History of the Office of Workforce Development (WKDEV)
History of the former NYC Office of Human Capital Development (OHCD)
History of the former Mayor's Office of Adult Education (MOAE)
History of the NYC Workforce Development Board (WDB)


In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio created the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (WKDEV). WKDEV is responsible to coordinate workforce with economic development in all five boroughs, to create a real time connection to businesses to ensure their needs are met, and to effectively connect those New Yorkers seeking workforce services to quality jobs with opportunities for advancement. This office replaces the former NYC Office of Human Capital Development (OHCD).


In 2012, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg created OHCD, recognizing the need for a single body to take responsibility for unifying the City's workforce development and adult education services for jobseekers, businesses, and adult learners. He appointed Michelle L. Light to serve as its first Executive Director on August 6, 2012.

From its inception, under the Mayor's direction, OHCD assumed the responsibilities of the former Mayor's Office of Adult Education (MOAE) and the NYC Workforce Investment Board (WIB). MOAE was closed as its work folded into that of OHCD. The WIB remained as an important public/private body managed by OHCD. However, though OHCD encompasses the work of these two organizations, the charge of OHCD extended beyond their missions. OHCD's mission was to support, strengthen, and advance an integrated workforce development and adult education system for New York City. As a champion, coordinator, convener, and catalyst, OHCD built upon the successes of two offices folded into OHCD in order to drive systemic change.
Among its initiatives, OHCD:

  • Tracked and analyzed the amounts and sources of funding that City agencies receive for different programs from the federal, state, and local governments, as well as from private philanthropy.
  • Led a comprehensive effort to pass and implement statewide legislation that allows City agencies greater access to data that the state collects about the dates, wages, places, and industries of employment for individuals before and after receiving City services.
  • Briefed agencies and coordinating applications for the U.S. Department of Labor's National Emergency Grants, leading eight City agencies to secure $35 million for temporary jobs that help with the clean-up and humanitarian needs after Hurricane Sandy.
  • Designed and launched a user-friendly searchable "Find a Class for Adult Education" online tool that will help New Yorkers learn where there are free, publicly-funded adult education classes.
  • Administered and engaged the NYC Workforce Investment Board to bring the business voice to the City's work of connecting jobseekers and employers.
  • Sustained and supported the "Know Before You Enroll" campaign, which encourages New Yorkers to make informed choices around education and training.
  • Coordinated Citywide priorities about changes to the General Educational Development (GED)® test in January 2014.
  • Researched census data to better understand the drivers of income and poverty, based on neighborhood, occupation and other demographic characteristics.

OHCD largely grew out of the Workforce Cabinet, created in 2010 by Chancellor (and former Deputy Mayor for Education) Dennis M. Walcott, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs. These senior officials convened over 12 City agencies to improve the coordination and delivery of services for jobseekers, students, and businesses. The Workforce Cabinet involved several workgroups focused on topics including the customer experience, labor market information, and literacy. As part of its efforts, the Workforce Cabinet led to:

  • interviews with experts about the future of workforce development and literacy in New York City.
  • quarterly reports from January 2011 through June 2012 that provide timely data on the performance of the City's public workforce system.
  • FY2010 and FY2011 "One System for One City" reports. These documents highlight current labor market trends and the City's response to them through education, job training, and employment services.
  • an initial assessment of the programs and source of funding for workforce development and adult education offered by City government. This assessment was completed through a contract with the Public Consulting Group.

As noted in the Public Consulting Group's assessment, the City's workforce development and adult education "system" often functioned like an archipelago of at least 12 independent agencies working with approximately $500 million annually to provide services to New Yorkers. These agencies had served targeted needs and populations but sometimes duplicated effort and at other times left gaps.

To build upon the effort of the Workforce Cabinet and act upon its consensus that the City needs a single coordinating body for this area of work, the NYC Office of Human Capital Development (OHCD) was formed in August 2012 to develop a more unified system off workforce development and adult education. The WIB staff was merged with the MOAE staff, fusing these two entities in a common mission within the Office of the Mayor.

Below is some background about MOAE and the WIB to offer further context that led to OHCD.


In the 1980s, Mayor Ed Koch created the Mayor's Office of Adult Literacy, which coordinated funding and policy development for adult education programs. In 2003, it was reorganized, and some of its functions were incorporated into the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.

In 2006, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg created MOAE to promote a state-of-the-art system of City's services for adult learners. These services include programs for English for Speakers of Other Languages, Adult Basic Education, and preparation for the test granting the High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma (called the GED® through December 2013). MOAE was charged with coordinating policy across participating City agencies and promoting adult education best practices.

Among its initiatives, MOAE:

  • helped launch We Are New York, an Emmy Award-winning television show designed to help people learn English. MOAE worked on this initiative in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.
  • helped launch YouCanToo!, an online resource that connects adults going back to school. MOAE worked on this initiative with the New York City Council. See the YouCanToo! website.
  • helped launch and implement Know Before You Enroll, a public awareness education campaign to help New Yorkers make well-informed educational choices that promote their economic well-being. MOAE worked on this initiative in partnership with the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment, and NYC Service.
  • helped implement a major grant focused on "reentry education," supported by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development. MOAE worked on this initiative in partnership with the NYC Department of Correction.
  • helped expand the IMPACT program for peer mentoring at Bronx Community College to Hostos Community College and Medgar Evers College. MOAE worked on this initiative in partnership with CUNY and Future Now.
  • ran a health literacy campaign, writing model lesson plans for adult education instructors to teach English literacy and math in the context of health topics.
  • recognized and directly engaged student leaders through the Calvin Miles Award for Student Leadership, Transition to College Internship, Social Media in Education Fellowship, and Health Literacy Fellowship.


In 2015, the WDB was formed in response to, and as mandated by, the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to establish policies and provide oversight for employment and training services funded through WIOA appropriations. The WDB replaces the former Workforce Investment Board, which was mandated by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA). WIOA, which was passed in July 2014, reauthorizes WIA. The WDB is comprised of all volunteer members who are appointed by the Mayor, including representatives of local businesses, institutions of higher education, labor unions, community-based organizations, and government agencies. The majority of members come from the private sector and includes senior executives from companies that represent many of our City's leading economic sectors. The WDB convenes as a full board meeting on a quarterly basis and its committees and workgroups meet periodically as needed. Learn more about the WDB.