedback on uses of these funds that will provide local benefit.  Each year from 2011-2014 Congress appropriated no Statewide Activities programmatic funds, or significantly reduced these funds.  During this time New York State used Rapid Response funds to provide employment and training programs to dislocated workers, especially 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, on-the-job training, 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

For Title II Adult Education and Literacy Programs, 2016-17 will be used to plan and prepare a comprehensive multi-year re-bidding of all local WIOA funds using a process similar to 2013.  The comprehensive RFP will contain at least four components with separate competitions:

·         Core WIOA-Pending final Federal guidance, WIOA Title II funds to support Adult Basic Education and Literacy Services includes ABE, Adult Secondary Education (ASE), and/or English Language Acquisition programs.  These programs will be allocated to 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, 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.  Possible funded activities may include family literacy activities as defined in section 203 (9), and English Language Acquisition instruction as defined in section 203 (6) as instruction:

o   Designed to help eligible individuals who are English language learners achieve competence in reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension of the English language; and

o   That leads to attainment of a HSE diploma; and

o   Transition to postsecondary education and training or employment.

·         Integrated English Language and Civics Education-Similarly, 2016-17 will be used to plan and prepare a comprehensive RFP to include funding for Integrated English Language and Civics Education.  Final federal regulatory guidance is critical for the way this part of the comprehensive RFP will be structured, especially whether a connection with integrated education and training will be a requirement for all programs or if it will be discretionary.

·         Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Education Programs-2016-17 will be used to plan and prepare a comprehensive RFP to include Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Education Programs as a program area.  Given projected appropriation levels it is anticipated that the same percentage set aside (10%) will be used as in 2013, pending final federal guidance and other considerations.  In 2013-14 there was $ 2,607,193 statewide available to provide educational programs for criminal offenders in correctional institutions or for other institutionalized education programs.  There was a $250,000 cap for individual applications.

·         The new RFP will support expanded programmatic uses outlined in Section 225, such as integrated education and training; career pathways; concurrent enrollment; peer tutoring; and transition to re-entry initiatives and other post release services with the goal of reducing recidivism.

During grant year 2016-17, NYSED ACCES will implement a new competitive application process for all federal WIOA Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) local funding that will determine the eligible providers that will be awarded funds.  The comprehensive RFP will bundle separate competitions for:

·         Section 225 Corrections Education and other institutionalized individuals

·         Section 211 funding Grants and Contracts for Eligible Providers; and

·         Section 243 Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education.

The purpose of the RFP is to provide adult education and literacy services to assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency and assist adults in the completion of a High School Equivalency diploma and transition to postsecondary study.

All applicants for all funds must meet broad WIOA eligibility requirements, with the exception of NYS WEP funds which are only open to schools and BOCES.  The estimated funds available are $33,379,138 in federal WIOA Title II funds and $1,843,000 in NYS WEP funding.

There are four types of competition:  Part 1.  Adult Basic Education and Literacy Services, including integrated education and training (Section 211 funding); Part 2. Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IEL/CE) (Section 243 funding)  Part 3. Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Education Programs (Section 225 funding); and Part 4. Literacy Zones.  Literacy zones integrate WIOA Title II funds and NYS WEP funds.

All program area must include a program of instruction that:

·         Include curriculum, lesson plans, and instructional materials aligned with NYSED/ OCTAE college and career readiness standards;

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

·         Be part of a career pathway.

Part 1 funds are distributed by formula to distribute funds to 33 local workforce areas using  updated American Community Survey census data for 1.  Adults without HS diploma; 2. English Language learners who speak less than well; 3. Adults in poverty.  Competition is for funding within each Workforce Development Board area, based upon the funds allocated to that area.

Funding in Parts 2, 3 and 4 is distributed based upon a separate statewide competition.  Each Part has its own criteria for evaluation using requirements for the appropriate Section of WIOA.  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 Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the RFP and programs and services in Career Centers and WIOA partners.

A separate application must be submitted for each of the four Parts.

Every applicant receiving funds in each of the four sections of the RFP will receive multi-year awards for three years, with the option of two one-year extensions that will apply to all programs.  Competition for NYS Welfare Education Program funds will be integrated into this WIOA Title II-WEP RFP. 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 will make the application available to  the public and all eligible WIOA applicants by: posting the WIOA Title II-NYS Welfare Education Program 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, NYC 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 Adult Literacy Education (ALE), 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 latest 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 will be required to fill out a “Demonstrated Effectiveness Chart” 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.

All awardees will be required to sub-contract 1.5% of the federal funds to their local workforce development board to support one-stop infrastructure. Using the special rule in Section 233 (b), the local administrative cost limits for eligible providers receiving awards will be raised to enable this support.  Programs awarded WIOA Title II funds will be required to sub-contract these funds to LWDBs.

A process for LWDB review will be established for all WIOA applicants.

The WIOA Title II-NYS WEP comprehensive RFP will distribute WIOA Title II Section 211 funds to 33 LWDAs to ensure statewide coverage.  Funding will be allocated by formula and will take into consideration the literacy and English limited proficiency levels in counties comprising each LWDB, based on data from the American Community Survey. The formula will be adapted from that used in the 2013-14 WIA rebid; specifically, allocations to LWDBs were based on the area’s percentage of the State’s adult population who are under-educated and lack a high school diploma or equivalency and the area’s percentage of the State’s adult population who speak English “less than very well” according to the U.S. Census’ 2006-2010 American Community Survey. 

Awards will be capped based upon the funding available. In the 2013-14 WIA competitive bid, which will be the template for WIOA, the following cap was provided:  “In the New York City Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA), there is a $500,000 cap on each award or as a citywide applicant, an agency who is able to serve at least four of the five boroughs and a minimum of 1,000 students in each borough, may request up to 25 percent of the total LWIA for New York City or $3,315,822 (e.g. minimum of 4,000 students in total).”  A similar approach will be used for WIOA.  This cap will be reviewed and further adapted for the 2016-17 rebid. For 2016-17, there will be a $250,000 award cap for Corrections Education.  Award caps for integrated English Literacy and Civics Education will be set based on a national and state survey of integrated education and training programs.

Adult education and literacy eligible providers approved under WIA’s five year multi-year awards that began in 2013-14 will continue to receive funding through June 30,2017 or until the bid is completed, as long as they adhere to State and federal grant expectations, as measured through NRS program performance reports, achievement of enrollment targets, and financial compliance.

Proposed Timeline:  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:

·         November 2016: RFP submitted to the NYS Division of the Budget for approval with priorities and requirements from the New York State Combined Plan.

·         January 2017:  NYSED issues the comprehensive RFP approved by the State Division of the Budget.

·         January 2017:  NYSED holds a bidders conference webinar and receives questions from potential applicants, and issues and posts answers clarifying the questions on the NYSED website identified in the RFP.

·         February 2017:  Teams of reviewers assigned and trained.

·         March 2017:  Local Workforce Development Boards rate and return AEFLA applications to applicants; due date for AEFLA applications (over 400 are expected).

·         March-April 2017:  Review and final award recommendations by NYSED ACCES.

·         April 2017:  Award recommendations submitted to State Comptroller for approval.

·         June 2017:  NYSED ACCES announces AEFLA grant and contract awards.

·         July 1, 2017:  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. If there is a major discrepancy in scores for a given application, a third reviewer will rate the application.

Literacy Zones-Literacy Zones are a “made in New York” concept piloted over five years ago.  In 2013, 49 Literacy Zone grants or grant contracts were supported through the comprehensive multi-year competition for local WIA funds and matching state funds.  It is anticipated that a similar approach could be used as NYSED plans and prepares for competitive rebidding under WIOA, including an expanded focus on literacy zones to provide referral, navigational assistance, counseling and case management to: enable New Yorkers to connect with the workforce development system; access career pathways, integrated education and training; integrated English Language Literacy and Civics Education; and postsecondary transition.  RAEN center funding will support an annual Literacy Zone Institute in 2016-17 to focus on workforce development navigation, referral, and partnerships.  Webinars for case managers will be conducted throughout the year.

Literacy zones are found in communities, both urban and rural, of concentrated poverty and/or limited English language proficiency.  Each has at least one family welcome center with case managers who work with adult literacy students and their families.  The literacy zone website is: http://www.nys-education-literacy-zones.orgLow literacy and limited educational attainment often co-exist with other socioeconomic disadvantages such as low health literacy; minimal or no medical insurance; unemployment; and poverty (Cardoza, 2013; Center for Health Care Strategies, 2013; Lerman & Schmidt, 1999; Vernon, Trujillo, Rosenbaum, & DeBuono, 2007; Weiss & Palmer, 2004).  The combination of low skill and high poverty increases vulnerability for these populations while they try to navigate complex systems seeking medical care, social services, and employment.  The programs of Literacy Zone and their case management approaches are designed to facilitate adults’ educational success by enabling them to meet basic needs, such as obtaining healthcare and other benefits, that may prevent learning and persistence (Comings, 2007; Tracy-Mumford, 1994).  Participating adults are guided through the many services and supports available in their communities with the assistance of case managers from the Literacy Zone.  The familiarity of case managers with each community partner allows for a seamless and centralized delivery of social and educational services.  Low literacy affects every aspect of these adults’ lives, including the ability to access public assistance specifically designed to support this population.  Across the country, there has been a unified effort to bring attention to this long standing but invisible problem.  Some staggering U.S. statistics related to illiteracy include:

·         Forty-three percent of adults with literacy skills at Level 1 (Below Basic) live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5 (Begin to Read, n.d.; Kutner, Greenberg, Jin, & Paulsen, 2006).

·         Three out of four food stamp recipients perform in the lowest two literacy levels (Begin to Read, n.d.; Epstein, 1997).

·         Ninety percent of welfare recipients are high school dropouts (Begin to Read, n.d.; John Corcoran Foundation, n.d.).

·         Girls ages 16 to 19 at the poverty level and below, with below average skills, are six times more likely to have out-of-wedlock children than their higher skilled counterparts (Begin to Read, n.d.; John Corcoran Foundation, n.d.; ProLiteracy, n.d.).

Pathways out of poverty, supported by the Literacy Zones, are designed to meet a range of adults’ needs and may include:

·         A continuum of literacy development from early childhood through adult, including strong support for parents’ involvement in their children’s literacy development at home and engagement with the school system;

·         Assistance and support for out-of-school youth, enabling them to complete high school and succeed in postsecondary education or advanced training;

·         Postsecondary transition programs enabling out-of-school youth and adults to obtain a high school equivalency diploma and succeed in postsecondary education;

·         Programs that enable out-of-school youth and adults receiving public assistance, or families with incomes of less than 200% of poverty, to obtain and retain employment;

·         Transition programs for youth and adults returning to the community from incarceration;

·         Pathways to citizenship and English language proficiency for adults with limited English language proficiency;

·         Workforce development programs, including apprenticeship, career and technical education, and career pathways;

·         Support for mature workers and senior citizens, enabling them to stay out of poverty;

·         Support for individuals with disabilities and their families; and

·         Transition support for returning veterans and their families, including veterans with disabilities.

