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We are thrilled to release the third annual New York at Work report from Cornell University’s New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). The report draws on ILR expertise, research-based data and policy analysis on a broad range of key issues affecting the state’s workers, unions, communities and employers. The report is intended to serve as an informative, accessible and relevant resource for New York’s policy and decision makers. We hope that you find it useful and we look forward to engaging with you to advance the important work that you do related to work, employment and labor.

For further assistance, please see the list of ILR Outreach institutes and programs with contact information at the end of the report.

Established by the New York State Legislature in 1945, the ILR School is guided by a commitment to social and economic justice and to improving the lives of New York’s working people. Consistent with our mission and to honor New York’s workers, the New York at Work report is published annually around Labor Day.


Alexander J.S. Colvin, Ph.D. ’99
Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean 
Martin F. Scheinman ’75, M.S. ’76, Professor

Ariel Avgar, Ph.D. ’08
David M. Cohen Professor, Global Labor and Work Department
Senior Associate Dean for Outreach and Sponsored Research

Table of Contents

Cornell ILR Eviction Filings Dashboard

Russell Weaver, director of research, ILR Buffalo Co-Lab

View of a door with an eviction notice attached to the front.
40 of the 62 counties in NYS had higher eviction filing rates (per 100 renter households) in 2022 compared to 2019.


The Eviction Filings Dashboard hosts several interactive tools that demonstrate a resurgence of eviction proceedings after a nearly two-year moratorium ended in early 2022, with rates exceeding pre-pandemic levels in 40 of 62 counties. Rates also disproportionately impact low-income communities of color. Trends highlighted by the Cornell ILR Eviction Filings Dashboard for New York state raise red flags about the potential for higher crime, weakened social ties and diminished democratic participation in areas where eviction filings are increasing; researchers have documented these consequences in other states.

Key Findings 

The Bronx is home to the ZIP code with the most eviction filings, with roughly one filing for every seven renter households. The community is composed almost entirely of renters, nearly 60% of whom are “cost-burdened,” according to the federal definition, which is spending more than 30% of gross monthly household income on housing.

Another high rate – one eviction filing for roughly every 5.4 renter households – was in a Buffalo ZIP code where the majority of renter families have children, and nearly half of the children live below the federal poverty level.

Among New York State Senate districts, the 33rd and 32nd districts, both in the Bronx, had the highest eviction filing rates. They also ranked in the top five for renter cost burden and poverty.

Nearly 60% of the rental community is “cost-burdened," spending more than of their gross monthly income on housing.


Alongside the ILR Eviction Filings Dashboard, Co-Lab researchers released a brief that explores connections between eviction filings, public safety, voter turnout and community social ties. Using data from the dashboard, the report recommends at least three actions – good cause eviction protections, housing access vouchers and right to counsel – to curb evictions and promote safety, housing security and democratic participation across New York state.

Research Impact

The tools collected at the ILR Eviction Filings Dashboard were used extensively by statewide housing advocates during the 2023 statewide budgeting process, and they have been highlighted by investigative journalists as valuable resources for answering practical housing-related research questions for communities across the state. 

Related Information 

The Cornell ILR Wage Atlas

Russell Weaver, director of research, ILR Buffalo Co-Lab

Fewer than 40% of New Yorkers earn a living wage, with lower totals among people of color and younger workers.
Fewer than 40% of New Yorkers earn at or above a living wage.


The Cornell ILR Wage Atlas is designed to help New York state policymakers, economic development officials, nonprofits, academics and other stakeholders more easily analyze and visualize who earns living wages and where, and which occupations are best or worst for earning a living wage. The atlas was developed with data from two sources: the MIT Living Wage Calculator and the U.S. Census Five-Year American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Samples. Following development, a series of interactive demonstrations with key stakeholders from the academic, government and nonprofit sectors led to further refinements and additions.

Key Findings 

  • Across the state, 39.1% earn at least a living wage, with white employees (46%) faring significantly better than Black (29.7%) and Hispanic (26%) employees. Among younger workers, 28.4% of those categorized as Millennials and Generation Z (born in or after 1981 and 1997, respectively) earn a living wage.
  • Accommodation and food services, part of the state’s important tourism sector, is the industry least likely to pay a living wage, with more than 52% of workers earning less.
  • Of workers who are single parents with children, only 14.2% earn a living wage.
  • In Western New York, for women of color who are single parents, only 6.4% earn a living wage.
  • Manhattan boasts the state’s highest percentage of residents – more than 80% – earning a living wage. 


