We’re proud to share the publication of a case study of the NYC Center for Youth Employment (CYE).

On June 8th, Public Works Partners CEO Celeste Frye presented findings from the case study and participated on a panel at an event sponsored by the Mayor’s Fund for New York City. The event celebrated CYE’s three-year anniversary with a breakfast and discussion with City officials and key stakeholders. Read on to learn more about what Celeste presented, and how we helped CYE articulate their impact!

Quick Overview
Launched by Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor’s Fund in 2015, CYE brings better coordination and focus to the City’s public and private youth workforce efforts . The goal for CYE was to help city systems better prepare New York City’s young adults for steady work and career success.

Why CYE?
New York City has a lot of fantastic workforce development programs that do great work, but are often siloed in different agencies. Also, some youth employment placements were lacking in quality and relevance, and there was sometimes a lack of guidance for youth to connect with services they need, or too few spots in employment programs to begin with. CYE addresses these issues by bringing together perspectives, tools, and expertise from a key set of stakeholders — including the City, private sector, philanthropy, and nonprofits – in order to use their collective resources to support both employers and youth.

Our Role
At the end of 2017, CYE engaged Public Works to assess the organization’s progress during its first three years. As part of this engagement, we documented CYE’s successes and identified ways to increase CYE’s impact in youth workforce development going forward.

We talked with a variety of stakeholders – including funders, workforce experts, nonprofit providers, and City staff – to collect perspectives on youth employment in NYC. These listening sessions informed a case study that highlights CYE’s achievements and outlines a vision for the future.

The case study highlights key successes, such as the fact that CYE has exceeded its goal of getting to over 100,000 jobs and internships to city youth, two years ahead of schedule. We also identified three lessons learned:

  •  The challenge is less about fixing programs than building a system. Having successfully achieved its original mandate, CYE’s role has evolved to emphasize connectivity and consistency within the youth employment ecosystem. Without the right infrastructure, even high-quality programs can fail to move the needle for youth.
  • Culture change takes time. CYE recruited hundreds of new employers by effectively communicating that workforce programs are most effective at serving youth when they also solve problems for employers. This is an exciting start, and CYE and its partners are committed to continued work towards a transformed system that effectively addresses employers’ concerns.
  • Work across institutions to make change within them. Over time, CYE moved from focusing on individual program improvement to identifying gaps between programs, and attempting to build “solution coalitions” with multiple stakeholders within and beyond government to address these gaps. CYE has found this to be an effective approach to creating change.

Looking Forward
In just three years, CYE’s work has made a big impact.

This case study positions CYE to tell their story to funders and other cities who may want to replicate their work in the future. The organization is now better able to facilitate policy conversations and collaborate with multiple City agencies for increased impact in the future.