Literacy Zone provides a systemic approach to meeting the literacy needs of these communities by establishing dedicated family welcome centers in high poverty neighborhoods and assigning participants to case managers who then engage the appropriate community partners based on the needs of individual participants to provide comprehensive services for participants and their families.  By addressing the basic needs of participants, the Literacy Zone is designed to provide stability in the lives of participants so they develop skills and attain educational and employment-related outcomes.  The family welcome centers serving as the entry point must be located within the literacy zone.  Ideally, they are trusted locations to the families within the zone and in many cases are frequented by these families.

A well known fact among educators of adult literacy students is that life circumstances often cause these students to stop in and stop out of adult education.  The case management provided in the Literacy Zone is aimed at stabilizing the student within their family network such that persistence in literacy programming will ultimately lead to educational gain.  When these adult students enter literacy programming, they are rarely model students; they most frequently present with health, housing, legal, or financial dilemmas that impede their ability to focus, learn, and achieve positive outcomes.  The Literacy Zone case managers are able to connect the student with community services to aid in the support of the student and their family’s basic needs.  This effort is focused entirely on the ultimate success of that student in literacy programming.  This is the primary reason NYSED designed the WIA distribution of funds to include a marriage of every Literacy Zone to a strong adult literacy program with high expectations for educational gain.

As part of the planning and RFP development process in 2016-17, NYSED will explore a set aside for integrated education and training/bridge programming, pending final federal guidance; availability of federal funding; and other factors.  Whether bridge programming is a separate set aside or integrated into core WIOA, the RFP will incentivize strong connections between basic skills, ELA, and HSE instruction with training or postsecondary education that leverages WIOA Title I youth and adult funding, community college Full Time Equivalent (FTE) aid, adult career and technical education programming funded by Perkins CTE or Employment Preparation Education State aid, Department of Social Services funding streams such as SNAP, apprenticeship programming, and other bridge intiatives such as those being piloted by the NYC Human Resources Administration and NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.  ACCES-adult education will use 2016-17 to develop and assess career bridge pilots and models, and to develop and disseminate career  pathways tool kits.  ACCES-AEPP funded CUNY professional development for Teacher Leaders will include a career pathways focus.  The state’s dedicated websites for adult education instruction will include a clearinghouse of effective curricula/instructional frameworks, teaching strategies and tools, peer-reviewed instructional resources for career pathways, integrated education and training, integrated English language and civics education, and career bridge programs.  Where appropriate, professional development and evaluation will be coordinated with partner agencies that are piloting bridge programming.

A major challenge for 2016-17 is to work with NYSDOL and the 33 LWDBs to develop and disseminate a review process that enables local boards to determine and rate local WIOA applications for how the applicant’s proposal aligns with the approved local workforce plan.

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 community-based organization; a library or library system; a volunteer literacy organization; an institution of higher education; an Educational Opportunity Center; 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 a business and one of the above entities.

As part of a comprehensive agency determination for one-stop infrastructure support, ACCES-AEPP will explore the feasibility of negotiating the local administrative cost limits in the grant or contract above 5% to support additional infrastructure costs.

In 2016-17, ACCES-AEPP will continue support of three major state leadership investments and adapt them to WIOA requirements, pending final Federal guidance, and the operational strategies outlined in section 103 of this Combined State Plan.

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 the State as required by section 223 (D). 

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

A new initiative for 2016-17 will be to work with NYSED to ensure that funded agencies are able to access federal E-rate funding to support broadband infrastructure and technology.  More information can be found on the website:

National 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 2016-17, the following deliverables will be developed and annually updated to reflect new state and federal guidance: New York State 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 New York’s new high school equivalency assessment, the 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.

ASISTS NRS Student Data and Reporting System: ASISTS is the state performance database system operated by the NYC Literacy Assistance Center (LAC).  Once WIOA accountability and reporting requirements are defined in final regulations and agreements reached for data reporting with NYSDOL, NYSED will work with NYC 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.

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.

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 New York State’s Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS).  These licensing agreements include distance learning programs across NYS.

Title III

WIOA Title III W-P 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.  New York State directs these funds as necessary to best support the system and to most efficiently fulfill Federal mandates.  PY2015 funding for NYS is $38,363,357, representing a $141,071 reduction from PY2014.

Title IV

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

WIOA Title IV VR Program funds received by 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.  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 particular geographic area, NYSCB district offices purchase services from other providers.  In addition, 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.  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.”

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 ACCES-VR uses for intensive supported employment services. 

ACCES-VR maintains agreements with other agencies for ongoing coordination of the implementation of supported employment intensive and extended services.  ACCES-VR is responsible for the provision of extended services to individuals who are not eligible for such services through other sources.  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 ACCES-VR and the provider.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program

Federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program benefits include funding for Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRAs), 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 W-P 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 Systems Integration Workgroup as a sub-workgroup to the Aligning Workforce Programs Subcommittee of the SWIB.  The workgroup meets regularly and 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 Systems Integration Workgroup determined that the first step is to develop a detailed inventory of the current case management, data, and reporting systems.  This will be used to create a gap analysis for WIOA compliance as well as provide a summary for executive staff.  To that end, NYS provided demonstrations of each agency’s case management systems to the core programs.    The demonstrations will also help identify data fields that are already collected by each system, even though they may not be fields that are included in reporting.  NYS has reviewed the PIRL to indentify gaps between the current systems and the additional requirements under WIOA.  The core programs have begun working with their vendors to modify the existing systems to be compliant with WIOA data collection and reporting requirements. NYS is awaiting further guidance from Federal departments to improve our assessment of what changes can or will be made to its systems.

NYS began identifying 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 Systems Integration Workgroup determined that the most feasible next step towards 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.  The workgroup has begun viewing demonstrations from potential vendors as well as researching the solutions other states have implemented.

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 will also set up 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.

NYS believes the best way to ensure post-program success of participants is to provide a high quality of services during the program.  To achieve this, NYS set additional performance indicators, the Customer Service Indicators (CSIs).  In PY15, there were four CSIs primarily used to gauge program quality.  The first covers program intake by ensuring that participants receive an Initial Assessment during their first appointment to determine the additional services needed.  As the economy is improving, the next indicators are focused on getting job search ready participants back into the workforce as quickly as possible.  These include the completion of the participants’ Employability Profile; the timely referral of participants to relevant job postings; and the usage of the JobZone and CareerZone systems developed by NYS to assist in job search and career planning.  Performance in these indicators will drive performance in the outcome indicators detailed in WIOA.

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.  Career Center staff is trained to ask about Veteran status at intake.  If an individual self‐identifies as a Veteran or eligible spouse at the Career Center, that individual is scheduled with the next available staff person and provided immediate priority in the delivery of employment and training services. 

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 proper signage plays a pivotal role.  As such, NYS 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 local workforce areas 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, RFP, 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.

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 Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) specialist coverage, and when characteristic information is available in OSOS indicating the Veteran customer is 18-24 years of age and/or has a disability or offender status, the Veteran customer is scheduled first from the UI weekly download to meet with the DVOP specialist to receive services.

When a Veteran 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.

Regardless of the service delivery program the Veteran customer is served under, Career Center staff complete the Military Service Questionnaire (MSQ) with every customer who identifies his/herself as a Veteran or eligible spouse.  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. The MSQ is used to determine if the Veteran customer has a significant barrier to employment (SBE) and is eligible to meet with a DVOP specialist.


The 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 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;

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

·         An offender who has been released from incarceration within the last 12 months;

·         Lacking a high school diploma or high school equivalent certificate; and

·         Low-income.


NYSDOL will provide immediate services to veterans who attest to belonging to one of the six criteria listed above and/or those veterans who are 18-24 years of age. Career Centers will have a self-attestation checklist for veteran customers to complete, identifying those with SBE and veterans between 18-24 years of age. Veterans who are recognized as having SBE and/or those veterans who are 18-24 years of age will be referred to DVOP Specialists (when available) or another Career Center staff member for intensive case management services, including an initial assessment, comprehensive assessment and individual employment plan.


Workforce Development System Technical Advisory 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 be in need of Career Development Services.  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 being in need of Career Development Services,

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 New York State Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) State Plan, available at

Special Populations and Accessibility

Employment First

Through the Employment First policy, the State 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, the State 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: New York State 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 New York State 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 New York’s regional economic development efforts.

3.       New York Employment Services System (NYESS): The NYESS system has already distinguished New York 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 New York’s integrated employment case management system to comprehensively monitor and support employment outcomes in New York State.

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.  New York State 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): New York can integrate the MBI-WPD program into the online New York State 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: New York State 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 schools 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 New York State Education Department’s Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) model of engaging New York State 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), 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 New York 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 New York State has made significant progress in developing an Employment First framework, through a variety of collaborations across federal, state, private, and public partners, New York State’s full potential has yet to be realized.  The Employment First Commission believes that New York State 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 New York State.

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).

New York State 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 Workforce 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; ACCES-VR; NYSCB; OASAS; and NYS Office for the Aging. 

New York State continues to be at the forefront in the area of serving 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 Employment Network in the United States.  ENs are designated by the SSA to assist individuals with disabilities to find competitive jobs.  The statewide EN designation allows SSA the ability to collaborate directly with New York to document employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities holding a Ticket-To-Work, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the Ticket-To-Work program.  As a statewide EN, NYESS creates a network of 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 to be reinvested in expanded job supports for individuals with disabilities.


Accessibility is an important component within the public workforce system.  New York State 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 and will be revised in the coming months to reflect the new WIOA regulations.

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 #10-01-1, found at, was issued to the Career Center system, and 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.

Additional language access resources are available here:


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

New York State’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 New York State 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.

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 will accept requests from current LWDB Directors for LWDA initial designation for local areas that meet three criteria:  Successful Performance; Sustained Fiscal Integrity; and local Chief Elected Officials(s) (CEOs) Agreement executed for WIOA.  CEOs were contacted, and a standardized agreement, “Sample Multi-Jurisdictional CEO Agreement or Template for use by single CEO local areas” was sent to them with instructions on completion.  Requests included information on the following: Counties/cities included in the proposed Local Area; CEOs; Designation of Grant Recipient and Local Governmental Grant Subrecipient/Incorporated Fiscal Agent; Composition of and Designation of Workforce Development Board; Designation of One-Stop Services; and other responsibilities.

Local designation requests were reviewed, verified, and organized by NYSDOL staff and approved on behalf of the Governor. 

As outlined in New York’s WIA State Plan, appeals from units not designated would have been directed to the SWIB for review, in conjunction with the Governor.  An appeal of a negative determination on a request for designation as an LWDA could be accepted from any, or all, of the Chief Local Elected Officials who had requested the designation.  The appeal was required to be:

·         Postmarked within 30 days of the issuance of the notice of disapproval;

·         Submitted to the Director of DEWS; and

·         Provided concurrently to any other Chief Local Elected Officials affected but not parties to the appeal.

The appeal would need to clearly address the question of how the decision being appealed is contrary to the best interest(s) of the businesses and residents of the local area, and should provide documentation to address the following:

·         Geographic areas served by local educational agencies and intermediate educational agencies;

·         Geographic areas served by postsecondary educational institutions and area vocational education schools;

·         The extent to which the proposed local area is consistent with the labor market area;

·         The distance individuals would need to travel to receive services provided in the proposed local area; and

·         The resources of the local area available to effectively administer the activities carried out under Title I, Subtitle B, of WIOA.