Using the wage atlas, ILR Buffalo Co-Lab and Partnership for the Public Good staff produced a policy brief. It found that a legislative proposal to raise New York’s minimum wage gradually to $21.25 by 2027, and to adjust it each year to keep pace with rising prices and worker productivity growth, would move pay in Western New York closer to a living wage for many workers – with tremendous benefits for women, workers of color and foreign-born workers.

Research Impact

The ILR Wage Atlas offers researchers a new and convenient source of data with which to study wages, wage differentials, pay inequity and related phenomena across New York state. Journalists have already used the tool as part of research into farmworker pay, and Co-Lab staff have drawn on the atlas for research projects that explore the potential impacts of proposals to increase the state minimum wage.

Related Information

Public Mental Health Care Sector: Impact of Austerity and Privatization

Russell Weaver, director of research, ILR Buffalo Co-Lab; Anne Marie Brady, research director, Worker Rights and Equity, ILR Worker Institute; Zoë West, senior researcher, Worker Rights and Equity, ILR Worker Institute

Concept illustration of people walking up a set of stairs through the inside of a person's head.
Between 2000 and 2020, jobs in private sector mental health-related industries increased by 34.5% where jobs in government mental health-related industries decreased by 9.9%


This report explores the effects that privatization and austerity have had on the state’s mental health care capacity and the employment and wages of public sector mental health workers. The research finds that both the public sector mental health care workforce and the state’s mental health care capacity decreased significantly between 1990 and 2021. The findings strongly suggest that the ongoing contraction of the state’s public sector mental health workforce – and the associated privatization of mental health work – likely has had (and will potentially continue to create) disparate and negative impacts on mental health workers, their families and their communities. 

These negative impacts disproportionately affect women, people of color and working-class New Yorkers. The analysis strongly suggests that public sector mental health facilities in New York state create good, well-paying union jobs at all skill levels and for residents of all racial-ethnic backgrounds. More dedicated mental health capacity through more specialized mental health provider positions and facilities might mean fewer suicides, fewer instances of hospitalization due to self-harm and an overall stronger state of mental health across New York.

Key Findings

  • Employment in mental health-related industries has generally grown over the past three decades. However, growth has been concentrated in the private sector. State government jobs in mental health-related industries have undergone a steady and substantial decline.
  • Both the public sector mental health care workforce and the state’s mental health care capacity decreased significantly between 1990 and 2021. 
  • Median wages have gone up by statistically significant amounts throughout the mental health workforce. However, wage growth in the public sector has outpaced private sector wage growth.
  • Ongoing contraction of the public sector mental health care workforce in New York state and the accompanying privatization of mental health care work likely have had, and will potentially continue creating, disparate and negative impacts on mental health workers, their families and their communities. These negative impacts disproportionately affect women, people of color and working-class New Yorkers.
  • The contraction of the public mental health care system has had far-reaching negative implications for provision of care.


This report found that trends toward privatization and state government austerity in the New York state mental health workforce are costing New Yorkers good-paying union jobs, and the good jobs being lost have been disproportionately held by women and workers of color. The findings recommend reinvestment into – and meaningful job re-creation within – the state government mental health workforce, in order to reverse trends and move toward greater racial, gender and economic inequality in New York.

Research Impact

This report provides crucial information and analysis of the negative effects that privatization and austerity have had on the state’s mental health care capacity and the employment and wages of public sector mental health workers. The findings advance literature on the impacts of government austerity on workers, the broader economy in which they work and the communities in which they live. 

Related Information 

Tracking 2022 Inflation Reduction Act Manufacturing Investments

Yinyin Xu, graduate student project lead, Climate Jobs Institute; Avalon Hoek Spaans, assistant director of research, Climate Jobs Institute; Lara Skinner, executive director, Climate Jobs Institute; Anita Raman, former research and policy associate; and past Cornell student research fellows and assistants: Ilham Nugraha; Hanna Xue; Scott Siegel; Amira Shimin


Back end of an electric car attached by to a charger stand by a large cord.


