Policy & Program Initiatives

The Office of Workforce Development (WKDEV) builds on the foundation of the former NYC Office of Human Capital Development (OHCD). Below are some of the initiatives related to public policy and City programs with which OHCD played a leadership role.

High School Equivalency Changes
Beginning in January 2014, a new assessment called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC, has replaced the GED® as the test that New Yorkers must pass to earn a High School Equivalency diploma.OHCD partnered with stakeholders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to help prepare test takers and teachers of preparatory programs for this transition.

Know Before You Enroll
Know Before You Enroll is the City’s public education campaign that helps New Yorkers select a school or training program, advises them to be careful of taking on a large amount of school debt, and encourages problems to be filed with the City as complaints. OHCD developed and led this campaign in partnership with the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and helped the initiative spread to other communities, particularly by advising national veterans’ organizations as they have replicated the model.

National Emergency Grants
After Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the US Department of Labor offered the National Emergency Grant (NEG) program to create temporary employment opportunities in the aftermath of the storm to help with clean-up and provide humanitarian assistance. OHCD briefed agencies on the opportunities to apply for NEG funds and coordinated applications, leading the City to secure over $33 million to hire 2,050 temporary workers.

Wage Reporting Data
Local governments across New York State have not been able to widely access the data that the State collects on the dates, wages, places, and industries of the jobs held by residents. In partnership with a strong coalition of key stakeholders, OHCD coordinated a campaign to change the law so the City could easily access and use this data to evaluate the effectiveness of our services to help people improve their economic self-sufficiency. The Assembly and Senate passed the legislation in June 2013, and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law in October 2013.  The law took effect in December 2013.

Past Initiatives
OHCD’s work on several initiatives has concluded, having helped to launch them to ongoing, independent success.  OHCD played an important role with:

  • Reentry education.  OHCD administered a multi-year, $1.8 million Community Development Block Grant, provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, to empower New Yorkers transitioning from incarceration to community life through education. 
  • Young Men's Initiative – IMPACT.  OHCD helped IMPACT, a part of the City’s Young Men’s Initiative that trains mentors for the GED and college, expand from Bronx Community College to a pilot at Hostos Community College and Medgar Evers College.
  • YouCanToo!  In partnership with the New York City Council, the former Mayor’s Office of Adult Education (now part of OHCD) developed a website and social media programs to help connect and inspire adult New Yorkers pursuing educational and career goals.