The State would respond to the appeal after consultation with the Chair of the SWIB, and if appropriate, all SWIB members.  If a response was not possible within 30 days, NYS would notify the appellant (and any other Chief Local Elected Officials) of the reason for the delay and a reasonable date by which a decision would be issued.

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

New York State recognizes that the costs of infrastructure used with respect to a Career Center means non-personnel costs necessary for the general operation of the center including: the rental costs of the facilities; the costs of utilities and maintenance; equipment (including assessment-related products and assistive technology for individuals with disabilities); and technology to facilitate access to the center, including the center’s planning and outreach activities.  The State also recognizes and encourages the best scenario for funding infrastructure costs is for the Local Board, Chief Local Elected Official(s), and the one-stop partners to universally agree to a funding methodology and include this methodology in the respective MOU(s).

The WIA and NPRM advised that beginning July 1, 2016, the start date of federal PY2016 for WIOA, in those instances where a local area fails to reach consensus agreement on an infrastructure funding methodology for PY2016 funds, the State infrastructure funding mechanism will be applicable to such local area for that program year and for each subsequent program year for which those entities and individuals fail to reach such an agreement.  The State will allocate the infrastructure funds from contributions of administration funds in an amount up to the percentage funding caps outlined in Section 121(h)(2)(D)(ii) to local areas in accordance with the formula established for purposes of assisting in paying the costs of infrastructure of centers.  The formula established will be based on factors such as: the number of one-stop centers in a local area; the population served by such centers; the services provided by such centers; and other factors relating to the performance of such centers that the SWIB determines are appropriate.  However, the WIA Frequently Asked Questions updated on January 28, 2016 advise that the specific WIOA requirements for local agreements for funding the one-stop infrastructure costs will not apply until PY 2017, that States and local areas may continue to negotiate local funding agreements as they have been doing under WIA for purposes of PY 2016, and the State funding mechanism for infrastructure costs will not be implemented until PY 2017.

One important aspect of the formula that requires clarification is whether or not the infrastructure costs of the Career Centers are paid for in an on-going fashion by one or more partners even without the agreement of all partners in respective MOU(s).  For example, the local WIOA partner pays the rent and the local Employment Services partner pays for photocopying equipment and supplies.  Since both partners are already contributing, it would likely be unfair to apply an across-the-board “mechanism” contribution to WIOA and Employment Services for this center.  As such, the mechanism must include a method to credit partners for their existing contributions prior to determining the “mechanism” contribution.  A second issue to consider is that it is quite possible that the capped “mechanism” partner contributions will be insufficient to cover the benefit received by each partner, and further when pooled, may also be insufficient to cover all center infrastructure costs, particularly in downstate New York where center lease costs are very high.

Prior to July 1, 2016, the State will seek to release policy to the workforce development system to define the formula to be used in the development of a state infrastructure funding mechanism as well as a defined process for required one-stop partners to follow when appealing a determination by the State regarding the portion of funds provided for infrastructure costs.  In drafting such policy, the State will seek guidance from USDOL, consult with other states and related national organizations including the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) and the National Governor’s Association, and analyze the final WIOA regulations upon release in 2016.  In drafting the policy, the State will include language that advises any one-stop partner of the right to appeal a determination by the State on the basis that such determination is inconsistent with the State infrastructure funding requirements.  The policy will also emphasize that the appeal process will be structured to arrive at a prompt resolution of the appeal in order to ensure the funds are distributed in a timely manner.

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 New York State, 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 five years to support work-based training proposals recommended by the Councils.  These training proposals directly support the economic investments of the State, 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.  The Rapid Response Team conducts onsite and offsite customized service orientations for workers, covering reemployment services, UI, state public healthcare enrollment options, credit counseling resources, and an overview of Trade Act benefits (when appropriate) and the TAA individual eligibility process.  When registered in OSOS, both the business and attached affected workers are coded with a Rapid Response or Expeditious Response Event Number for intensive reemployment services and progress tracking purposes. 

The Regional Rapid Response Coordinator (RRRC) keeps the State TAA Coordinator, State Dislocated Worker Unit, and key local NYSDOL management and WIOA partners, apprised of account status updates.  Working with the business, the Rapid Response Team develops an action plan for service.

Customized service plans involving individual assistance, workshops, and dedicated job fairs are developed for onsite follow through by the team.  Rapid Response teams (including supervisory staff) maintain and case-manage job seeker caseloads, and five meaningful service contacts are conducted daily.  In addition, each staff person makes three meaningful calls daily to businesses for job seeker advocacy; layoff aversion (selling Shared Work); and uncovering  Business Services needs.  In addition, Rapid Response aggressively pursues media Red Flags for generating Expeditious Response leads or even anticipating service before a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice is submitted.  Note that the TAA section later in this document for additional information on the coordination between the Rapid Response and TAA programs.

Natural Disaster Preparedness

The New York State Department of Labor can deliver the following to assist with Natural Disaster Preparedness: 

·         Disaster National Emergency Grant (NEG).

·         Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

·         Mobile Disaster Worker Response Team.

Disaster NEG:

Designated Disaster Areas:

·         The FEMA Disaster Declaration for New York State includes the availability of public assistance funding for the affected counties. 

Use of Funds:

·         The NEG creates temporary employment to perform demolition, cleaning, repair, renovation, and reconstruction of damaged and destroyed public structures, facilities, and lands located within the designated disaster area.  Work on private property may only be performed if workers from units of local government are also authorized to conduct, and currently perform, such work.

·         The duration of temporary employment must be established and is limited to public and private non-profit agencies.  The maximum level of wages paid to a participant is established, excluding the cost of fringe benefits.

Eligible Individuals:

·         Workers temporarily or permanently dislocated (unemployed) as a result of the disaster (dislocated workers as defined by WIOA as those who are unemployed and do not receive UI compensation or any other type of income support); and

·         Individuals who are long-term unemployed.


·         DEWS develops and submits a Disaster NEG application to NYSDOL’s Administrative Finance Bureau.  The application includes a fully documented work plan and budget based on:

o   Identification of the temporary jobs and worksites which were or will be created;

o   Timeframes for project activities; and

o   NYSDOL monitoring and oversight of the grant.

·         NYSDOL field staff working with Local Boards of the affected counties develop aspects of the plan.

·         After the Disaster NEG is awarded, the State must provide a fully documented work plan for the assistance within 60 days.

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 (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, 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 TCC as the point of contact for all incoming telephone calls).

Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs


Apprenticeship staff attends and provides information at job fairs that target both youth and adults.  Dislocated workers and unemployed individuals, including adults and youth, 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. 

Apprenticeship staff also meet with school guidance counselors to provide information on Registered Apprenticeship.  Throughout NYS, Construction Career Day events are held annually which introduce high school students to Apprenticeship in the building and construction trades.  Students have the opportunity to try various pieces of equipment and connect directly with Registered Apprenticeship sponsors.  NYSDOL staff also attend these events to provide information on all Registered Apprenticeship program opportunities.  The NYSDOL CareerZone website is 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.

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 who 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

New York State’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.

H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant

In November 2011, NYS was awarded a $5 million USDOL Employment and Training Administration, H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant intended to raise the technical skill levels of American workers so they can obtain or upgrade employment in high growth industries and occupations.  Over time, these education and training programs will help businesses reduce their use of skilled foreign professionals permitted to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis under the H1-B visa program.  NYSDOL requested and was granted an extension of the grant program through June 30, 2016.  The extension adds two full semesters to the grant, allowing for both more participants and time for participants to gain positive outcomes.

The project has the following two components:

1.       Advanced Manufacturing in the Finger Lakes:

o   $3 million will fund state-level project management and regional initiatives which focus on developing a talent pipeline for the existing and emerging advanced manufacturing industries in the region.  Machinery manufacturing (NAICS 333) and computer and electronic product manufacturing (NAICS 334) are established significant industries in the Finger Lakes, providing a relatively large number (22,400) of high-paying jobs. 

o   Ensuring a talent pipeline for engineering occupations will be critical to sustaining advanced manufacturing industries in this region.  Mechanical, Industrial, and Electrical Engineers are needed on an on-going basis.  This project will concentrate on middle-skill occupations at the technician level which support these engineering positions.

2.       New York State’s Registered Nurse Upgrade Project:

o   $2 million funded a state-level education, training, and upgrading skills grant for existing nurse professionals, which leads to career growth and increased wages.  NYSDOL, in partnership with the Healthcare Association of New York State and the State University of New York, developed and released a Request for Proposals for the Registered Nurse Upgrade Project in 2012.

o   This initiative targets, on a statewide basis, incumbent workers who are at least 18 years of age, currently practicing as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or an Associate Degree (or diploma) Nurse (RN), and who are interested in pursuing a higher degree of training and education in nursing.  Eligible education and training pathways include: LPN to RN and Associate or diploma RN to Baccalaureate RN (BSN).

National Emergency Grants:

Dislocated Worker Training National Emergency Grant (DWT-NEG):

On June 26, 2013, USDOL announced that NYSDOL was awarded over $1.4 million under the Dislocated Worker Training (DWT) NEG.  USDOL determined that widespread layoffs combined with the high numbers of long-term unemployed had a significant impact on the workforce development system’s ability to provide crucial training services to improve laid-off workers’ employment prospects.  These conditions were formally recognized as a significant dislocation event for the purpose of making NEG funding available. 

NYSDOL used DWT-NEG funds to solicit applications supporting training and credential attainment to help dislocated workers become reemployed, thereby promoting the state’s economic recovery and continuing efforts to make the state’s workforce the most competitive in the world.  NYSDOL issued a Request for Applications (RFA) that supported approaches such as OJT, customized training, Registered Apprenticeships, remedial training, and classroom training.  The funds were initially targeted to serve dislocated workers in Jefferson and Lewis counties, due to their high unemployment rates, and then were made available statewide.

Priority was given to those dislocated workers who were long-term (27 weeks or more) unemployed and those profiled as likely to exhaust UI benefits.  The RFA was issued on July 21, 2014 and was available until June 30, 2015.  NYSDOL applied for and received a one-year extension on the funding from USDOL and will issue a competitive RFP in Fall 2015 to award the remaining balance of the funds.

Job Driven National Emergency Grant (JD-NEG):

On June 26, 2014, NYS was awarded a $6.175 million Job Driven NEG from USDOL.  NYSDOL is using the majority of the awarded funding to administer a statewide program via an RFA to serve dislocated workers, with a particular focus on the long-term unemployed, unemployment beneficiaries likely to exhaust benefits, Veterans, and foreign-trained immigrant worker populations.  Funding supports work-based training in the form of OJT, apprenticeships, and trainings customized to the specific needs of businesses in high-demand sectors.  The funds were initially targeted to serve dislocated workers in the ten Unemployment Strikeforce Initiative counties (Bronx, Jefferson, Lewis, Kings, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Orleans, Montgomery, Franklin, and Steuben) for the period February 6, 2015 through June 1, 2015, and then were made available statewide.  To date, 13 awards totaling approximately $1 million have been made to train 263 dislocated workers.