The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) is a critical catalyst to accelerate the sustainable development of the clean energy industry within the United States. The primary purpose of this research is to track the impact of the IRA on regional economic development and job creation in the clean energy fields across the country with more in-depth research for New York state.

We have collected data from over 180 publicly announced relevant projects that are potentially eligible for the IRA tax credits or investments triggered by the passing of the IRA within the clean energy manufacturing industry, given the consideration of the IRA tax credit eligibility for locally manufactured products. All projects are classified under one of three sectors: electric vehicles (EV), renewable energy, and other energy technologies, and then further divided into 15 subsectors

Key Findings

  • Of the 186 projects, the majority do not publicly disclose information about the union status in official news releases or industry publications.
  • The EV subsector has the highest amount of investment in clean energy manufacturing.
  • “Red states” and “swing states” have the most investments in clean energy manufacturing with more manufacturing investments flowing to “right-to-work” states.
  • Not all investments across the United States will create new jobs, but preserve jobs as some reopen existing facilities.
  • Geographically, the clustering of same-sector projects is most evident in EV-related projects.
  • In New York state, all investments tracked lead to new facilities or expansions of existing facilities.
  • Investments in New York state focus on wind technology, electric vehicle technology and energy storage.


  • This round of research focuses on the manufacturing sector. However, renewable energy development and building decarbonization are often disregarded in studies on IRA investments. Therefore, the narrative that more investments occur in red or right-to-work states may need to be corrected. The Climate Jobs Institute will work to expand the scope and category of projects collected to include those eligible for any tax credits in the IRA, first focused on the usage of tax credits for renewable energy installations and building decarbonization in New York state.
  • There must be mandatory reporting and a sample of case studies in New York state following IRA investments to understand job creation and the quality of the jobs created from investments in the IRA.
  • There must be a proactive approach to organizing and unionizing new, expanded or reopened clean energy manufacturing facilities in New York state.

Research Impact

This research can help union organizers understand where new manufacturing facilities will be located, the size of investments, and the expected job creation in those facilities. Our research also documents what unions are currently involved in each listed project. This data can also help legislators understand what is happening in their state and district. In the past year, Climate Job Institute Executive Director Lara Skinner presented the data to the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Congressional Clean Jobs Task Force.

Related Information

Update Work Access Rules for People with Criminal Convictions: Policy Brief

Timothy McNutt, director, CJEI; Matt Saleh, director of research, CJEI; Jodi Anderson Jr., director of technological innovation, CJEI;  Ethan Mulroy '24, student researcher, ILR School

Concept illustration of a man standing in the bottom of a large box looking up to the sky.


The Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative has been engaged in an ongoing effort to catalog and compare lawmaking and rulemaking that restrict employment access for people with criminal convictions. Examples include laws that broadly restrict access to highly regulated sectors such as financial and health care services. Others more narrowly restrict occupations requiring professional certification, or limit access to licenses or permits. 

The proliferation of seemingly minor restrictions can close access to large swaths of jobs, passively contributing to unemployment levels for people with criminal convictions that rival the Great Depression. This report identifies best practices for crafting narrowly tailored, equitable restrictions, and identifies areas where policies should be updated to avoid being overly restrictive or broad. As the state implements reforms seeking to mitigate private discrimination in employment for the justice impacted, it is critical that formal legal restrictions aren’t overlooked, as these result in prolonged barriers for people returning home to an artificially narrowed labor market.

Key Findings

  • In NYS, employment restrictions increased alongside rising incarceration in the 1990s-2000s.
  • NYS has led in updating overbroad restrictions solely based on felony convictions, but efforts have been piecemeal (examples of recent updates include 15 N.Y.C.R.R. § 6.28 on school bus drivers and 10 N.Y.C.R.R. § 83-1.6 on health care facilities). 
  • Many restrictions are automatic and overbroad, covering any felony, regardless of applicability to job duties (see, e.g., N.Y. C.L.S. Ins. § 4413 on employment with the state employee welfare fund; N.Y. C.L.S. Labor § 909 on jobs involving asbestos handling).


