Office of Children and Family Services

Bureau of Education and Transition Services

Mission and Goals

The Mission

"Helping youth transition from economic dependency to self-sufficiency."

The Office of Workforce Development (OWD) was created in 2001 and pursues its mission in the belief that all youth can and must acquire the skills needed to enter and succeed in the world of work. Although the mission encompasses all young people, it focuses especially on those who will not to go college, or even complete high school. Some of these youth have come in contact with the juvenile justice system and are placed in OCFS facilities or other residential centers.

OWD strengthens workforce development strategies and programs for all NYS youth, with special attention to our State's at-risk young people, specifically:

  • Youth in the juvenile justice court system
  • PINS diversion youth
  • Runaway/Homeless youth
  • Native American youth
  • Blind/Visually handicapped youth
  • Foster care youth


To enhance workforce development services for all youth.

OWD supports the design and implementation of career education for all youth in New York State. OWD reaches out to the full spectrum of service providers, including community-based organizations, schools and community colleges, and is available to respond to technical assistance needs.

To bring new and innovative workforce development services to at-risk youth.

At-risk youth must compete for jobs alongside everyone else. Employers cannot be expected to provide special considerations on the basis of a candidate's personal issues or troubled background. OWD designs innovative programs and links at-risk youth to the workforce development system in their communities. Among the beneficiaries of its expertise are voluntary sector agencies, youth bureaus, and local probation and social service departments.

To enhance workforce development services for incarcerated youth.

Sometimes, youth must be removed from their homes and communities. For this neediest population, OWD has implemented a broad spectrum of workforce development programs that help them transition to work/training opportunities when they return home.

OWD does not address these goals independent of the world around it. If our youth are to transition from dependency to self-sufficiency, they will require more than direct OCFS services alone; they will require the investment of a wide variety of stakeholders. It is in this light that OCFS pursues working partnerships with public and private sector organizations.

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