In addition to the work-based training initiative, up to 5% of funding awarded is utilized to upgrade employment tools.  These tools include NYTalent, to assist businesses to find the most qualified candidates for their job openings and its sister tool, SMART, to assist job seekers with resume building and job order matching.  These upgrades increase the speed and accuracy of job matching services provided directly to workforce system program participants.  The funding is also used to further develop the Workforce Integrated Profile Page (WIPP), part of the UI-ES Connectivity Project.  Additionally, funding will be used to incorporate the Your Employability Score (YES) application with the WIPP.  NY built YES, an Employability Score Application, within JobZone based on the June 2014 White House Data Jam where NY’s Employability Score concept was chosen as a project to be developed within 90 days.  The YES collects data related to employment prospects and weighs this data based on which factors contribute more heavily to employment.  Much like a credit score, the YES can be improved through a series of targeted adjustments, investments, and changes.  The higher the customer’s YES, the greater the customer’s competitive advantage in the labor market.

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 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 may renew the contract on an annual basis for an amount up to the year-one award, and for up to four (4) 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 2015, 12 recommendations made by the Council on Community Re-entry and Reintegration were approved by Governor Cuomo to remove barriers faced by formerly incarcerated New Yorkers in regards to employment, housing, and healthcare.

Regarding employment, NYS will adopt “fair chance hiring.”  This will remove the requirement that applicants for competitive positions with State agencies disclose information on prior convictions until and unless the agency interviews the candidate and is interested in hiring him/her.  A new kiosk-based system designed by Apploi Corp. will also be utilized to allow job seekers with past criminal convictions to market themselves to businesses through video.  Going forward, the Council will continue its work by promoting a range of educational opportunities to improve employment for this target population.

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 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.

Local Workforce Development Areas 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.

Consistent with the strategic visions and goals advanced in the Combined Plan, the State is committed to enhancing program alignment and service delivery.  The State 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).  The work group, in collaboration with the Employment First State Leadership Mentorship Program (EFSLMP), has established a Vision Quest project with the stated goal “to develop alignment between agencies servicing youth to assure quality services and that youth do not fall through the cracks.” The Vision Quest project is initially focused on improving services for youth with disabilities or multiple barriers to employment following the Integrated Resource Team (IRT) model developed under the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Project.  The State seeks to expand the IRT model to OSY without regard to their disability status and provide the same level of service integration demonstrated in our multiple DEI projects.  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.  The State 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.

Element services are provided through 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 New York, providing the program flexibility that a statewide program model would not.

The Program Development Office co-ordinates and supports youth activities across the state through a number of strategies including technical assistance; local area data monitoring; 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 and document policies that reflect the specific needs of their economy and youth.  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 with a special emphasis on building the literacy and work-readiness skills to compete in the global economy.  This assistance is intended 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.

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

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 Disabilities

·         Engaging Youth through Positive Social Behaviors

·         The Credential Connection: Creating a Competitive Workforce for Effective Delivery of the National Work Readiness Credential

·         More Summer Experiences for Life Success

·         The New, New York State Career Guide

·         Youth Data Tools to Manage Your WIOA Program

·         Moving from the GED to the new NYS High School Equivalency

·         Incorporating Activities to Build Youth Resiliency and Self-Efficacy

·         Critical Elements of a WIOA Youth Program – a Guide for Local Success

·         Resources to Support Youth in Transition

·         The NYS Dept. of Labor Youth Portal: Resources for Professionals

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.  Where local workforce areas have a Job Corps presence, they invite Job Corps representation on their boards.

In the coming year the Program Development Office will increase outreach to Job Corps staff and ensure that Job Corps information is shared in monthly youth calls and technical assistance webinars.  Job Corps staff will have the opportunity to join a LinkedIn youth practitioners group currently under development.

These tools will prepare youth for high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations of the 21st century and meet the demands of business, especially in high-growth industries of the knowledge economy.  This includes:

·         The continued support and development of CareerZone, a NYSDOL career exploration and planning tool made freely available to 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.  A new Young Adult career plan portfolio level was developed and shared with youth programs.

·         CareerZone/JobZone (,, NYSDOL’s online career planning tools, are the self-service customer interface for OSOS.  Coordinated by the Career Development and Youth Initiatives Office, WIA 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.  With phases one and two of the UI-ES Connectivity Project completed, significant updates and enhancements are available to CareerZone and JobZone customers including additional job seeker tools, improved assessments, enhanced graphics, and functional improvements including the integration of the SMART resume builder and job search tools.  These tools work directly with NYTalent, a business job order writer and resume matching tool.  Enhancements to CareerZone and JobZone will continue into 2016-17.

·         The provision of technical assistance and support to encourage preparation and testing for the National Work Readiness Credential (NWRC) in youth programs across the state.  The NWRC is a certification of an individual's readiness for entry-level work as defined by businesses.  It is the first assessment for entry-level workers to provide a universal, transferable, national standard for work readiness.  The National Work Readiness Credential is not intended to replace academics, high school, or postsecondary education.  Instead, it addresses the ability of an individual to perform basic entry-level tasks.  The NWRC can serve as the first step to help youth entering the job market successfully obtain entry-level jobs.

·         The continued development and support of the NYSDOL 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.  Materials in development include:

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

·         New OSOS Youth Guide – a resource 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; and

·         The New, New York State Career Guide – an updated compilation of several NYSDOL career resources to be maintained online with customized resources for target populations such as youth, Veterans, New Americans including immigrants and refugees, etc.

The Program Development Office will continue to:

·         Provide technical assistance to local areas, state agencies, and those community based organizations serving youth through monthly Youth Issues calls to disseminate workforce information pertaining to youth with a special emphasis on building literacy and work-readiness skills to compete in the global economy.  This will help to reinforce the effective implementation of 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 Common Measures to ensure youth receive the highest quality of service;

·         Create youth-appropriate tools to prepare youth for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations of the 21st century and meet the demands of business, especially in the high-growth industries of the knowledge economy.  This involves the continued support and development of CareerZone and JobZone.  The Program Development Office will continue work with NYSED to encourage the renewed interest in the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Learning Standards; support the provision of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming; and participate on the Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential Workgroup.  Additionally, training will be developed for the NYSED Transition Coordinators in order for them to have the ability to provide technical assistance on CareerZone to educators across the state.

·         Develop curriculum and training materials for professionals working with youth to support the implementation of programs that meet the needs of individual and cultural differences; support the development of youth-centered plans; and embody a youth development approach.  This includes continued work and updating of resources to support the new CareerZone User’s Guide for Educators, updating the relevant Work Based Learning Guide sections from NYSED, supporting the use of CareerZone and JobZone in the NYSED Literacy Zone program, and the incorporation of CareerZone into the New York City Education Department’s DIG/IT initiative and Summer Enrichment Program for over-aged, under-credited students.

·         Expand content for NYSDOL’s Youth Portal. 

·         Work to support implementation of the NWRC in youth programs across the state to assist youth that lack basic work readiness skills (including workplace listening, math, reading, and situational judgment).  NYSDOL support has come in the form of providing programs with NWRC test vouchers to help with the financial costs of implementing the program and coordinating training for front line staff on the official curriculum for the NWRC.  The Youth Office will work with Business Services to expand promotion of the NWRC credential to businesses across NYS.

WIOA requires the establishment or reinforcement of certain program parameters to aid in Youth program implementation, as follows (excerpted from NYSDOL Technical Advisory #15-h):

·         Procurement of Youth Program Services - LWDBs are responsible for providing guidance for Youth Program workforce investment activities and procuring eligible providers of youth workforce investment activities in the local area by awarding grants or contracts on a competitive basis.  If youth services leveraged with non-WIOA funds do not cover any or all of the Youth Program Elements, they must be procured by the LWDB.  In accordance with NPRM 681.470, LWDBs may leverage existing youth services that cover Youth program elements through non-WIOA funded partners, and if they do so they must enter into Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) with these partners to ensure that the Youth Program elements will be offered.  If the LWDB so chooses, an optional Youth Standing Committee can be designated to recommend competitively selected awardees to the LWDB.  LWDBs are responsible for ensuring Youth service providers are held accountable for performance measures required under WIOA.

·         As WIOA emphasizes serving out-of-school youth (OSY), LWDBs should evaluate programs to assess the balance of active in-school youth (ISY) and OSY.  If a new youth RFP has already been developed with an exclusive focus on serving OSY, but ISY were enrolled in prior years and still require services, a plan for serving ISY must be developed.

·         Clarification regarding youth requiring additional assistance as defined in WIOA Sec. 129(a)(1): WIOA requires low-income eligibility for OSY who require additional assistance to enter or complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment.  Of the total ISY enrolled in the WIOA youth program, only 5% of ISY can be eligible based on the “additional assistance” criterion

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

1.       In each school district of the State, each minor from six to sixteen years of age shall attend upon full time instruction.

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

3.       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 in subdivision three of this section, 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.

NYSED defines post-secondary education attendance as youth enrolled in courses for credit that are recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award (matriculated). Youth who are enrolled in vocational or occupational programs through post-secondary institutions are considered undergraduates and in-school

·         Regarding the definition of the term “Basic Skills Deficient”, NYSDOL accepts the definition provided in WIOA that this term refers to an individual:

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

2.       Who is a youth or an adult, 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 society.

Adult Education and Academic Standards

At the September 2012 ACCES Committee meeting, the Board of Regents agreed to issue an RFP for a new HSE test that would be aligned over three years to Common Core State Standards and College and Career Readiness Standards 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 an RFP to procure a new HSE test.  The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill was selected as the HSE test for New York State.  The Office of Adult Education Programs and Policy initiated a comprehensive process to introduce professional development of CCSS/CCRS to adult education funded programs in 2015-16.  The TASC will increase in rigor each year over the next three years with more in-depth testing of CCSS and strong alignment with CCRS. 

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 are being considered for 2015.  An RFP will be issued in 2015 to invite additional testing sites for January 2016.

A major challenge to New York’s adult education system throughout the implementation of the Combined State Plan continues to be implementation of the HSE test and re-tooling instruction and professional development to support success on multiple pathways that align with CCSS/CCRS.  To support this, NYSED established a Statewide CCSS workgroup that brings together curriculum experts and key program leaders including the New York City Department of Education, CUNY, Indiana professional development experts, seven RAEN directors, and SED regional staff.  The workgroup will continue to develop a multi-year state plan to move adult education instruction and staff development to full CCSS/CCRS alignment by 2017.

The activities conducted during 2014-2015 that will 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.  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 high school equivalency and college and career transition programming, suggested the provision of videotaped statewide Institutes with online follow up support in the provision of turnkey training.  Following a planning process with ACCES leadership, a series of training Institutes were held in Albany over the course of 12 months; March 2014-March 2015.  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 6 courses of three to four days in length were taught to groups, each comprising approximately 30 master teacher leaders and an additional 15 other personnel from every region in NYS.  The majority of the master teacher leaders participated in more than one Institute, deepening and broadening their skills with each successive course.  The outcome of the full yearlong program of training is that the State now can rely on approximately 55 master teacher leaders, with expertise in math, science, and/or ELA, available in each of the seven NYS RAEN regions to provide common core-based TASC training. 

·         In addition, the curriculum and instructional strategies modeled at the Institutes are also available to teachers through CUNY’s provision of a professional development demonstration class taught by the Institute leaders.  The class is open to all Institute participants who wish to observe the teaching principles and processes with actual HSE students.  Courses provided in Albany, March 2014-March 2015 included: Math I Intro; Math II; Math III; ELA I Intro; ELA II; and Science 1.