  • State legislators play a vital role in reviewing existing laws to reduce “perpetual punishment” and ensure best practices.
  • Efforts should favor narrowly-tailored, discretionary restrictions rather than overbroad, automatic, punitive ones.
  • Following modern policy frameworks, laws and regulations should encourage individualized assessments by employers, and avoid outright bans except where the conviction is sufficiently recent and related to policy objectives like public safety.
  • Public sector employment is particularly important; government can serve as a “model employer.” 

Research Impact 

Using comparative research, the initiative aims to help New York state modernize collateral consequences to avoid "artificial labor market narrowing” for returning citizens. The goal is to identify best practices, ensuring that restrictions reflect modern policy related to rehabilitation, reintegration and public safety, rather than retributive principles. 

New York state has been a reform leader, but efforts have been limited to specific sectors. The number of jobs a returning citizen is automatically disqualified from may be in the hundreds of thousands. Moreover, many restrictions relate to the public sector. As New York state positions itself as a “model” Fair Chance employer, it is critical to review the multitude of formal legal barriers that have accumulated over decades.

Related Information 

Drug Testing: Clarifying Rights and Responsibilities for Employees and Employers

Esta R. Bigler, director, Labor and Employment Law Program; Tess Berman ’25; Jeff Cameron ’25;
and Anh Dao Truc Lam ’24

overhead view of a pen on top of an employee agreement for drug and alcohol testing


The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) amended Labor Law 201(d) to protect employees in New York state from discrimination in employment based on the employees’ legal use of cannabis outside of the workplace during non-working hours. Under New York state law, an employer has a right to have a drug-free workplace. However, there are no regulations about how and when an employer can test for cannabis use. There is limited and expensive testing available that determines when cannabis was last used. There is no clear information on how an employee can challenge a positive test, discipline or discharge. The law does not provide for employees to sue an employer for unjust discipline or discharge based on cannabis drug tests. Similarly, it is unclear how discharge or discipline for a positive cannabis test affects unemployment insurance eligibility and a finding of misconduct.

New York state law permits employers to discipline or discharge when employees exhibit specific, articulable symptoms, but the statute does not define these situations, leaving employers needing clarification about how and when to test and when they may discipline an employee. Without explicit guidance, employers’ testing and disciplinary actions might be based on subjective interpretations of employee behavior, appearance and stereotypes about who uses cannabis. This ambiguity may disproportionately harm workers of color. 

Currently, employees who have been disciplined or discharged based on a drug test or “articulable symptoms” cannot sue an employer for unjust firing. Without an expressed private right of action, the anti-discrimination provision of the labor law leaves employees’ ability to enforce their rights to enjoy recreational cannabis to government agencies. 


  • Include a private right of action for employees who are disciplined or discharged for lawful use of cannabis and authorize reinstatement and back pay as remedies. 
  • Clarify that misconduct must include both a positive drug test for cannabis and a scientific, evidence-based evaluation of impairment.
  • Provide employees with a reasonable opportunity to contest a determination of misconduct based on cannabis use. 

Related Information

Equity in Focus: Job Creation for a Just Society

Anne Marie Brady, research director, Worker Rights and Equity at Work, Worker Institute; Risa Lieberwitz, academic director, Worker Institute; Zach Cunningham MILR '15, training and education associate, Climate Jobs Institute

collage of women working in different fields of work


This report captures the key social, economic and political issues discussed during the year-long “Equity in Focus” webinar series presented by the Worker Institute in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. With attention to the recent historic levels of federal financing made available to support job creation, the series brought together local, state and federal policymakers, practitioners, unions, workers, industry stakeholders, philanthropy and advocates to explore ways to achieve gender and racial equity in three sectors: the child care economy, the clean energy economy and the construction trades. 

While recognizing racial and gender inequities in these sectors, the report also provides examples of policy innovations to increase equity in job creation. These include the New York Climate Act’s “just transition” provisions requiring that “disadvantaged communities” receive a minimum of 35% of the benefits from investments in clean energy and energy efficiency programs or projects. Another example is the progress made by New York City’s Building and Construction Trades Council’s leadership in significantly increasing racial and gender diversity in apprenticeship programs. 

