News & Reports

CEO Announces Release of two Program Evaluations to Improve Education and Employment Outcomes in Low-Income Communities

CEO is proud to announce the release of two reports from evaluation partner MDRC on programs in the CEO and Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Social Innovation Fund (SIF) portfolio. These two reports include helpful guidance for policymakers and practitioners in New York City and beyond. The CEO/Mayor’s Fund SIF grant is a partnership between NYC and seven other cities. The SIF is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service that is being implemented in locations across the country.

The Jobs-Plus report, “The Second Generation of Jobs-Plus Programs,” describes the implementation of Jobs-Plus, a public housing-based employment program, in the Bronx and San Antonio. Because of the compelling evidence supporting Jobs-Plus, it is now being replicated in New York and several other cities across the country. This report includes details on best practices for participant recruitment, employment-related services, rent incentives, and community involvement, while also discussing some of the challenges in all these areas. In addition, the report includes details on participant outcomes and costs of the program during the early years of SIF Jobs-Plus.

The Project Rise report, “Engaging Disconnected Young People in Education and Work,” describes the implementation of Project Rise, a cohort-based education and paid internship program for out of school and out of work youth who lack a high school diploma or equivalent. Project Rise is located in New York, Kansas City, and Newark. The report includes details on the value of the cohort approach and individualized, flexible case management, and also describes the value of high-quality, high-dosage educational instruction. The report discusses outcomes in terms of participants’ educational attainment and employment status.

Both of these reports represent guidance on implementing anti-poverty programs, and both can be useful to a broad range of stakeholders. You can read the reports here and here and the Findings at a Glance here and here.

Connections to Care RFP Release

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, with the assistance of the Center for Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is proud to announce the release of the Connections to Care Request for Proposals, available here. The Mayor’s Fund is seeking proposals from qualified 501(c)(3) Community Based Organizations, in partnership with licensed mental health providers, to implement the Connections to Care model.

Connections to Care will support staff training and ongoing coaching to support implementation of evidence-based mental health interventions for at-risk populations. Target service populations include low-income (1) expectant mothers and parents of children 0-4; (2) out of school, out of work young adults ages 16-24; and/or (3) unemployed or underemployed low-income working-age adults ages 18 and over receiving workforce development services.  Connections to Care is expected to last five years, and is a program and research study of the federal Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  For more information, please read the Press Release.

All applications are due by October 19th at 2:00 PM. Letters of Interest are strongly encouraged and due by September 25th. Prospective applicants may ask questions regarding the RFP by emailing All questions must be received by October 8th.

Announcing Connections to Care

The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) is pleased to announce that the Mayor’s Fund, CEO and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) have been awarded a five-year grant from the Social Innovation Fund of CNCS to integrate mental health services into programs currently serving low-income New Yorkers.

This new $30 million public-private partnership, the Connections to Care program, builds on research that suggests many evidence-based interventions for common mental health conditions involve skills that can be performed by non-mental health workers. Connections to Care would give staff with access to at-risk populations the training to efficiently provide this support, and will track the experience of the service provider organizations in order to not only promote real-time information sharing and best practices, but also to assess the sustainability of the program. The Mayor’s Fund, CEO, and DOHMH partnership will also fund a study to better understand the impact of the program on individuals who will receive these services. 

The Mayor’s Fund will competitively select service providers to implement Connections to Care, with a Request for Proposals to be released in the fall.

For more information, read the press release.

CEO and Abt Associates Release a Study of the Effects of Neighborhood Change on Public Housing Residents

In May 2015, CEO and Abt Associates released a report, examining how the socioeconomic makeup of neighborhoods surrounding New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, and recent changes in that makeup, affect public housing residents’ quality of life. 

The economic landscape surrounding many NYCHA developments – often first built in low-income neighborhoods - has changed over time. Researchers separated neighborhoods surrounding NYCHA developments into three classifications of persistently low, increasing, or persistently high income when compared to the NYC median over three decades.
Researchers found statistically significant differences in earnings for NYCHA residents living in different neighborhood types, unlikely to have been affected by resident selection bias. Annual household earnings average $4,500 higher for public housing residents in high-income neighborhoods as compared to persistently low-income neighborhoods. Earnings are $3,000 higher for those in increasing income neighborhoods.

The study engaged NYCHA residents as research partners in three in-depth case studies in Morris Heights, Long Island City, and Chelsea. The qualitative results complement the quantitative findings by describing residents’ personal experiences of neighborhood change, highlighting some of the ways this observed difference in incomes may be offset by higher costs for NYCHA residents in high income neighborhoods. In all three types of neighborhoods, residents expressed a need for more enrichment, skill-building, and employment opportunities, of the sort offered by CEO and NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) programs.
The report was conducted in partnership with the NYU Furman Center, BronxWorks, Hudson Guild, and Urban Upbound, and the New York City Housing Authority. 

Read full report, The Effects of Neighborhood Change on New York City Housing Authority Residents, and the Findings at a Glance.

Work Progress Program and NYC Recovers: Funding Notice

CEO’s Work Progress Program (WPP) and NYC Recovers, implemented in partnership with the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA), are subsidized wage programs designed to complement existing youth services programs by providing participating low-income young adults with work experience. The programs currently serve over 1,000 participants through more than 30 service providers.