·         Beyond the training Institutes and demonstration class, a website,, was developed with the participation of the NYC Literacy Assistance Center. is a curated and reviewed selection of recommended teaching resources that support the instructional areas and approaches presented in the Institutes.  The collaborative website is slated for expansion in the coming year to include ESL, Civics, pre-HSE, and Career Pathways resources.

Proposed Training Activities for 2015-2016

New activities being implemented in 2015-16 (concluding March 31, 2016) fall into seven arenas 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 (with additional participation by ESL teachers from other RAENs);

·         Support for the development of new models of integrated career pathway education at pilot sites at CUNY; 

·         Continued development and expansion of the CollectEdNY website;

·         Continued development and expansion of

·         Continued expansion of RAEN turnkey training to 5,500 educators across the state including LNY literacy volunteers; and

·         Under the Teacher Support System (TSS) initiative, building a strong connection between New York’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:

Five Institutes serving up to 150 teaching/counseling practitioners statewide will be provided, serving representatives from all NYS RAENs.  The Institutes will each provide two days of training, with day and evening sessions.  Participants will receive a stipend, and the costs for travel and lodging are included.  All Institutes will include the integration of technology, both for teacher training purposes and student instructional purposes, and all Institutes will relate the topic area of the Institute to corresponding career pathways.  The five Institutes are: 

·         An Institute to provide introductory training in two topics: math 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 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 Master 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 deepen and broaden the knowledge and skills of ELA Master 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; and

·         An Institute to provide new training in science for existing and new Master Teacher Leaders (Institute will be videotaped).

NYC-based Seminar Training in five topics:

A two-day, 12-hour Seminar on five concurrent topics (Math, Science, ELA, Career Pathways, and ESL/Civics) will be offered to up to 180 NYC teachers to build site-based teacher leadership in WIOA-funded programs.

In each of its topic areas, the Seminar will include the integration of technology both for teacher training purposes and student instructional purposes, and relate the topic area to the corresponding career pathway.

·         The five concurrent topics will be Math, ELA, Science, Career Pathways, and ESL/Civics.  For the ESL/Civics Seminar, in addition to the NYC teachers, one representative from each of the non-NYC RAENs will be invited to attend, with expenses for travel and lodging in the budget.

·         The concurrent sessions in the five topic areas, taught by CUNY Institute leaders/professional developers and previously trained NYC Master Teacher Leaders, will meet for nine hours (except for ESL/Civics, which will meet for 12 hours).

·         The remaining three hours will be utilized to allow participants to attend shorter sessions of interest, provided by staff outside of CUNY on a range of TASC topics (science/social studies/math/writing) and Career Pathways.

HSE Career Pathways Development and Support at CUNY:

Support is requested to develop and support the implementation of up to four different career pathway pilots in the fall and spring semesters of 2015-16 for use with HSE students (and upper level ESL students who have a high school diploma).  It is anticipated that a staff member with expertise in college and career pathways would be hired part-time to research courses of study and viable certificates at CUNY with labor market value that adult learners at the HSE level (as well as immigrant students with a high school diploma) might pursue.  Labor market study activities, contextualized lesson sets, and recommended resources in five industry segments would be identified or created.  Campus administrators would assist in planning for this instruction and teachers would receive training support.  The involvement of college student mentors currently majoring in industry-related courses of study and campus staff knowledgeable about credit and non-credit college and career ladders will complement the work of the central staff member.  All findings and learning materials will be made available to WIOA-funded HSE programs in New York City and if useful, more broadly across NYS.  CUNY adult HSE programs funded through WIOA would be eligible to propose these pilots within guidelines established centrally and conduct the work by utilizing existing instructional hours, redefined for this purpose to allow for planning and training of teachers.

Continued development and expansion of the website:

In collaboration with the NYC Literacy Assistance Center, CUNY will continue to expand the adult 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.  To date, over 2,000 adult education teachers across New York State have used the resources in

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 Master Teacher training in each RAEN region, training modules video-taped from CUNY Master Teacher training Institutes, and instructional videos filmed by Master Teachers and RAENs (each RAEN must develop five instructional videos linked to CCSS/CCRS each year for the site and each of the 55 Master Teachers 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 Master Teacher-Learning Facilitator Institute conducted by CUNY for Master Teachers in the region.  To date, over 1,200 adult education teachers received intensive and ongoing support and training to expand the effective teaching to high rigorous CCSS/CCRS, including the use of the two new websites, and  This will intensify under the 2016-17 Combined State Plan.

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 ASISTS, 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.

All of these initiatives will be supported in 2016-2017 with federal and state funds in the first year of the Combined State Plan.  ACCES-adult education, working with NYSDOL and the RAENs, will explore steps to expand use of the websites by workforce development teachers and staff, and to link the websites with NYSDOL’s websites for CareerZone and JobZone.

Local Education Activity Funding

NYSED will use 2016-17 to plan and prepare for the competitive rebidding of all local WIOA funding, using an approach and format for multi-year funding.

Using the 2008 competitive process for WIA, the intent will be to issue a similar comprehensive RFP for all local WIOA funding for:

·         Core adult education and family literacy funding to support literacy, integrated education and training, HSE preparation, English Literacy Acquisition (ELA), workplace adult education and literacy, workforce preparation activities, family literacy activities, career pathways, and postsecondary transition;

·         Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education;

·         Programs for Corrections Education and other institutionalized individuals;

·         Literacy Zones, with an expanded focus to support workforce development priorities under WIOA and effective navigation across core partners; and

·         Possible set-aside for integrated education and training.

NYSED assures that all federal considerations outlined in Section 231 (e) will be met.

Additional WIOA considerations could include such considerations as:

·         Local support for one-stop infrastructure costs by raising approved local administration limits;

·         LWDB review of applications, including an expanded timeline and review template for local areas receiving over 150 applications;

·         Restructuring of EL Civics to align with new programmatic expectations and requirements under English Literacy and Civics Education;

·         Stronger emphasis on contextualized literacy and ELA instruction at the lower skill levels and connections to career pathways;

·         Any changes in the configuration of LWDBs;

·         Possible set-asides or integrated requirements to support postsecondary transition, integrated education and training, and career pathways;

·         Federal guidance for including performance review in the local application process; and

·         WIOA appropriation increases.

The approach used in 2013 will be used as a starting point and refined during 2016-17 based on final federal guidance and other considerations in planning for development of a similar comprehensive RFP for local WIOA funding.  That approach was as follows:

The available funds support three primary program areas:

·         Adult Basic Education and Literacy Services, which includes ABE, Adult Secondary Education, and/or ESL programs;

·         English Language/Civics Education (EL/Civics); and

·         Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Education Programs.

A fourth competitive funding opportunity is provided through the Literacy Zone application, an educational enhancement program.

An applicant may submit only one proposal for each program area, but may submit more than one application for Literacy Zones.  Each Literacy Zone proposal must identify the specific geographic location and address the educational needs of the population.  Only Literacy Zone proposals submitted by applicants who were awarded funding in one of the program area competitions will be reviewed.

In 2016-17, NYSED will support and respond to new state leadership requirements in Section 223 of WIOA by repurposing the role of the seven RAEN centers, the NRS Accountability Specialist through the approval of annual workplans, and the work charges of WIOA funded NYSED ACCES-adult education regional associates to support the following.

·         The alignment of adult education and literacy activities with other core programs and one-stop partners, including the development of career pathways to provide access to employment and training services for individuals in adult education and literacy activities.

·         The establishment or operation of high quality professional development programs to improve the instruction provided in local activities, including essential elements of reading instruction, instruction related to the specific needs of adult learners, disability awareness, instruction provided by volunteers, and dissemination of information about models and promising practices.

·         The provision of technical assistance to eligible providers receiving Title II funds: Valid research based instruction; Role as a one-stop partner; and Assistance in the use of technology, including for staff training to eligible providers.

·         Monitoring and evaluation of the quality of, and the improvement in, adult education and literacy and the dissemination of information about models and proven and promising practices within NYS.

Adult Education Performance Assessment






Total Number Students Served






English Language Learners





Adult Basic Education





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 40% are receiving some form of public assistance and 42% 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 (4% increase).  New York State Adult Education program performance has remained in the top quartile consistently for the past four consecutive years.  As data indicates, more than half of our students are English Language learners.  After reviewing program performance at the conclusion of FY11, programs were encouraged to post-test more students before the conclusion of every fiscal year.  The result was a significant increase in our post-test rate from 74% to 80% this past FY14.  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 4% increase in educational gain over the past two years, three of that 4% was associated with our ESL learners.

Another major change that is evidenced in our state performance data is the shift in our high school equivalency programming where students now must take the new TASC test as opposed to the GED that had been the HSE test for more than forty years.  December 2013 marked the sunset of the GED test and 2014 is the first year with students striving to succeed on the new TASC test that is based on common core standards.  The test is provided in both paper and computer formats.  Trepidation over the content on 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.  As seen in the data, there was a significant reduction (38%) in the number of students achieving their high school equivalency diploma.  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 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 well trained 60 master teachers have attended a series of common core institutes where they are provided tool kits in the areas of math, science, reading, writing, social studies, and ESL content.  Master teachers then coordinate their efforts through the state’s Regional Adult Education Network to move their turnkey training to reach over 5500 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.  All of this effort has been 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 November 1, 2015. 


The Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933 established a nationwide system of public employment offices known as the Employment Service.  The Act was amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to make the Employment Service part of the One-Stop services delivery system.

Within the context of New York’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 (W-P, 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 New York 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.  Training includes such topics as Assisting UI Customers in the Career Center and Identifying and Reporting UI Issues.

New York State Career Centers provide assistance to 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, One-Stop Operating System (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 is in need of individualized career services.  Such services may be needed in order 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.

·         UI customer caseload management strategies are in place to ensure that UI Reemployment Services customers receive ongoing services following the initial service.  Assuming that 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 UID in a timely manner.

·         In accordance with New York’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) and Agricultural businesses for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017, 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 New York State 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.

NYSDOL’s plan includes the following:

(1)    Assessment of Need - Information on PY15 agricultural and MSFW activity, projected levels of agricultural activity in PY16, and projected numbers of MSFWs in NYS in PY16.

(2)    Outreach Activities - A description of how MSFWs across the state will receive services in PY16, as well as an assessment on staff and the resources available for outreach.

(3)    The State's 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 New York’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.

(5)    Other Requirements - Opportunity for the State Monitor Advocate (SMA) to review and approve the AOP, and review and public comment by WIA 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 Limited English Proficient (LEP).

·         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 PY15, 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 PY15 was as follows:

1.       Long Island - Nursery, Potatoes, Grapes (operating all year)

2.       Hudson Valley - Apples and Onions (mid April-late November)

3.       North Country - Corn and Hay (crops grown on Year Round Dairies), Apples (mid April-late November)

4.       Central New York - Corn and Hay (crops grown on Year Round Dairies), Mixed Berries, Apples, Mixed Ground (mid April-late November)

5.       Finger Lakes - Apples, Grapes, Mixed Ground (mid April-late November)

6.       Western New York - Cabbage, Apples, Nursery (mid April-late November)

(iii)   A review of the previous year’s MSFW activity in the state:

For PY15, the estimated number of MSFWs in NYS totaled approximately 20,053.  The estimated numbers of MSFWs per geographic region[1] is:

1.       Long Island/NYC - 1,595

2.       Mid-Hudson Valley - 2,212

3.       Capital/N. Country - 226

4.       Central NY - 323

5.       Finger Lakes - 13,405

6.       Western NY - 2,292

This number is partially based on information obtained in the federally required 5148 report, which estimated 15,589 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.  In order 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.  This resource added approximately 4,464 farm workers to the numbers listed on the 5148 report.