Key Findings

  • State government leadership is vital to ensuring that federal and state funds are used in ways that put equity at the center of legislation and public programs to support public goods, worker rights, affirmative action and economic development.
  • Moving toward equity in the workplace requires social programs that meet universal needs, including publicly supported child care.
  • Successful programs to advance equity in job creation and retention in the construction industry include broad-based alliances of public and private partners committed to making progress toward diversity.
  • An important pathway to unionized building trades jobs is through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Union-led programs are much more successful in increasing diversity than non-union apprenticeship programs.


  • The federal government should embed equity in the rules, regulations, policies and practices in established funding streams and administration of programs that state and local governments leverage.
  • Statewide policy should create a coherent structure and practice of programs that make significant and sustained progress toward equity in the representation of women and people of color in all occupations, along with working conditions that meet equity standards.
  • Legislation should provide for public goods, including universal access to child care, which will enable women to enter and complete educational programs such as pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeships in the building trades.

Research Impact

The Worker Institute “Equity in Focus” report presents what public and private stakeholders are doing at the local, state and federal levels to address equity in job creation in the child care economy, the clean energy economy and the construction trades. This is a multi-pronged approach through which state and federal government leaders play a critical role in implementing legislation, public policy and programs that make significant and sustained progress toward equity in the representation of women and people of color in all occupations. 

Examples highlighted in the report demonstrate how stakeholders have moved forward on key equity goals in job creation and sustainability, including governmental leadership in building broad-based public-private alliances of public agencies, tradeswomen organizations, unions and employers/contractors. State-level leadership is essential, as well, in providing social programs that meet universal needs, including child care.

Related Information

Sexual Harassment and Gendered Violence Impact on Workers

KC Wagner, director, Equity at Work, Worker Institute; Zoë West, senior researcher, Worker Institute

A woman turned to the side looking at a man's hand on her shoulder
Sexual Harassment


With increased public interest in workplace sexual harassment and violence in recent years, policymakers, employers and unions have grappled with designing effective responses. “The Impact of Sexual Harassment and Gendered Violence on Workers in New York State” examines workplace sexual harassment and gendered violence based on responses to ILR’s 2022 Empire State Poll. The findings in this policy brief show that despite state efforts, sexual harassment affects all gender identities and racial/ethnic groups, with alarming rates reported among transgender, nonbinary and nonconforming individuals. 

While progress has been made in expanding state law protections against sexual harassment, gig workers, misclassified contract workers and others still lack adequate protections. Additionally, marginalized groups face higher risks of harassment and retaliation. Further, intimate partner violence also impacts employment across genders and racial/ethnic groups. The policy brief underscores the need for ongoing monitoring, inclusive protections and a survivor-centered approach to combat workplace sexual harassment.

Key Findings

  • Workplace sexual harassment is a significant problem for New Yorkers, affecting all gender identities and racial/ethnic groups.
  • Individuals with transgender, nonbinary, nonconforming, questioning or other gender identities reported the highest rates of harassment (50%), followed by cis women (35.6%) and cis men (18.9%).
  • An individual’s race/ethnicity is significant in shaping harassment experiences, with higher rates reported among those identifying as two or more races/ethnicities.
  • Workers responded to harassment by telling co-workers (27.1%), reporting to an employer representative (33.3%) or confronting the perpetrator (17.1%), reporting to a union representative (11%), contacting a lawyer or community organization (7.3%) or calling the police (4.3%).
Of polled respondents who reported experiencing workplace sexual harassment, 19% were cis men, 36% were cis women and 50% were transgender, nonbinary, nonconforming, questioning or other gender identity


  • Address the roots of workplace sexual harassment by confronting unequal power relations and inequity, supporting pathways for employee voice, curbing unchecked managerial authority and investing in research to inform more effective responses.
  • Involve workers facing high rates of harassment in developing responses tailored to their experiences and identities.
  • Provide multiple points of entry for workplace problem-solving and complaints to make redress mechanisms more accessible and proactive.
  • Highlight community resources for responding to sexual harassment and gendered violence, supporting them with adequate funding and training to assist affected workers effectively.

Research Impact

In presenting the data on continued high rates of workplace sexual harassment and gendered violence, the Worker Institute also provides recommendations for building on the progress that has been made in New York state legislative and policy initiatives to address these problems. This involves a systemic strategy to expand legal protections and effective organizational responses. 

