As New York experiences a dramatic period of job turnover, economic uncertainty, and postsecondary enrollment declines, employers and educators alike are eager to find ways to meet rapidly changing education and workforce needs for youth. New York State and City colleges and non-profit community-based organizations (CBOs), in partnership with employers, can work together to tackle these concerns through the Heckscher Foundation Challenge.

What Is the Heckscher Foundation Challenge?

The Heckscher Foundation Challenge will support innovative partnerships between employers and New York colleges and/or non-profit organizations that meet workforce needs in New York, and boost employment and earning outcomes among all young adults under 25 years of age (whether attending part- or full-time college, high school, a non-degree program, or not attending any institution) (“Youth”).

We seek to support partnerships with employers or a group of employers that provide Youth a clear path from education to a meaningful career. We are especially interested in serving those who face the greatest barriers to economic opportunity.

Grants will not be given to plan a partnership—they will only be given for the implementation of a plan with a designated partner, as described below. Further, the Heckscher Foundation will not consider internships or similar apprentice-like programs unless an employer partner makes specific commitments to providing full-time employment to program participants based on objective criteria, such as satisfactory completion of training milestones or other proof of necessary skills mastery.

The Heckscher Foundation will dedicate a minimum of $3 million to this initiative, to be awarded in grants of up to $400,000 per project payable over two years. The two-year grant period runs from June 2023 to June 2025.

Who Can Apply?

The grant recipient for this challenge is a college with a physical presence in New York State and/or a non-profit community-based organization. While educational institutions are required to be physically-based in New York State, community based organizations may be based elsewhere while serving New York youth.

We invite New York colleges and/or non-profit community-based organizations to submit proposals with specific, identified employer partner(s), where employer partners demonstrate a commitment in writing to:

  • Define the skills that are necessary for employment in their organization.
  • Assist the college or non-profit organization in identifying, designing, or implementing curriculum that teaches those skills
  • Define objective measures of competency in achieving those skills such as tests or certifications
  • Project the number of individuals who the employer is willing to hire for full time employment in the next 12 and 24 months, assuming individuals demonstrate the defined level of competency.

We will support partnerships that lead to measurable job outcomes focused on full-time employment that provide economic stability. In these partnerships, New York State and New York City colleges and/or non-profit organizations, in partnership with employers, will share ownership, responsibility, and accountability for the success of students.

More questions? Sign up for a 1:1 meeting with an advisor to help you tailor your application.

Ready to Apply?

Please make sure that all materials are ready before beginning the submission process. Once started, there is not an opportunity to save progress unless you are using a Google account.

To submit your application, you will need:

  • Answers to all questions
  • Employer partner letter in PDF format
  • Budget

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