Workforce Strategies for Clean School Buses

New York State has emerged as a national leader on zero-emission school buses, unlocking new opportunities for current and future workers in school transportation services. With its bold plans to require all new school bus purchases to be zero- emission by 2027 and to achieve 100% zero-emission school buses by 2035, New York State has demonstrated its commitment by providing school aid toward purchasing or leasing electric buses and to installing the requisite bus charging and support infrastructure. School districts, school transportation contractors, and their affiliated labor unions will be most impacted by the electrification of New York’s school buses. Because of the complexity of this transition, the WDI has worked closely with its partners in the labor movement, government, education, manufacturing, and school districts to ensure a just transition through workforce development that provides strong labor standards, high quality in-demand training, and equitable access to the jobs powered by electric school buses. 

WDI conducted a workforce needs assessment of school bus electrification to understand how it will impact the workforce that manufactures, operates, and maintains school buses. Using the lessons from early adopters in New York as well as in other states, we have identified opportunities and challenges for school districts, transportation contractors, and affiliated labor unions as they transition fleets. The research has highlighted a need for proactive training on three fundamental areas:

  • Zero-emission bus familiarization: Training for drivers and technicians on the fundamentals of zero- emission vehicles, including component identification, differences between different technologies (battery electric, fuel cells, hybrid, etc.), operation of these technologies, energy storage systems, diagnostics, and maintenance.
  • High-voltage awareness and safety training: Bus mechanics trained in conventional operating systems need specialized training with knowledge, skills, and safety practices specific to the use of high voltage equipment.
  • Electric school bus charging training: Training to understand charging options, battery management systems and charger-to-bus communication, including orientation to existing and future charging technologies, charger maintenance and safety considerations, and up-front planning needed for electric bus facilities.

Read the full report here.


Long Island Manufacturing Report

Long Island is home to approximately 3,000 manufacturers employing over 70,000 people with an annual payroll in excess of $5 billion. Businesses in this sector engage in research and development, design, production, and testing for industries that have the highest global quality, precision, and security standards. In an effort to better understand this important regional industry and identify ways to support it, the Long Island Legislative Manufacturing Task Force empowered WDI to carry out the work of researching and compiling this report. WDI compiled and analyzed information from a variety of economic and workforce data sources, gathered ground-level intelligence through dozens of interviews with company leaders and regional partners, and looked beyond our region for comparisons and practical lessons that we could apply here on Long island. We consider this report the latest contribution to an on-going regional dialogue and part of our work in support of New York State's manufacturing workforce. In the spirit of that dialogue, we welcome feedback and questions about this report and any other contributions that fortify Long Island’s manufacturing sector and its workforce.

Read the full report here.


Driving Long Island’s Innovation Economy: The Pharmaceutical/Nutraceutical Growth Factor

The purpose of this report is to raise awareness of the Pharmaceutical/Nutraceutical industry’s significance, its history, its potential, and its needs among both the industry’s businesses and Long Island’s regional partners. In addition, this report is also intended to raise awareness among Long Island’s general public about the quality job opportunities and meaningful economic impact Pharmaceutical/ Nutraceutical manufacturers have on Long Island.


The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA) and Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone convened a roundtable of industry executives in March 2016 to hear first-hand about the opportunities and challenges for this sector on Long Island. While quality of life; world-class educational institutions; proximity to New York City; and a strong, legacy manufacturing workforce all ranked high as regional assets for the industry, one of the recurring themes of the meeting was the trouble that industry executives faced in attracting and retaining qualified workers.

SCIDA knew it would need to gather in-depth, first-hand information from Long Island’s Pharmaceutical/Nutraceutical manufacturers. Gathering this type of information requires workforce expertise, extensive regional contacts, and an entrepreneurial spirit. SCIDA reached out to the Long Island Regional Office of the Workforce Development Institute (WDI) to get familiar with Long Island’s Pharmaceutical/Nutraceutical companies first-hand and gain meaningful, practical ground-level information to position SCIDA and WDI to provide the support the sector needs. 

Learn about the findings in this report.


New York State and the Jobs of Offshore Wind Energy

This report explores the skills and occupations required to take an offshore wind power plant from an idea through development and construction to spinning turbines generating electricity. In this report, you will find: 1) an overview of the industry and technology; 2) a description of the skills and occupations in the industry; 3) an analysis of New York’s workforce, the skills and occupations already in New York and the existing workforce gaps; 4) potential training programs for New York’s workforce to capitalize on this emerging industry and 5) a detailed case study of the only currently operating offshore wind power plant in the United States. 

Download this report here. To request printed copies of this report, contact WDI at 518-272-3500



New York State Logging & Forest Economy- Workforce Development Programs

The forest economy is a vital part of New York State’s industrial identity. New Yorkers have been logging and producing forest-born products for centuries. New York’s forest economy employs tens of thousands of people and generates billions of dollars in output every year.

What is harvested in New York’s 19 million acres of forest is processed downstream into an impressive array of products. Companies that consume New York’s forest harvest can be found in every region of the state as well as outside our borders. WDI has worked closely with its partners in the New York State Senate, Empire State Forest Products Association, industry employers, and academia to put in place innovative, practical workforce development programs for incumbent workers and those in the pipeline. 

WDI is pleased to share this report, which provides an update on WDI’s forest economy programs. We welcome questions and feedback that help advance understanding of this important industry and its workforce dynamics.