More resources are needed to implement best practices and to support research that can help inform more effective responses by employers, unions and community organizations to workplace sexual harassment and gendered violence. Involving workers in developing responses will help address the ways that workers’ experiences are shaped by their job sector, race, immigration status, gender identity, disability or sexual orientation. 

Related Information

Unpaid Care Work and Its Impact on New Yorkers’ Paid Employment

Zoë West, senior researcher, Worker Institute; Anne Marie Brady, research director, Worker Rights and Equity, Worker Institute

small, young hand on top of an older, wrinkled hand


Whether paid or unpaid, care work has been marginalized as a private concern and often devalued despite the need for care being universal. The pandemic has highlighted the public implications of unpaid caregiving as women disproportionately took on unpaid work on top of their regular employment to attend to the increased care needs of children and senior family members.  

"Unpaid Care Work and Its Impact on New Yorkers’ Paid Employment" draws from the 2022 Empire State Poll, conducted by the ILR School. This policy brief examines patterns of unpaid caregiving and its impact on New Yorkers’ paid employment. 

A significant proportion of New Yorkers, regardless of gender, race or income, provide unpaid care for family members or close friends, according to the policy brief. Also, caregiving responsibilities have a more pronounced adverse effect on paid work for people of color, cis women and transgender individuals. 

40 percent of New Yorkers polled engage in unpaid care giving.

Key Findings

  • 40.1% of New Yorkers responding to the Empire State Poll engage in unpaid caregiving.
  • Cis women were more likely to provide unpaid child care than cis men, with Hispanic or Latina/x, multiracial and Black women more likely to be providing unpaid caregiving when compared to white women.
  • People of color, compared to white respondents, reported double the likelihood of unpaid caregiving impacting their annual paid work. 
  • Child care burdens disproportionately affect low-income earners’ ability to maintain a job.
  • During the pandemic, numerous New Yorkers took unpaid child care leave; Black, Latina/o/x and lower-income individuals were the most affected.


  • Adopt legislation and make public investments to provide universal access to care as a public good. 
  • Address the disproportionate caregiving impact on women, people of color and transgender/nonbinary individuals. 
  • Link wider access to care with dignified pay and working conditions for care workers.
  • Support unionization and collective representation for all workers to increase income, job security and provide equitable and sustainable policies for paid leave and flexibility needed for caregiving.
  • Conduct future research on caregiving and its impact on diverse gender identities and racial/ethnic groups to inform relevant and effective responses.

Research Impact

The hidden burdens faced by caregivers are uncovered in “Unpaid Care Work and Its Impact on New Yorkers’ Paid Employment.” It highlights the urgent need to treat care as a public good, ensuring universal access for all New Yorkers. It also emphasizes the importance of addressing disparities in caregiving impact across gender, race and income lines. 

According to the policy brief, public policy and investment should expand access to care while also improving wages and working conditions for care workers. This includes support for unionization and stronger worker representation to bring worker voice into developing effective strategies that meet the increased need for care and that value and support care workers. 

This policy brief is part of the Worker Institute’s Future of Care Work Initiative to advance the public discourse for expanding access to care, raising employment standards and supporting innovation in the care economy. 

Related information

Subminimum Wage to Competitive Employment: Lessons for Future Policy

Ellice Switzer, Extension associate, ILR School Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability; June Gothberg, senior Extension associate, ILR School Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability

Person wearing pink shirt and glasses using a notepad sitting on a couch in a home setting
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 allows payment of subminimum wages to some people with disabilities, under certain circumstances.


Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 allows payment of subminimum wages to some people with disabilities, under certain circumstances. Approximately, 1,400 people in New York state are affected. Nationally, there are tens of thousands of people making less than four dollars an hour. Recently, statutory efforts have been made to limit the practice of subminimum wage payment, which often occurs in segregated employment settings.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued rules in 2014 that attempted to address occupational segregation and subminimum wage employment by requiring that employment support services funded by the Home and Community Based Services Waiver occur in integrated settings. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 placed further limitations by amending the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, creating a series of requirements that must be met under Section 511 before engaging youth with disabilities in subminimum wage work. Despite these efforts, there has been no successful legislation amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to eliminate Section 14(c).

