Employment Programs & Rights


T + T



Workforce development in New York City is mostly funded with federal dollars under programs such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant. Administrative authority at the NYC level changed repeatedly through the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, with the first shift occurring when Mayor Giuliani transferred responsibility for adult programs around job training and employment services from the Department of Employment to the Human Resources Administration (HRA). Upon taking office in 2002, Mayor Bloomberg reversed this decision, but little more than a year later he moved to close the Department of Employment altogether. Adult programs migrated to the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and youth workforce funding and oversight went to the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). SBS and DYCD mostly offer services through contracted providers. HRA retains the Cash Assistance beneficiaries, which has emphasized job placement since federal welfare reform in 1996. Other city agencies with programming that incorporates job training and employment services include the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Department of Education, and the Center for Economic Opportunity. The City University of New York has a substantial workforce portfolio, as well as offering training and placement services on its own and in partnership with other city agencies.

The New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is statutorily charged under the WIA with providing policy guidance and oversight to this many-faceted system. Its volunteer members are appointed by the Mayor; by law a majority of WIB members must come from the private sector, including the board Chair.


Federal Funding

Federal funding comes through the Workforce Investment Act. NYC’s allocation is divided among three program categories: Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth. The city received a significant additional infusion of funds in 2009 through the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), which added $64 million, nearly the equivalent of the entire 2008 allocation, for workforce programming.

State Funding

New York State spends additional millions directly and indirectly on employment services and job training. Among the largest spenders of state money are the Employment Preparation Education (EPE), which funds literacy assistance, state spending on programs affiliated with the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, and training initiatives under the economic development programs of the Empire State Development Corporation. NYS also provides workforce development support in programs of its Division of Parole and Department of Health, among others agencies.

City Tax-Levy Funding

New York City typically contributes city-originating money to workforce development services through programs of the Center for Economic Opportunity, Business Solutions Training Grants for incumbent workers, and the Summer Youth Employment Program. Additionally, the city provides some direct funding for services indirectly related to employment and training, such as adult literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Philanthropic Funding

New York City is home to a number of corporate and philanthropic foundations that have made substantial investments in employment services and job training. The organizations coordinate these investments through an informal body known as the Workforce Development Funders Group.

The Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Many states also have minimum wage laws. In situations where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage rate.

The Minimum Wage Act (Article 19 of the New York State Labor Law) requires all individuals employed in New York State to receive at least $13.20 an hour beginning December 31, 2021. The rate differs based on industry, region and business size. Rates will increase each year until they reach $15.00 per hour.

  • Fast food industry workers in NYS – $15.00
  • Long Island & Westchester County – $15.00
  • New York City – $15.00
  • Remainder of New York State – $13.20
  • Tipped workers go to https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/CR146.pdf for rates.

These rates are in effect from December 31, 2021.

Summary of Employment Programs & Rights

NYC offers a range of employment resources for those seeking employment. Workforce1 Centers are one-stop centers, located throughout the 5 boroughs of NYC, at which jobseekers and employers can access a range of job supported services. Workforce1 services are universally accessible, though visitors must go through an orientation and registration process.

In addition, many community based organizations provide services to specific populations through contracts with the city funded by public dollars or through other resources, such as private foundations or corporations.


This chapter contains information and resources for the following populations: criminal justice involved, immigrants, individuals with disabilities, older adults, and youth.