Governor Announces $5 Million Tech Training Fund

A member of Team Chepang of Stony Brook University

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced decisive actions to advance the tech economy and grow the state’s 21st century workforce. New York’s first Tech Training Fund will award up to $5 million to tech training providers working to equip New Yorkers for technology jobs across the state. The request for proposals process will open next week. The Governor also announced the New York Tech Workforce Task Force will convene in April 2017 to begin efforts to modernize K-12 and college curricula and deliver recommendations to realign workforce efforts to meet the needs of the tech economy. 

“The New York Tech Training Fund and Tech Workforce Task Force will engage industry and academic leaders to help prepare New Yorkers for jobs in the ever-growing tech field and guarantee that New York remains at the forefront of the innovation economy,” Cuomo said. “The strength of our economy depends on the strength of our workers, and by ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the skills and opportunities to succeed, we are building a stronger, more prosperous state for generations to come.”

The Training Fund, which will disburse $5 million to eligible training providers through the RFP process, will support innovative technology training and education solutions throughout the state. The request for proposals process is now open. In April, the governor will convene industry leaders to define education and workforce needs and issue recommendations to better prepare New Yorkers at all levels—K-12, higher education and workforce—for 21st century jobs.

“New York’s innovation economy is bigger and better than ever before, with cutting-edge companies looking to New York state as the place to grow their business,” said Empire State Development CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This sector is booming because of our investments in STEM education and workforce development, which provide New Yorkers with the tools and skills they need to enter the ever-evolving tech industry. The New York Tech Training Fund and Tech Workforce Task Force build on those investments and will support the next generation of innovators as they change the face of tech with bold new ideas that lead to even bigger growth.”

These announcements are in conjunction with the final judging of the “Making College Possible Coding Challenge,” which invited students from SUNY and CUNY schools to build a mobile app or website to share information about the Excelsior Scholarship, Cuomo’s first-in-the-nation proposal to make public college tuition-free for New York’s working- and middle-class families. At the judging, Director of Operations James S. Rubin announced Team Knight from Queens College as the winner for their project, titled “A Better Tomorrow.”

New York Tech Workforce Task Force

The inaugural meeting of the New York Tech Workforce Task Force will convene in April 2017 and launch efforts to modernize K-12 curriculum, 2- and 4-year academic programs, and workforce and economic development investments across the state, ensuring their continued alignment with 21st century workforce demands.

The New York Tech Workforce Task Force, a body of industry experts, academic leaders and state officials, will deliver recommendations to modernize curricula at education institutions, create a more effective workforce training system for technology occupations in high demand, and lay a foundation for a workforce strategy that is responsive to the ever-changing technology workforce needs. Its work will engage industry leaders in defining workforce needs, building the localized training and education solutions to meet these needs, and informing workforce investments and educational alignment efforts statewide.

The Task Force will include four Task Force subcommittees focused on each area of specialization: K-12 Education, Higher Education, Workforce and Economic Development. The Task Force will convene quarterly.

New York Tech Workforce Training Fund

The burgeoning tech economy in New York state has created a wide variety of 21st century jobs. However, due to a lack of access to educational opportunities and quality training, those jobs are out of reach for many New Yorkers. With this $5 million investment, Cuomo’s Tech Workforce Training Fund will enable new pathways for New Yorkers across the state to get training and connections to employment in the state’s fastest growing, highest paying sector.

“New York’s tech economy is growing at an extraordinary pace, and with this growth comes great opportunity for our people and our communities alike,” Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Kristen Titus said. “Governor Cuomo’s investments in 21st century training and education programs will equip New York’s workforce with the skills and opportunities to succeed and ensure New York’s businesses are built to lead in today’s innovation economy. Together, we are investing in a stronger, more innovative future for New York.”

Cuomo has long worked to increase the number of workforce development programs that will lead New Yorkers to gainful employment. In 2016, the Governor’s State of the State outlined a $3 million Training Fund that responded to businesses’ needs of a workforce trained for middle skill jobs.

Making College Possible Coding Challenge

As part of the final judging, five challenge finalists pitched their products to a panel of New York’s business and technology leaders, who selected the winning submission: Team Knight from Queens College. Judges included:

• Neil Blumenthal, CEO and co-founder of Warby Parker
• Jeanne Jang, director of the IBM Innovation Lab
• Jeff Reynar, engineering director, Facebook New York
• Judith Spitz, Ph.D., founding program director, Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York, and former chief information officer, Verizon

The five finalist teams were selected to advance to the final judging and pitch session, and each final team received $2,000 furnished by the SUNY and CUNY systems. The five finalist teams that presented and their colleges are:

• Collegium—SUNY Albany
• Campus Hive—SUNY Fredonia and Alfred State
• Team Chepang—Stony Brook University
• Fast Pass—Queens College
• Team Knight—Queens College

More than 70 teams of students from the following SUNY and CUNY schools across the state participated in the competition:

• Alfred State College
• Baruch College
• Borough of Manhattan Community College
• Broome Community College
• Buffalo State University
• City College
• Finger Lakes Community College
• Hunter College
• John Jay College
• LaGuardia Community College
• Lehman College
• New York City College of Technology
• Onondaga Community College
• Queens College
• Stony Brook University
• SUNY Albany
• SUNY Binghamton
• SUNY Fredonia
• SUNY Plattsburgh
• SUNY Sullivan
• Westchester Community College
• York College


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