Key Findings

  • The U.S. Department of Education awarded funding in 2022 to 14 states, including New York, for demonstration projects aimed at changing the path for people with disabilities from subminimum wage to competitive employment.
  • Known as the Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment Demonstration Project, the work coincides with federal efforts to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act. The congressional bill H.R. 1263, if passed into law, would amend the act to phase out Section 14(c).
  • The Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment Demonstration Project pilot programs will generate lessons on effective implementation and the scale up of new models of support to help people with the most significant disabilities obtain competitive integrated employment.


The results of the 14-state demonstration study will lead to policy recommendations for states on how to more concertedly direct employment outcomes for people with disabilities to competitive employment alternatives rather than to segregated settings using subminimum wage certificates.

Research Impact

The NYS Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment Demonstration Project supports the aims of the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the intent of congressional bill H.R. 1263. The program evaluation conducted by the ILR School Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability will generate lessons for:

  • Use of implementation science frameworks to achieve desired outcomes and system transformation. Implementation science frameworks are widely applied to education settings. This work will evaluate their effectiveness in public administration implementation more broadly.
  • Effective interventions for increasing competitive integrated employment among people at risk of subminimum wage employment included evidence-based supports and services, training in high need occupations and reduced systems fragmentation between education, workforce development and vocational rehabilitation.
  • Providing a model for scale up and system transformation on a national level and informing potential rules promulgation.

Related Information

ILR School exterior signage

About New York State ILR School

Established by the New York State Legislature in 1945, the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University is the world’s leading college of the applied social sciences focusing on work, labor and employment. It is guided by a commitment to social and economic justice and to improving the lives of New York’s working people.

With offices in New York City, Buffalo, and Ithaca, Cornell ILR Outreach provides research, reports, education and training for New York’s workers, unions, employers and government. It serves as a valuable resource for New York’s policymakers to advance equitable workplaces and well-informed public policy.

Key ILR Institutes and Programs Impacting New York State:

Buffalo Co-Lab
Cathy Creighton

The Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab for Economic Development continues to play a leading role in Buffalo’s resurgence with a more equitable economy. By partnering with Western New York businesses, unions, government, education and community organizations, the Buffalo Co-Lab impacts New Yorkers statewide through workplace health and safety programs, economic development and labor research, immersion experiences for students and many other initiatives.

Climate Jobs Institute
Lara Skinner

The The Climate Jobs Institute is guiding New York and the nation’s transition to a strong, equitable and resilient clean energy economy that tackles the climate crisis, creates high-quality jobs, confronts race and gender inequality, and builds a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative
Timothy McNutt

The Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative improves employment opportunities for people with criminal records by designing and delivering legal employment training to close information gaps, implement best practices, and integrate job seekers with criminal records into the workforce.

Ithaca Co-Lab
Ian Greer

The ILR Ithaca Co-Lab officially began its work in early 2020. Researchers and students who serve community partners use resources to tackle the challenges of fighting unemployment, winning a living wage and organizing for worker voice in Ithaca and the surrounding region.

Labor and Employment Law Program
Esta Bigler

The Labor and Employment Law Program examines the laws and policies that impact the workplace and offer educational programs. We provide labor and employment law education for job seekers, employees, employers, government agencies, community organizations and unions in support of the Cannabis Workforce Initiative.

Scheinman Institute
Harry Katz

The Scheinman Institute combines the academic depth of faculty in conflict/dispute resolution, employee relations, diversity and inclusion, and labor relations with the practical knowledge of leading practitioners in the field to provide intensive skill development for individuals, and best practices for organizations.

The Institute trains more students in mediation and arbitration than any other school in the United States.

The Worker Institute
Patricia Campos-Medina
Executive Director
The Worker Institute

Risa Lieberwitz
Academic Director
The Worker Institute

The Worker Institute engages in research and education on contemporary labor issues to address inequality, advance workers’ rights and help build a diverse, inclusive and dynamic labor movement. The Worker Institute programs include:

  • New York State AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute
  • Research, policy innovation and training on issues of equity and worker rights, sexual harassment/gender-based violence, workforce precarity, immigrant worker rights, union job creation,and labor rights enforcement.

Yang-Tan Institute
Susanne Bruyère
Academic Director

Wendy Strobel Gower
Thomas P. Golden Executive Director

The Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability works to advance the inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in the workplace and community. Our research, training and technical resources expand knowledge about disability inclusion, leading to positive change.