In PY15, AgLP staff visited small, medium, and large farming operations, including seasonal and year round workforces.  The goal was to reach as many of the MSFWs in the state as possible.  AgLP staff helped a total of 4,281 MSFWs with employment related and other services in PY15.  The number of MSFWs served in each for geographic region includes:

1.       Long Island/NYC - 1,290

2.       Mid-Hudson Valley - 779

3.       Capital/N. Country - 81

4.       Central NY - 261

5.       Finger Lakes – 1,382

6.       Western NY - 488

PathStone, the current WIA Title I section 167 grantee, reported serving 2,408 MSFWs, resulting in a combined total of 6,689 individuals receiving employment services in PY15.

Assessment of AgLP Progress and Assessment of Equity Ratio Indicators:

In PY 15, the AgLP Program had less field staff but more work was completed per staff person.  This is reflective of a stabilization of the field staff and their growing expertise.  DIPA reviewed the field staff Regional Outreach Plans (ROPs) for 2015 and the following detailed assessment of each AgLS’ ROP indicates progress in services being provided to all farmworkers in NYS.

·         Long Island/NYC-The AgLS in this region intended to conduct activity at 208 farms, and did so at 195.  He also made contact with farmworkers in Riverhead at the Spanish Apostolate. In total, the AgLS made almost 3,000 agricultural contacts for calendar year 2015, which includes activity related to MSFWs, H-2A workers, year-round workers, and agricultural employers.  

·         Mid-Hudson Valley-The two AgLS in this region estimated field activity at 104 businesses, with one AgLS conducting outreach at 99 farms and the other at 89 farms.  Activity was conducted both in the field and at the region’s Farmworker Community Center, or “The Alamo”, in Pine Island, NY.    Between the two AgLS in the Hudson Valley, 2,785 agricultural contacts were made.  

·         Capital/N. Country-Due to the high volume of farms and H-2A activity, and lack of available AgLP resources in the Capital and North Country area, the AgLS in this region conducted outreach to approximately 590 agricultural contacts, which is much lower than a typical season, but with twice as many field checks done as the previous year.

·         Central NY-In this region there are approximately 20 counties, which one AgLS covered for a large part of PY15.  With the addition of a second AgLS to the territory, additional field work will be completed going forward.  In PY 15, agricultural activity was conducted with approximately 900 contacts.

·         Finger Lakes-The AgLS in this region accepted a new position outside of NYSDOL in late PY14, and the territory was covered by the Labor Liaison and other available staff.  Without an appropriate AgLS in place, outreach was still conducted at 64 businesses and over 1,000 contacts were made in total.

·         Western NY-Due to an AgLS shortage in the region, DIPA’s Director and the Foreign Labor Certification staff conducted outreach as available.  In the 10 county region, approximately 85 farms were visited with direct contact made to over 1,100 MSFWs, H-2A workers, year-round workers, and farms.  An AgLS has since been placed in Western NY and will prioritize field work in PY16.

Data based on the Equity Ratio Indicators for program years 2012-2014 (final numbers for PY2015 are not yet available) indicate that the State 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 be reviewed for accuracy.   

(iv)  DIPA provided training in 2016 regarding better documentation of support services provided to farmworkers.  We will review the quarterly 5148 data to determine if the training has helped with reporting requirements.  DIPA will also discuss further training for outreach staff by other NYSDOL staff to ensure proper documentation of services provided. 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[2].  Based upon this consistent and steady increase, it is believed that the level of agricultural activity in PY16 will be equal to, or greater than, the level of agricultural activity in PY15. 

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, the estimated number of MSFWs in NYS for PY15 totals 20,053 individuals. 

In PY16, 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.

(v)    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 20,000 or more farmworkers will be in NYS during PY16. 

Outreach Activities

Numerical goals for the number of MSFWs to be contacted during PY16:

The ten bilingual AgLS (one vacant position) are located in New York Career Centers[3] 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 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 in close proximity to MSFW populations, the goal is to reach as many of the estimated 20,000 farmworkers in PY16 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.  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 PY16 there are currently nine AgLS and two Supervisors who conduct outreach to MSFWs.  The AgLP also added a Labor Liaison to the outreach team.  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 MSFWs with a hands-on approach to ensure Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs (DIPA) provides information and services relevant to distinct needs of agricultural workers.  All 11 positions are full time.

In addition to the 11 full time AgLP staff, the NY SMA will conduct outreach throughout PY16.

In February 2016, Agriculture Labor Program staff received training on the following.

·         DIPA’s Foreign Labor Certification Unit staff provided training on updated protocols and forms for 2016 including the Pre-Occupancy Housing Inspection protocol and form, and Referrals/Applicants to H-2A Job Orders.  An AgLS provided training on updated Field Check Protocol and Form;

·         NYSDOL’s Office of Staff and Organizational Development (OSOD) conducted a session entitled Conversation with a Purpose: The Essentials of Interviewing & Customer Service;

·         DIPA staff provided the Policy and Procedures on Providing Job Services to Customers and some OSOS activities and documentation; and

·         A DIPA Supervisor provided an update on program reach and staff productivity as well as a refresher on documentation of field work in AgLogs (the AgLP’s database system).

Technical Advisories are shared with all NYSDOL staff as appropriate.  DIPA will also request training on employment services as needed for outreach staff.  Additionally, DIPA is working on further developing its internal protocols and providing technical training as needed.  At minimum, DIPA will train staff on all program areas on a yearly basis.

Staff capacity building is a New York State 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.

DIPA will request Unemployment Insurance program training for outreach staff beginning in PY2016 and yearly thereafter.

1.       In PY16, 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 PY16.  Since NYSDOL hired a new State Monitor Advocate in spring 2016, we will work with NYSDOL’s Council’s Office to draft an MOU and share it with PathStone before the end of 2016, with execution sometime in early 2017.

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 PY15, 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 PY16, Long Island’s Riverhead Spanish Apostolate will continue to host the local AgLS at their offices.  For both of these 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:

In order to reach an estimated 20,000 MSFWs, as well as year-round agricultural workers in PY16, 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 device, 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   DIPA services (in English and Spanish)

o   DIPA AgLP Contact List

o   NYSDOL General Services (in English and Spanish)

o   DEWS New York 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)

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:

o   Empire Farm Days

o   Mexican Consulate events throughout the year

o   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 explains the services that can be accessed at the local Career Center and educates the farmworkers on their rights and responsibilities under NYS labor law.  With regard to employment services, the AgLP staff encourages 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, New York’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 New York 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.

In order 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 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.[4]  There is also a Quick Tips Guide that LSRs can reference quickly in order to make the resources readily available.[5]

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 New York 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 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 PY16, 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 an business packet prior to visiting the farm that includes the following:

·         NYSDOL Services for Business Flyer

·         DIPA Services Flyer

·         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-H2A 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

·         List of region-specific service providers by county for the AgLS’ 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:

·         The 2015 Annual Christmas Tree Farmer’s Association Meeting - Labor Law Overview Training;

·         Cornell Cooperative Extension Agricultural Employer’s Labor Law Workshops;

·         Farm Labor Contractor Registration Online Webinar Training – Available online in both English & Spanish;

·         Written Manual for Farm Labor Contractor Registration – Available online in both English & Spanish; and

·         Deducting Money from a Worker’s Wages: When is it legal and when is it not? – Online Webinar Training for Agricultural Businesses in NYS.


The ES Complaint system is currently being updated and training will be provided to all Career Center and partner staff. In the interim, the AgLP staff discusses the complaint process with workers when conducting outreach in the field. The ES Complaint system is also 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 make contact with these businesses throughout the season and will continue to offer ARS as a possible option for their labor needs. Many businesses feel comfortable with the H–2A guest worker visa process, but will occasionally submit smaller local job orders for early season or end of season labor needs.

Other Requirements

(i)      State Monitor Advocate:  At the time of review, there was no NY SMA in place to review and comment on the PY16 Agricultural Outreach Plan. As of June 2, 2016 Belen Ledezma is the new NYS Monitor Advocate.

(ii)    Review and Public Comment: The draft of this AOP was made available to the groups listed below.  Each of the following were invited to share their input and comments:

·         Cornell Cooperative Extension;

·         New York Farm Bureau;

·         New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets;

·         PathStone Corporation;

·         Worker Justice Center of New York;

·         The International Institute of Buffalo; and

·         Cornell Farmworker Program

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)

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.  New York State 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 W-P 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 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 impact the TAA program.  When a WARN notice is filed, the Regional Rapid Response Coordinator (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 State TAA Coordinator sends an alert to the Career Center system, activating Rapid Response services. 

The Rapid Response Team conducts onsite and offsite customized service orientations for workers, covering reemployment services, UI, 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 State TAA Coordinator, along with the State Dislocated Worker 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 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

The UID mails each worker, after layoff, an application for TAA.  Applications are evaluated by the UID and result in an individual determination of eligibility.  The UID uses worker contact information collected by Rapid Response Teams and from the trade affected company to mail TAA applications to affected workers.  The UID advises the State TAA Coordinator on a weekly basis of any applications that were mailed. 

The State TAA 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 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, in light of the labor market, includes:

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:


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 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.  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.  DEWS informs the 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 UID Benefits Section, which is responsible for interfacing with the trade certified businesses and determining individual eligibility, and the DEWS TAA Program Unit, which provides program oversight to the Career Centers.  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.  UID communicates the list of laid off and threatened workers to 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:

Role of Local Boards

Local workforce development boards ensure that their strategic planning process includes an analysis of the local labor market to:

Boards set local policies for a Trade Act service strategy that coordinate various service delivery approaches to:

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 W-P (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 DEWS to track allocations and spending of all programs managed by 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, 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 New York'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, 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.  On a quarterly basis DEWS assists KCC with targeted outreach and promoting occupational training in food service and Community Health Worker programs, and brings awareness to individuals who may benefit from the supportive services KCC provides 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

New York State 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 Services 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 (NYSCB)

Attachment 4.2(c) Summary of the Input and Recommendations of the State Rehabilitation Council

NYSCB holds in-person public forums and statewide teleconferences in order to gather input into the development of both the New York State Combined State Plan and the VR Portion of the Combined State Plan.  Notification of the in-person public forums and statewide teleconferences is distributed to all active consumers, in their preferred format.  Other individuals and entities receiving the notice include: private agencies for individuals who are blind; Independent Living Centers; members of the 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 are also posted on NYSCB’s web page.  These documents are also available in alternative formats including: audio; Braille; electronic; and large print, upon request.  Public forums are held in two locations in the State in conjunction with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), New York State Chapter conventions.  The forums and teleconferences provide opportunities for statewide public participation.  After the public comment period, the proposed plan and comments received at the forums and teleconferences are reviewed by the SRC.  The SRC also provides input into the goals and strategies set by the State Plan during one of their quarterly meetings.

