Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board, Inc.

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The Workforce Training Alliance (WTA) is a collaborative effort among funding agencies in Erie County assisting employers in meeting their employment and training needs, by creating a one-stop shop for employers applying for training funds.


The Buffalo & Erie County Workforce Investment Board, Inc
The New York State Department of Labor
Empire State Development 


The Buffalo & Erie County Workforce Investment Board, Inc.

The WIB oversees federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding in Erie County. In this role the WIB is responsible for coordinating workforce investment activities with economic development strategies and developing employer linkages. WIA funding can be used to provide employers with assistance for on-the-job training and/or customized training:

On-the-Job Training - On-the-job training is provided under a contract with an employer through which occupational training is provided to the employee, in exchange for the reimbursement of up to 50% of the wage rate to compensate for the employer's extraordinary costs. The OJT contract is limited to the period of time required for the employee to become proficient in the occupation for which training is being provided.

Customized Training - Customized training is training designed to meet the special requirements of an employer (including a group of employers). This training is conducted with a commitment by the employer to employ, or in the case of incumbent workers, continue to employ, an individual upon successful completion of the training. Employers are required to pay for not less than 50% of the cost of training.

Individuals eligible to receive WIA funding must be either unemployed prior to the training or employed at $25 per hour or less and must receive a skills assessment that indicates training is necessary for the individual to obtain or retain employment.

Note: If your proposal is approved for WIA funding, you will be assigned a Business Service Specialist who will assist you with every phase of your project. As a contract condition, you will be required to list all your project vacancies with our One Stop Career Centers. These centers will refer eligible applicants to your attention for hiring consideration.

Individuals hired prior to the approval of a funding request, or not referred through a One Stop Center, will be deemed ineligible under this program. If you have any questions in regard to funding requirement, we suggest you contact the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board representative listed below.

New York State Department of Labor

New York State Department of Labor has funds available to businesses that are facing potential job loss. This assistance may be used to implement alternative measures to prevent layoffs or closings and may include but is not limited to:

Layoff Aversion Program

  • Determination of the skills gap of the employees to decide if Incumbent Worker Training/Skills Upgrade Training / Customized Training / On-the-Job Training or other retraining programs for the company's workers may enable retention of workers in other company production lines or facilities
  • Employee stock Ownership Plans (ESOP)
  • Shared Work Program
  • Assistance options that may be available through appropriate economic development organizations

Empire State Development

Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Labor jointly administer the Strategic Training Alliance Program (STRAP) in Western New York. STRAP was created as part of Governor Pataki's Jobs 2000 legislation to identify and address employer demands for skilled workers. The program seeks to fund projects that are structured to solve common workforce problems by:

  • addressing identified skilled worker shortages within an industry or within a single employer's establishment.
  • promoting skills upgrading for incumbent workers, particularly upgrading skills for high technology jobs, and;
  • ensuring New York State's employers can be provided with a skilled and qualified workforce to meet their business needs.

STRAP is a state funded effort to support employer strategies and local efforts for lifelong learning for the development of the incumbent worker. Incumbent worker training increases productivity and the competitiveness of our employer community and should be viewed as an economic development tool.


Buffalo & Erie County
Workforce Investment Board
Mark Cosgrove     (716) 504-1480

NYS Department of Labor
Carolyn Bright     (716) 851-2753

Empire State Development
Marguerite Greco     (716) 856-8111


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Workforce Development Consortium | Workforce Investment Board Buffalo Employment & Training Center
ECC Employment & Training Center
NYS Department of Labor Services Office

City of Buffalo Work Source One Erie County Works
Byron W. Brown
County Executive:
Mark C. Poloncarz