Our Clients In The News

August 2017 Newsletter: Invigorating Downtowns

This summer, we’re connecting urban development plans with local job creation strategies, and integrating stakeholder input as major investment unfolds. We’ve had the opportunity to support revitalization and master planning efforts over the past few months. Take a deeper look at these projects below.

We’ve been in Jamaica and Trenton helping identify innovative workforce training and partnership models to support local economic growth.

Governor Cuomo recently announced winning projects for Jamaica, Queens’ $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). We’ve been supporting a team led by HR&A Advisors to help the Jamaica Local Planning Committee (LPC) identify and develop these projects, which will facilitate catalytic economic development and investment in vibrant downtown activity. We advised the LPC on workforce and business support opportunities to increase job growth and attract workers downtown, and focused most closely on one of the winning projects to expand the Prime Skills Entrepreneurship Fund. This training program, managed by the Queens Economic Development Corporation, helps low-income Jamaica residents gain skills and tools to launch their own businesses. The additional DRI funding will capitalize on existing program infrastructure and early successes to scale the model, building a class of businesses in Jamaica owned by residents and giving the local community a direct connection to the economic growth of the DRI. We played a similar workforce subject matter expert role working with Group Melvin Design on the Trenton250 Master Plan. We’re excited to join stakeholders in announcing the results of this effort – aimed at combining economic development, education, housing, land use, and transit policies to transform the city – in the near future.

We’ve also got a new Analyst on board. Say hello.

Please join us in welcoming Sam Facas to Public WorksPartners as our newest Analyst! Sam joins us from the NYC Department of City Planning, where he spent three years working on the coordination and development of neighborhood planning studies to expand affordable housing opportunities for New Yorkers. Combining his non-profit, government, and private sector experience, Sam will conduct policy research and program coordination to provide our clients with thoughtful, actionable solutions to multidimensional problems.

July 2017 Newsletter: Combating Poverty | Supporting the Garment Industry | 2nd-Grader Focus Groups

Evaluating Collective Efforts to Reduce Poverty

In our third year supporting the Change Capital Fund – a collaboration of 17 foundations and financial institutions dedicated to the revitalization of distressed New York City neighborhoods – our impact analysis showed increased service and improved outcomes across grantees and their participants. Since Year 1, grantee programs have seen an 81% growth in the number of individuals served. In Year 3, grantees – Cypress Hill Local Development Corporation (CHLDC)St. Nick’s Alliance (St. Nick’s)Fifth Avenue Committee’s Stronger Together (Stronger Together) and New Settlement Apartments (New Settlement) – served nearly 10,000 participants in workforce, education for children and youth, and adult education programs. 

We’ve supported CCF by helping grantees establish ongoing assessment and outcome evaluation systems, identify key common measures of poverty alleviation, and work with the City to access administrative data that will facilitate measurement of outcomes and public savings associated with each initiative. Read our full report on Year 3 to see more outcomes on wage increases and educational attainment.

Working with Stakeholders to Identify Opportunities to Support the NYC Garment Industry

This summer, we’ve been facilitating the Garment Industry Steering Committee convened by Borough President Gale A. Brewer, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and Council Member Corey Johnson. The group – which brings together elected officials, City agencies, manufacturing business owners, designers, and other Garment Center stakeholders – is charged with identifying and planning for opportunities to advance NYC’s fashion and garment industries in preparation for a review of potential zoning changes for the Garment District in Midtown. We look forward to joining Committee Chairs in announcing outcomes from the group’s process later this summer.

Talking Arts Curriculum with 2nd Graders

We recently completed an engagement helping Lincoln Center Education identify opportunities to effectively integrate arts programming to increase school outcomes for students, parents, and teachers in Community District 7 in the Bronx. To determine ways LCE might adjust its curriculum that would stick with CSD 7 students, we needed to gather feedback from elementary school students directly – not your everyday focus group audience. We got creative with our facilitation strategy and structured the focus group discussion around a picture book, Quinito’s Neighborhood/El vecindario de Quinito. This book follows a young boy walking through his neighborhood and talking with family members and neighbors about different roles they play in the community. We used images from each page to discuss key interests with the 2nd graders, such as a mural to ask about the type of art they’ve seen in their neighborhood, as well as the type of art they like to make themselves. The tactic worked, and students provided a wealth of perspective on how they perceive their community, the arts, and how they most like to engage with both. We were able to glean valuable insights as LCE thinks through.