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) met on September 17, 2015 to review and provide input into the 2016 Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), New York State Commission for the Blind (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.  NYSCB did not receive written comments from the SRC; comments reflected below are NYSCB’s summary of concerns that SRC members orally expresses at the September 17th meeting.

State Rehabilitation Council Goals and Objectives

The SRC and NYSCB comprise a collaborative partnership.  SRC members include current and former participants in the NYSCB vocational rehabilitation program; representation from SUNY/CUNY, Native American VR Programs, the National Federation of the Blind, Client Assistance Program, Independent Living Centers, parents of children with disabilities; and representatives from business, industry and labor.  The SRC assists NYSCB in developing and reviewing the State Plan, including NYSCB’s goals and strategies.  The SRC provides policy advice and reviews consumer needs and satisfaction with services.

1.            Comment: In Attachment 4.8(b) Coordination with Education Officials, the SRC would like to see an increase in the emphasis on Braille and large print training for transition age youth, to prepare for VR job placement and post-secondary services.

Response: The New York State Education Department (SED) is responsible for all elementary, middle and secondary school educational programs in New York State.  SED is required to provide an educational program for each student based upon the needs, ages and interests of the student.

NYSCB staff work to empower students and parents by providing information and teaching them to advocate for an appropriate educational program that meets the child’s needs.  NYSCB counselors work closely with Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) to encourage the training of Braille when it is appropriate for the student.

2.            Comment: In Attachment 4.8(b) Coordination with Education Officials, the SRC would like to see an increased emphasis on the accountability of schools (K-12 and Higher Education) to provide Assistive Technology (AT) training and better collaboration on the part of NYSCB and schools for workforce preparedness.

Response: NYSCB counselors work closely with school staff and private agencies for individuals who are blind to coordinate work experience opportunities.  In many cases the NYSCB counselor develops the work experience and the school assumes the responsibility for job coaching and transportation.  It is expected that NYSCB staff will increase involvement with school staff as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires state vocational rehabilitation agencies to make “pre-employment transition services” available to all students with disabilities and coordinate those services with transition services provided under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

3.            Comment: In Attachment 4.8(b) Coordination with Education Officials, language should indicate that the IEP developed can include training on adaptive equipment and assistive technology (hardware/software) to those school staff, care providers and parents/guardians to use in a capacity outside of school.

Response: See above response for Comment 1.

4.            Comment: In Attachment 4.8(b) Coordination with Education Officials, the SRC would like to see stronger language supporting “Acceptability of Use” in the student’s IEP when the student uses Assistive Technology and to increase the partnership within the schools on behalf of NYSCB.

Response:  See above response for Comment 1.

5.            Comment: In Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, NYSCB should indicate the understanding of the importance of encouraging counselors to attend conferences held by blindness support agencies and state plan public forums in order to obtain the consumer perspective.

Response: NYSCB has added language to Attachment 4.10 in response to the SRC’s recommendation.

6.            Comment: In Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development, increase the training opportunities for those counselors working with consumers with multiple disabilities and supported employment candidates, to encourage and impress the importance of using a multi-disciplinary team approach on these cases.

Response: NYSCB has added language to Attachment 4.10 in response to the SRC’s recommendation.

7.            Comment: In Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies, under Goal 3, add a strategy to provide targeted, personalized outreach to eye care professionals and health care offices including participation in statewide and regional events they hold.

Response: NYSCB has added language to Strategy 7 under Goal 3 to incorporate the personalized outreach and inclusion of regional in addition to statewide events.

8.            Comment:  In Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies, under Goal 3, add a strategy for promoting awareness by soliciting and compiling success stories to include on webpages or handouts.

Response: NYSCB has added a new strategy to address this recommendation.

9.            Comment:  In Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies, where collaboration with partners is indicated in a goal or strategy, include the titles of the four core partners.

Response:  NYSCB has added the term “four core partners” in the appropriate strategies.

10.        Comment:  Add the following strategies in Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies:

a.       Address the needs of consumers with multiple disabilities, including specialists and mental health concerns on a case-by-case basis.

b.      Include families in the evaluation, planning of and training sessions for school and home based services.

c.       Provide ongoing and continued training for ATC providers and consider having a baseline competency certification for approved providers.

d.      Request that Expanded Core Curriculum further enhances skill sets not currently contained within the core curriculum.

e.      Develop Individualized Plan for Employment (IPEs) that are flexible and allow the revision of goals and services for youth, understanding the process is to learn and grow and determine the best outcomes.

f.        Work to increase skill level of consumers, specifically in the areas of math and English prior to post-secondary engagement.

g.       Continue and strengthen collaboration with ACCES-VR.


a.       NYSCB had added this strategy to Goal 1.

b.      NYSCB had added this strategy to Goal 1.

c.       NYSCB had added this strategy to Goal 4.

d.      NYSCB has not made this recommended change.  The Expanded Core Curriculum is the body of knowledge and skills needed by students with vision loss in order to be successful in school and in post-graduate pursuits as a result of unique, disability specific needs.  TVIs are generally the lead professional in assessment and goal development of Expanded Core Curriculum skills.

e.      NYSCB has not made this recommended change.  NYSCB’s IPE policy indicates that the IPE can be reviewed as often as determined necessary, and must be reviewed annually.  During the IPE review meeting, the consumer and counselor jointly review the entire plan and redevelop the IPE as needed.

f.        NYSCB has not made this recommended change.  The New York State Education Department is responsible for the education of students.  However, NYSCB does provide college bound students with the opportunity to attend one of two pre-college programs where a condensed English course is offered via distance learning.  NYSCB also will sponsor a college student for one semester of remediation courses when necessary for the student to effectively participate in a college program.

g.       NYSCB had included this strategy and has included mention of collaboration with the four core partners in appropriate and applicable strategies.

11.        Comment: In Attachment 4.11(d) State’s Strategies, under Goal 4, add strategies 5, 6 and 7:

a.       Work with private agencies to better utilize work incentives, employment tax credits and ticket to work.

b.      Invest in the creation of a subsection of outreach within each district office that is responsible for promoting NYSCB to community employers.

c.       Invest in the provision of Specialized Support Providers to deafblind job seekers.


a.       NYSCB has made changes to the State Plan in response to this recommendation.

b.      NYSCB has made changes to the State Plan in response to this recommendation.

c.       NYSCB encourages all efforts to increase access to Support Service Providers (SSPs).   NYSCB has reported in a prior state plan that District Office staff comfort with using and accessing the service of Support Service Providers as well as agencies employing interpreters with tactile signing skills has increased.  NYSCB increased the number of deaf- blind coordinators to include one in both upstate and down state locations.

12.        Comment: In Attachment 4.11(e)(2) Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title I Funds for Innovation and Expansion, report more details on the use of the HKNC iCanConnect equipment distribution program for consumers who are deafblind as well as identify the close collaboration and documentation of referrals for this program, using community resources for equipment procurement prior to the use of VR dollars.

Response: NYSCB understands the importance of capturing these referrals and subsequent results and will work to gather this information in the future.  However, as this was not a strategy in the FY 15 State Plan, reporting on this is not included in this State Plan.

Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Investment 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, 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 NYSCB.  In the past year, through the NET partnership, NYSCB has shared information and job postings from federal and corporate partners with NYSCB staff and placement partners.  In addition, 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 be able 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)

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 NYSCB and CRP staff together for training and networking on issues related to workforce development.

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 NYSCB staff and providers were held in Spring 2015.

As the current Assistive Technology Services contract enters its fourth year, 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.  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 assistive technology center 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 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 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.

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.  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, 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 NYSCB and that as they complete their services with 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

NYSCB is on the steering committee for New York State 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.  NYSCB actively participates in the steering committee to assess services that are provided to legally blind students through other New York State organizations.

Meeting the Needs of Special Populations

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).

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

NYSCB has designated the New York State Preferred Source Program for People who are Blind, a subsidiary of the National Industries for the Blind (NIB), as its designee for New York State Preferred-Source products.  The creation of service sector jobs is highlighted as a priority in the Letter of Designation (LOD).

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

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 NYSCB Buffalo District Office and the SNI TVR Program has increased awareness, acceptance, and utilization of NYSCB services.  NYSCB maintains a relationship in which referrals are handled in a timely and culturally sensitive manner.  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.  NYSCB staff serves on the Section 121 Project Advisory Board, which meets monthly.  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

NYSCB equipment loan closets are a collaborative effort with the TRAID program managed by the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.   The loan closets provide short and long term equipment loans to 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 NYSCB State Rehabilitation Council and provides a valuable link between the TRAID programs and NYSCB.

Programs Carried Out by the Undersecretary for Rural Development

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 NYSCB.  A workgroup consisting of both 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.  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.  NYSCB and community provider staff continues to meet annually at the Vision Rehabilitation Institute to learn and discuss issues related to blindness and employment. NYSCB works closely with the Chapter 515 programs to provide supported employment services to consumers including out-of-school youth.   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 NYSCB for vocational services and a reciprocal referral opportunity when out-of-school youth involved with NYSCB need the services provided through the state social service network.   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

NYSCB accesses goods and services through the New York State 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 New York State 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. 

Attachment 4.8(b)(2) Coordination with Education Officials

The New York State Commission for the Blind (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.  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 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 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 also outlines the role of the vocational rehabilitation counselor as an active participant in the transition planning process.  NYSCB’s responsibilities lie primarily in providing technical consultation to schools and preparing students for permanent employment.  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 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.

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. 

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

NYSCB has revised the State Education Agency (SEA) Agreement.  The Joint Agreement between the P-12 Office of Special Education and NYSCB provides the overview of purpose, objectives and joint responsibilities of each party in the provision of transition services for students who are legally blind.

Specifically, the new agreement:

·         Delineates that the responsibilities of 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.

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.  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.  NYSCB is responsible only for services written into the IEP by the Committee on Special Education with the direct knowledge and agreement of the 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.  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.  NYSCB will provide 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 NYSCB when existing assessments fail to provide adequate information for the counselor to determine NYSCB eligibility or to develop plans for NYSCB services.  In addition, if the student needs specific vocational services to prepare for employment upon exiting school, NYSCB will fund these services. 

Consultation and Technical Assistance

NYSCB staff is required to consult with school personnel to assist in recommending assessment practices and interpreting results in relation to employment.  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, 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.  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.  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 NYSCB transition policy states that as a participant in the school’s transition planning process, 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 NYSCB is responsible only for services written into the IEP by the Committee on Special Education with the direct knowledge and agreement of the 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 NYSCB. 

Cooperative efforts between the schools and NYSCB take place on a daily basis at the district office level.  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 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, NYSCB vocational rehabilitation counselors encourage and help individuals to live more independently and develop meaningful employment plans.  During school years, NYSCB counselors can provide vocational guidance and counseling, resource information, and the preparation of post high school service plans.  In addition, NYSCB counselors may be able to provide job related occupational tools, purchase low vision aids, assist in obtaining employment and facilitate summer employment.

NYSCB currently employs eight vocational rehabilitation counselors who work exclusively with transition age youth.  The transition counselors provide educational guidance to NYSCB vocational rehabilitation counselors and encourage student and parent involvement in the transition process.  Brochures describing 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.  NYSCB staff frequently visit transition career fairs and attend high school open houses and present information about 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 NYSCB Transition Policy requires that the student’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) be completed 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.  NYSCB transition counselors have received training on this policy requirement and on the requirements of coordinating the IPE with the IEP.  All NYSCB transition counselors have been actively developing employment plans for youth. 

