Overlap, Duplication, Gaps, and/or Fragmentation in Workforce Development Programs and Services

Issued Date
May 19, 2022
Labor, Department of

Workforce Development Dashboard


To determine what workforce development programs and services State agencies and public authorities offer, who they serve, and what their eligibility requirements are; and to determine whether there is overlap, duplication, gaps, and/or fragmentation among these programs and services. The audit covers the period July 2018 through December 2021.

About the Program

The Department of Labor’s (Department) mission is to protect workers, assist the unemployed, and connect job seekers to jobs. As part of fulfilling its mission, the Department, along with other agencies and authorities as well as local and contracted providers, delivers workforce development (WFD) programs and services that seek to address current and emerging workforce needs; these entities comprise New York’s workforce development system (System). The Department is the lead State agency in the System.

Workforce development is particularly critical as the State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn. As stated in the 2022 State of the State book,

As of Fall 2021, New York’s job deficit was three times greater than the national average, and higher by some measures than any other state. Employers in some high-demand industries have seen a surge in open positions, while those in some essential sectors are struggling to retain and recruit top talent. More investments are needed to help workers and businesses alike. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2022-01/2022StateoftheStateBook.pdf, p. 6)

A workforce with appropriate skills, in combination with available opportunity, helps ensure employment that sustains individuals and families and contributes to prosperity. Under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), states must have a governance body and must align their WFD programs by developing a shared comprehensive understanding of WFD needs statewide. In New York, this governance body is the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB). The State must also submit, for federal approval, a 4-year plan (Plan) that describes its WFD strategy. State legislation enacted in 2018 requires the Department to maintain and annually update an online database (Catalogue of Funding) of WFD programs that provides information about eligibility and funding.

Key Findings

  • We identified more than 500 WFD programs and services that are offered by 22 State agencies and public authorities. Despite the number and variety of these services, weaknesses in the System, including a governance body that has been dormant for 5 years and a delay in approval of the guiding Plan for WFD in New York, render it inadequately positioned to address the State’s workforce needs.
  • In the absence of a functioning SWIB, the Department and its partners may not be adequately considering the needs of job seekers and employers, and the risk of overlap, duplication, gaps, and/or fragmentation in programs and services increases.
  • The Department has not updated its Catalogue of Funding since August 2019.

Key Recommendations

  • Promptly request replacement for SWIB members no longer willing and/or able to serve to assist in reconstituting a functioning SWIB in line with WIOA requirements.
  • As soon as is feasible, update the Catalogue of Funding to reflect current information about programs, eligibility, and funding; thereafter, update it on an annual basis.
  • Take steps to address actual and potential overlap, duplication, gaps, and/or fragmentation among WFD programs and services.

Brian Reilly

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Reilly
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236