Overlap, Duplication, Gaps, and/or Fragmentation of Workforce Development Programs and Services (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
April 11, 2024
Labor, Department of


To assess the extent of implementation of the five recommendations included in our initial audit report, Overlap, Duplication, Gaps, and/or Fragmentation of Workforce Development Programs and Services (Report 2020-S-45).

About the Program

The Department of Labor (DOL)along with 33 Local Workforce Development Boards, 95 One-Stop Career Centers (Career Centers), and 21 agencies and authoritiesoffers workforce development (WFD) programs and services that address current and emerging workforce needs. Additionally, a State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) and other State-level and local and contracted providers have roles in coordinating or providing services. Together, these entities compose New York’s WFD System (System), of which DOL is the lead State agency.

The System is supported by State, local, private, and federal funds, including federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding. WIOA took effect in October 2016 and is designed to strengthen and improve the national public workforce system, help get Americansincluding youth and those with significant barriers to employmentinto high-quality jobs and careers, and help employers hire and retain skilled workers. Under WIOA, all states must have a governance body and are required to align their WFD programs by developing a shared comprehensive understanding of WFD needs statewide and enhance coordination among their state agencies and authorities, local areas and entities, and supportive service agencies. In New York, this governance body is the SWIB. Under WIOA, the State is required to submit a 4-year plan (Plan) for federal approval that describes its WFD strategy and addresses the six federally mandated Core Programs (the Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act program, the Employment Service program, and the Vocational Rehabilitation program). In addition, State legislation enacted in 2018 requires DOL to maintain and annually update an online database (Catalogue of Funding) of WFD programs that provides information about eligibility and funding.

Certain initiatives and efforts have been launched to support System needs statewide. For instance, New York’s Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) began in May 2019 with a mission to invest $175 million for WFD projects that support strategic regional efforts to address businesses’ short- and long-term needs while supporting improved opportunities for groups facing barriers to career advancement. As part of the WDI, the Office of Workforce Development (OWD) was created to oversee a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process. The CFA provides a streamlined WFD funding process whereby applicants can access multiple State funding sources through a single application ($750 million for Regional Economic Development Council projects and $175 million for WDI projects). OWD was disbanded in 2022 and replaced by the Empire State Development’s Office of Strategic Workforce Development.

The objective of our initial audit, issued on May 19, 2022, was to determine what WFD programs and services State agencies and public authorities offer, who they serve, and what their eligibility requirements are; and whether there is overlap, duplication, gaps, and/or fragmentation among these programs and services. The audit covered the period from July 2018 through December 2021. The initial audit identified 519 WFD programs and services covering a wide range of areas such as training, transportation assistance, and child care servicesthat are offered by 22 State agencies and public authorities. Despite the number and variety of these services, weaknesses in the System rendered DOL inadequately positioned to address the State’s workforce needs. For instance, the SWIB had been inactive since 2017, and its governance structure languished as members retired or resigned or their terms expired, and no actions were taken to seek replacements. The lack of an active SWIB contributed to a delay in obtaining federal approval for the 2020 Plan. Further, DOL failed to update the Catalogue of Funding programs, with the last update in August 2019. The initial audit also identified risks in overlap and duplication of WFD programs and services: Of the 519 WFD programs offered, 272 (52%) served a single population category, and 247 (48%) served multiple population categories.

Key Findings

DOL officials have made significant progress in addressing the problems identified in our initial audit report. Of the initial report’s five audit recommendations, four have been fully implemented, and one has been partially implemented.

Key Recommendation

DOL officials are requested, but not required, to provide information about any actions planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this follow-up within 30 days of the report’s issuance.

Heather Pratt

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Manager
: Heather Pratt
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