NYSCB Transition Counselors also work closely with New York State 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 (OSEP).  NYSCB has agreed to collaborate on specific initiatives with NYDBC.  Specifically, NYSCB assisted NYDBC in disseminating a state-wide needs assessment to increase the early identification of children who are deaf-blind in New York State.  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.  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.

Attachment 4.8(b)(3) Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations

The New York State Commission for the Blind (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, 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.

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 NYSCB’s website.  Training on the new guidelines was held NYSCB regions.  Updated guidelines were posted to the 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, assistive technology center contracts were awarded, through an Request for Proposal (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.

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 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 New York State.  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. 

Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

This plan outlines strategies to update staff credentials so that all staff meets the highest academic standards for their profession.  The in-service training unit of NYSCB coordinates and evaluates all training programs attended by staff.  All in-service training records are maintained electronically in a Microsoft Access program.  A training file is maintained for each staff member containing: name, title, phone number, date hired, district office, college major, highest degree earned, a note section to track courses needed (if necessary), Certification or Certification eligible, and in-service training programs attended.  NYSCB can thus easily access data regarding staff credentials and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) eligibility or status. 

Number of Personnel Employed

As of October 2015, NYSCB employees totaled 128 individuals in seven district offices and the home office.  There were an additional 29 vacancies.  The total number of field staff was 71, with 9 positions vacant.  Approximately 3772 legally blind individuals are "active" on Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors’ (VRC) caseloads at any given time.  The average caseload is 55 consumers per VRC upstate, and 76 consumers per VRC downstate.

Of the 65 Senior VRC and VRCs in field staff positions, 54 are Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) or CRC eligible.  Two VRCs have reached retirement age, and have elected not to upgrade their credentials.  They will receive Senior VRC sign-off prior to establishing eligibility, signing the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) (including any amendments and the annual IPE review) and closing cases. 

NYSCB’s current staffing allows NYSCB to effectively provide services to all individuals who apply for and are determined eligible for VR services.  NYSCB is aware that many professional staff intends to retire within the next five years.  The result of personnel transactions for calendar year 2014 as they affected each district office is as follows:

·         Buffalo –No vacancies.

·         Syracuse –No vacancies.

·         Albany – One District Manager position is vacant.

·         White Plains – One Mobility Instructor position is vacant.

·         Manhattan – One District Manager position, one Senior VR Counselor and one VR Counselor position are vacant.

·         Hempstead – One District Manager position is vacant

·         Harlem –One VR Counselor position is vacant

NYSCB is requesting budgetary approval to fill all of the vacant positions.  NYSCB must seek NYS Division of the Budget approval for a waiver from the ongoing state hiring freeze in order to hire any personnel.

Staff Five Year Projections

NYSCB estimates that by the year 2020, 31 current VRCs and Senior VRCs will be age 55 or older and eligible to retire.  Many of those within retirement age, however, will not have enough time in service to retire at age 55 and will retire at a later time.  In using age 57 as a likely retirement age, we estimate that some employees who are older than 57 will remain employed by NYSCB, and other VRCs, under age 57, may be promoted or leave for other reasons.  Using this analysis of potential retirees and staff leaving for other reasons, an estimated 28 VRCs and Senior VRCs will leave NYSCB in the next five years.  All 31 VRCs and Senior VRCs expected to remain will be CRC or CRC eligible. 

Using the same formula, it is estimated that four of the eight Orientation & Mobility (O&M) instructors and Rehabilitation Therapists (RT) will retire or leave for other reasons.  All vacancies in the O&M and RT disciplines are expected to be replaced.


Job Title

Total Positions

Current Vacancies

Projected Vacancies Over the Next 5 Years


Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor





Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor





Orientation and Mobility Instructor





Vision Rehabilitation Therapist




NYSCB maintains contact with the three colleges and universities in the state that prepare vocational rehabilitation counselors as a source for staff positions.  In addition, NYSCB continues to work closely with the colleges to develop a process for the recruitment of students from diverse populations, and to establish a curriculum based on best practices, research, and development trends. 

For the calendar year beginning January 2014 and ending December 2014, the colleges reported the enrollment outlined in the table below.

Row 4 below: *Hunter College of CUNY is the only university preparation program in New York State graduating O&M instructors and VRTs.  Graduates from this program are eligible for certification by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).



Students Enrolled

Employees Sponsored by Agency and/or RSA

Graduates Sponsored by Agency and/or RSA

Graduates from the Previous Year


Hofstra University






Hunter College of the City of New York






State University of New York at Buffalo






Hunter College CUNY O&M/RT*






*Eligible for Academy Certification of Vision





Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

The following steps describe the ongoing activities to enable NYSCB to continue the long-term CSPD plan and develop resources needed to recruit, prepare and retain qualified personnel in New York State:

1.      Maintain the VR counseling pre-service preparation programs in NYS, pre-service O&M and RT programs, and long distance learning pre-service programs from other states.

2.      Continue to track the number of students who graduate from pre-service programs statewide and the percentage of diverse populations (i.e., severely disabled, Latino) within those programs.

3.      Continue to develop relationships with distance learning programs to locate curricula that meet the learning styles and needs of NYSCB staff.  These include video conferencing, videotapes, and/or computer technology.

4.      Increase opportunities for staff in-service training.

5.      Maintain a training database for all NYSCB staff that includes the following information: CRC status, educational history, proficiency areas (sign language, foreign language), training priority requests, graduate course work.

6.      Continue to recruit qualified VRCs, O&Ms, and RTs including those from diverse backgrounds or who have foreign language skills.

7.      Continue to partner with Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) with regard to the CSPD and the long term training of employees.

8.      Provide financial stipends to masters level students who complete an internship program at NYSCB as part of their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor program.

9.      Provide financial reimbursement to VRC’s maintaining their CRC Certification upon renewal every five years, and for eligible NYSCB staff opting to sit for the CRCC examination to obtain certification upon verification of required recertification or initial certification documents.

10. Collaborate with colleges and universities to train Orientation and Mobility Specialists and Vision Rehabilitation Therapists. Graduates will qualify for national certification through the ACVREP or the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB).  NYSCB and stakeholders continue to meet with officials from the University at Buffalo to establish a certificate training program in Orientation and Mobility. The certificate program would be the first of its kind and graduates would be eligible for certification by the ACVREP.

Personnel Standards

Highest Standard for VRCs

NYSCB hires only individuals who meet the New York State Department of Civil Service’s personnel standard for vocational rehabilitation counselors.  The standard is:

·         A current Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC certificate); OR

·         A Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, including a supervised internship, from a Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredited program; OR

·         A Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or Counseling and notice of academic eligibility for the CRCC certificate examination.

Plans to Retrain Staff Who Do Not Meet the Highest Requirements

Staff who does not meet the highest academic standards will either have a training plan in place or they will require supervisory approval prior to establishing eligibility, signing the IPE or determining case closure.  The New York State Department of Civil Service does not permit NYSCB to hire new staff in VR Counselor positions who do not meet the personnel standard.

Staff Development

NYSCB understands the importance of maintaining a well-trained and current workforce.  NYSCB continues to work to increase training opportunities for counseling staff in identified areas of need as well as integrating a multi-disciplinary approach.  Obtaining consumer perspective, by participating in events and public forums offered by blindness support agencies, is encouraged when workload and fiscal considerations allow. 

The NYSCB in-service training program funds attendance at workshops, conferences, formal course work, and agency developed training sessions. Training has been offered in counseling, rehabilitation, medical aspects of disability, job placement, rehabilitation technology, cultural diversity, informed choice, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other topics related to vocational rehabilitation.  NYSCB contracts with six Adaptive Technology Centers with seven sites throughout the state.  Upon request, the centers provide training to NYSCB staff on new access technology for individuals with disabilities.

Information gained by staff attending conferences or training is shared at staff meetings with local staff.  District managers share the information with senior staff at bi-weekly conference calls and quarterly meetings of district managers and information is disseminated to all staff as appropriate.

Personnel to Address Individual Communication Needs

NYSCB continues to obtain the services of individuals able to communicate in the native language of individuals who have limited English speaking ability or require American Sign Language.  Qualified interpreters are hired for services for individuals who are deaf-blind or who require in-person language interpretation. NYSCB staff with the required qualifications may be used for this purpose, or sub-contractors with specialty skills may be used.

NYSCB also uses the Language Line telephone interpretation services program that offers interpretation services in over 250 languages.

Coordination of Personnel Development Under the individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act

NYSCB coordinates policy and services relating to transition services for students who are legally blind from school to adult services and begins planning VR services for individuals with disabilities prior to their exiting high school.  The coordination of meaningful transition services for students with disabilities from school-age to postsecondary settings is a priority for NYSCB and may begin as early as age 10.

NYSCB designates VR liaisons to school districts to inform educators on NYSCB services and application processes; participates in regional trainings, annual kick-off meetings and/or teacher in-service trainings with school districts; provides informational pamphlets on NYSCB services; and participates in local job fairs where youth with disabilities are seeking employment opportunities.

NYSCB and the New York State Education Department collaborate on a regular basis to provide guidance to educational agencies and vocational rehabilitation personnel responsible for facilitating 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.  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 to work specialists that collaborate together.  NYSCB will continue to work closely with schools to enable the smooth transition of students who are legally blind from school to work.

Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates

There are numerous factors that impact an individual’s choice to seek vocational rehabilitation services to obtain employment.  There is currently no method to accurately assess how many of the legally blind individuals in New York State would apply for New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) services and be found eligible for services.  According to the American Community Survey, there are 19,342,600 individuals in New York State.  The prevalence rate of visual impairment is 1.8% which results in an estimated 356,700 individuals reporting a visual disability.  For individuals between the ages of 16 and 64, there is an estimated 176,000 individuals reporting a visual disability.  Since the data includes individuals who are visually impaired and not only individuals who are legally blind, it can provide some useful information to estimate the number of individuals who would be eligible for services from NYSCB; however, it cannot be used as a benchmark since NYSCB only serves individuals who are legally blind.

Therefore, the best estimate of the number of individuals in the state who are eligible for VR services is based on historical data as noted below.

NYSCB provides a full range of vocational rehabilitation services to eligible individuals.  NYSCB has evaluated data on the number of individuals who applied for services, the number of people found eligible for VR services and the number of individuals served in the past three years.  Based on this evaluation, NYSCB estimates that during Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016, 1,400 individuals will be found eligible for NYSCB services.  NYSCB anticipates serving 5,000 individuals during FFY 2016.  Of the 5,000 individuals expected to receive services, NYSCB expects that 4,950 individuals will be served using Title I Vocational Rehabilitation funds at a total estimated cost of $24,000,000 and an average cost of services of $4,848.  NYSCB expects that the remaining 50 individuals will be served using Title VI, Part B Supported Employment funds at a total estimated cost of $250,000 and an average cost of services of $5,000.  As needed and with permission of both ACCES-VR and NYSCB, expenditures may be transferred to and from either organization to align the needs of NYSCB and ACCES-VR with the available funding.


Title I or Title VI

Estimated Funds

Estimated Number to Be Served

Average Cost of Services

Vocational Rehabilitation

Title I




Supported Employment

Title VI