New Virtual Reality Lab to Create Jobs through New York Works

Photo credit: ​NYU Tandon School. Leaders from NYU, Lehman, the City of New York, and City Council join for the unveiling of the hub

We were excited to see the recent announcement from NYC EDC and MOME that the NYU Tandon School of Engineering has been selected to develop and operate a hub for virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a workforce development center at CUNY Lehman College. We supported the workforce component of the proposal, which will help connect New Yorkers to over 500 newly created jobs through the lab over the next ten years, positioning New York as a leader in the VR/AR industry. We look forward to seeing the implementation unfold.

Increased Service, Improved Outcomes Among Change Capital Fund Grantees

Our work was featured in the Change Capital Fund’s Newsletter this month. Check out the full article below, discussing how we evaluated improved outcomes among their grantees in the areas of workforce development, youth and adult education, and housing. Since receiving their grants, these organizations have continuously increased participation in their programs and delivered better quality results for participants.

Increased Service, Improved Outcomes Among Change Capital Fund Grantees in Year 4

By Celeste Frye and Doneliza Joaquin

In the third year of the Change Capital Fund (CCF), grantees – Cypress Hill Local Development Corporation (CHLDC), St. Nick’s Alliance (St. Nick’s), Fifth Avenue Committee’s Stronger Together (Stronger Together) and New Settlement Apartments (New Settlement) – have continued their collective efforts to reduce poverty in their neighborhoods through workforce, adult education, youth education, and housing development.

The following information is based on a report produced for CCF by Public Works Partners:

Year 3 Findings:

  • Programs have maintained or increased participation.
  • Quality of job placements increased as represented by hourly wage, number of hours worked, and benefits received.
  • Retention is up in workforce programs.
  • College access programs exceeded goals and citywide outcomes.
  • Adult education training increased participation and exceeded achievement goals.

In year 3, grantees served 9,777 participants in workforce, education for children and youth, and adult education programs. Since Year 1, grantees programs have seen an 81% growth in the number of individuals served.

Workforce

Grantees served 858 workforce participants in Year 3, up 128% percent from Year 1. Forty five percent of participants are between the ages of 17 and 24, 95% identify as Black or Hispanic, 43% received government benefits within the past year (e.g. TANF, food stamps, Medicaid), and 15% of participants did not have a high-school degree or equivalent at the time of program enrollment.

Additionally:

  • 200 of 425 placements were identified as having benefits, such as health insurance.
  • The average hourly wage for participants increased from $10.55 in Year 1 to $12.82 in Year 3.  FAC saw the largest growth of nearly $2 an hour.
  • The average participant hours worked per week continued to increase to 33.89 hours per week.

Education for Children and Youth

Grantees served 8,071 participants in their education for children and youth programs, up 30% from Year 1 (6,189). Thirty-three percent of participants are in grades kindergarten to 3rd and 68% identify as Hispanic and 23% as Black. Most participants are served in after-school programs.

High School Graduation

Eighty-two percent of 501 participants anticipated to earn their high school degree in Year 3 achieved that goal, compared with 70% among all NYC students and 65% and 64% for Black and Hispanic students, respectively, regardless of income level.

College Access and Retention

New Settlement’s rates of enrollment for participants in their college access programs at 81% far exceeds the NYC rate of 55% for students overall. In 3 years, grantees helped 1,638 students enroll in college. 1,218 of those participants are still enrolled.

Adult Education

Grantees served 848 participants in Year 3, up 12% from Y2 (754) and 234% from Y1 (254). 37% of participants were 25 to 39 years old. 59% identified as Hispanic and 29% as Black. 75% of participants did not have a high school degree or equivalent at time of enrollment.

Housing

St. Nick’s has grown its housing development program from 36 to 75 to 162 over the CCF years. For CHDLC, in addition to the 29 Cypress Village units completed in Year 1, 54 senior housing units are expected to be completed in Year 4. New Settlement will contribute 60 housing units in Year 4.

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