Our Clients In The News

December Newsletter

2017 has been one for the books, and we were glad to cap it off with some exciting outcomes from our work facilitating stakeholder engagement and planning processes that help strengthen communities. We’re also glad to take this moment to send holiday cheer and wishes for a happy new year.

We celebrated a big win for New York City tenants.

Council Member Brad Lander joins housing partners and advocates to announce the CONH legislation.

We are proud to have supported new legislation led by Council Member Brad Lander, NYC Housing Preservation and Development, and many housing policy partners that protects tenants from harassment and displacement. The “Certificate of No Harassment” (CONH) legislation requires building owners seeking to demolish or make significant alterations to their building to go through a process to prove they have not engaged in any tenant harassment prior to obtaining the permits needed from the NYC Department of Buildings.  If a landlord is found to have harassed tenants, they will be unable to retain the necessary permits for five years–unless they commit to converting a portion of their building to affordable housing for low-income families. To help inform elements of the legislation, we facilitated a series of working sessions for the Tenant Harassment Prevention Working Group, comprised of several city council members and housing policy experts from advocacy groups, the real estate industry, city agencies, and research organizations. The Working Group process leveraged data analysis and diverse perspectives to prioritize actionable opportunities in process and regulation to protect tenants. The resultant legislation will help ensure that tenants are protected and not driven out—all necessary steps to safeguard vulnerable low-income renters from being displaced.

And, we joined the City of Trenton in celebrating its vision for the future.

A Trenton resident participates in one of the Trenton250 public hearings to create a community-driven vision for the future.

Looking ahead to its 250th anniversary in 2042, the City of Trenton has developed a master plan as a blueprint to position itself as a leading 21st century city, encompassing economic development, education, housing, land use, and transit policies. The plan, Trenton 250, reflects a community-driven vision that will drive opportunities for citizens, businesses, and government, and includes key investments in civic institutions and the construction of inclusive public spaces. We worked with a team of consultants led by Group Melvin Design, applying our expertise in stakeholder engagement and workforce development policy to work on education and workforce strategies that benefit both youth and adults. By working with local government, residents, schools and colleges, we were able to determine  opportunities to support residents in pursuing educational and career goals. We helped outline over 20 education and workforce initiatives to improve the lives of Trenton residents. Read our blog post for the full story of Trenton250’s evolution.

Clearly, ‘tis the season to celebrate!
From our team to yours, all the best for a joyful holiday season and healthy new year. We look forward to great things in 2018.

Supporting Trenton’s Master Plan in time for the City’s 250th Anniversary

 The City of Trenton is looking ahead to a new chapter as a leading 21st-century city. In time for the 250th anniversary of its incorporation in 2042, the City envisions playing a role as a key economic and cultural hub in the region, built on education, arts, and industry. To chart its course forward, Trenton recently released Trenton 250, a comprehensive master plan reflecting a community-informed vision that will drive opportunities for citizens, businesses, and government. Through this stakeholder-driven process, Trenton has laid the groundwork for becoming a model capital city through investments in civic institutions and the construction of inclusive public spaces. We had the incredible opportunity to be on the team of consultants, led by Group Melvin Design, that supported the City of Trenton in designing this long-range plan that will drive economic development, education, housing, land use, and transit policies.

Our role focused on developing workforce and educational strategies, and helping Trenton plan for its goals of creating a vibrant economy and improving social mobility for its residents. We applied our extensive experience working within the workforce system to engage multiple local stakeholders, including the school district and the Workforce Investment Board, to determine priorities and explore opportunities to increase education levels and career trajectories for residents of all ages and backgrounds. We took a collaborative approach to our work, interviewing multiple participants and participating in brainstorming sessions with Trenton City officials and the rest of the consultant team. Also equipped with important labor market information, we delved deep into understanding what the issues were and what opportunities could be present.

Our programmatic recommendations included bolstering Pre-K to secondary education to improve graduation rates and student performance; opening new opportunities for adults to continue their education and explore relevant workforce opportunities; and encouraging lifelong learning. Specifically, we found that expanding school programs to teach more critical thinking and technology skills would drive positive employment outcomes in the future. For those beyond secondary school, we relied on our workforce expertise to identify an array of strategies that will prepare residents from a diverse range of backgrounds to attain and succeed in jobs that are and will be in high-demand.

Ultimately, we developed the education report, which outlines over 20 initiatives that came from engaging the right array of people and highlighting best practices from all over the country. Implementing these initiatives will enhance access to learning opportunities for all Trenton residents, enabling the city’s residents to access short-term job opportunities while simultaneously being prepared to take advantage of new opportunities in an ever-shifting economy.

Read the full Trenton250 plan to learn more about its vision for the future and blueprint for getting there.

November Newsletter: Things We’re Thankful For

It’s nearly Thanksgiving and we’re grateful for fun projects, amazing partners, and the opportunity to help strengthen communities. We’ve had the privilege to work on two recent program evaluations to help nonprofit clients assess service outcomes, refine strategy, and identify opportunities to increase programmatic impact. We’re also glad to be partnering with Public School to offer strategic planning training for City agencies, and to have participated in the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s Summer Jobs Connect Convening to discuss strategies for helping youth in summer employment programs build financial habits to prepare for long-term financial success.

We evaluate programs and strategies to drive organizational health and increased impact.

We recently completed an effort with the Osborne Association, to update their workforce organizational structure and develop new programmatic tools for a sector-based strategy. Osborne has served currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families for over 80 years, and sought to enhance its sectoral employment strategy to connect more clients with meaningful, sustainable employment. We conducted an assessment and provided a set of recommendations to support employer engagement and improve the coordination of job seeker supports across different programs within Osborne. We applied design thinking methods and worked closely with various levels of staff to develop program workflows, standard operating procedures for front-line staff, a resourcing structure, and other tools to position the Osborne team to manage employer relationships and serve clients in a sector-based strategy.

We’ve just begun working with Lincoln Center Education to evaluate its Scholars Program, a teacher training model that educates and places art teachers in New York City public schools. We’re working closely with current Scholars and alumni, program partners, and public school stakeholders to gain a nuanced understanding of the program components that drive success. By pairing quantitative and qualitative analysis, we are supporting LCE to measure outcomes and identify strategies for enhancing Scholars’ training as well as the impact they have through their school placements and ongoing careers in arts education.

We had a blast at the first-ever Summer Jobs Connect Convening, exploring best practices for incorporating financial empowerment into youth programming.

Last week, we joined our colleagues from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and youth-focused service providers from across the country for the Summer Jobs Connect Convening. Summer Jobs Connect is a national initiative that integrates safe banking products, services, and education for young adults participating in municipally-led summer employment programs. Principal Celeste Frye had the opportunity to present our research on how SJC participants perceive mainstream financial services and plan to use them, including findings from surveying 3,200 program participants and conducting focus groups in eight partner cities. The results of our analysis are also featured in CFE’s newly released report Summer Jobs Connect: Where Strong Financial Futures Begin. Take a look to learn more about ways service providers and government agencies can most effectively make banking products available through summer youth employment programming to help youth learn how to budget and save, and start on a path for long-term financial stability.

We’re offering a new strategic planning training for City agencies.
Been thinking about starting the new year with a fresh strategic plan, but not sure where to get started? We’ve recently launched a training with Public School that will give your team the tools to set a vision, align activities to achieve that vision, and establish an implementation plan. Learn more and contact us to see how our training could support your agency.


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