Service providers currently serving low-income young adults are eligible to apply for subsidized job funding for their participants. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and the new FY16 application can be found here.

Please note that CEO is currently accepting applications proposing program start dates prior to June 30th (in addition to programming that starts within FY16).

Mayor Bill De Blasio and CEO Release Latest Citywide Poverty Measure

Poverty Measure  The NYC Center for Economic Opportunity's annual report on poverty, "The CEO
  Poverty Measure, 2005 - 2013" is now available. As the economy continued to
  emerge from recession in 2013, citywide poverty remained statistically
  unchanged from the previous year. In addition to the CEO Poverty Measure
  Report, please see the recently-released OneNYC report, a comprehensive
  plan for a sustainable and resilient city for all New Yorkers.

  Read the Poverty Measure report (in PDF)
  Read the OneNYC report (in PDF)

Urban Institute Releases Latest Evaluation of Teen ACTION

In March 2015, the Urban Institute released an evaluation of Teen ACTION, an after-school program offered by the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) in partnership with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). Teen ACTION (Achieving Change Together in Our Neighborhood) is designed to reduce risky behavior among teens in middle and high school through service learning, which combines community service with structured classroom activities.

Urban Institute’s evaluation focuses on identifying participant experiences of the program, as well as outcomes with regard to risky behavior (e.g. sexual health) and academic achievement. The evaluation finds that:

  •    Teen ACTION has positive effects on participants’ knowledge, behaviors, school performance, interpersonal relationships, and community engagement.
  • The program helped participants to set long-term goals and understand how to achieve them, and participants reported being able to connect their choices to potential outcomes.
  • Incorporating youth input and youth-driven decision making was a key element for keeping youth engaged and motivated while also contributing to their development of leadership skills and overall growth.

Recognizing the evidence supporting a service learning strategy, CEO and DYCD have included service learning in other programming for young people including NYC Justice Corps, Project Rise, and Justice Community. Going forward, CEO will continue to research these and similar youth development strategies with the goal of bringing effective practices to scale.

Read Urban Institute’s complete evaluation report on Teen ACTION.

The State of New York City Women

As UN Women celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action during the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women here in New York City, the Mayor’s Office joins in the effort to review recent progress and emphasize the ongoing commitment to increasing gender equality.  Confronting inequality is the central focus of the de Blasio administration and improving the safety, equality and empowerment of women and girls is fundamental to building a greater New York City for all.

CEO prepared this brief in partnership with the Office of the Counsel to the Mayor, the Department of Education, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. It focuses on three issue areas of central importance to women where advances have been made in the past year, with more to come: Paid Sick Leave, Pre-K for All, and combatting domestic violence.

Highlights for Gender Equity in 2014:

  • 53,000 students enrolled in full-day pre-K (51% girls) which supports girls’ education and improves parents’ child care options. Pre-K for All provides greater economic opportunities for working families, including working mothers, and through an investment in teachers supports early education careers.
  • 243,000 estimated women gained the right to paid sick leave through an expansion of the Earned Sick Time Act. Paid sick leave is especially important for women, who make up the majority of care takers.
  • 36,700 people (86% women) received domestic violence prevention or support services at New York City Family Justice Centers. Client visits increased 22.3 percent in 2014 due to greater outreach and community engagement.

In November 2014, the City entered into a memorandum of agreement with UN Women on the Safe Cities Global Initiative which underscores New York City’s commitment to serve as a global leader in achieving women’s equality.

Read the full brief (in PDF)

MDRC Releases Latest Evaluation of the Young Adult Literacy Program

In February 2015, the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) released Improving Outcomes for New York City’s Disconnected Youth, an MDRC evaluation of the Young Adult Literacy program (YAL). The evaluation documents some of the core challenges of implementing a literacy program for young adults and shares strategies programs are using to overcome challenges.

The program provides young adults ages 16-24 who are out of work and out of school and read at the 4th-8th grade levels with targeted instruction specifically tailored to their needs and interests. It was launched by CEO in partnership with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library in 2008 and expanded under the Young Men’s Initiative in 2011.

The MDRC evaluation finds that some of the core challenges to implementation include: participant attendance and retention, teacher and other staff turnover, and engagement of students with sometimes widely different skill levels. In addition, programs report challenges with striking a balance between enforcement of program requirements and flexibility to accommodate participants’ life circumstances.

However, the report also documents some key strategies programs are using to overcome challenges or enhance their success such as:

  • Strong team coordination
  • Use of full-time instructors
  • Allowing time for lesson-planning
  • Fostering a sense of community among students and staff
  • Clear articulation and reinforcement of program norms
  • Linking to on-site HSE programs

Looking forward, CEO will continue to partner with DYCD and others to ensure that the lessons of Young Adult Literacy and its other programs are informing programming across the city to help low-literacy youth connect to pathways that further their education and careers. 

Read MDRC’s full evaluation of the Young Adult Literacy Program, as well as previous studies of the program that helped to inform its current model.

2014 Data-Driven Provider Award Winners: Celebrating Excellence in Program Management and Performance

 The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and its agency partners are pleased to present the 2014 Data Driven Provider Awards. These winners represent service providers of CEO and Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) programs whose smart use of data and excellent outcomes produced exciting advances in their delivery of services for low-income New Yorkers. 

CEO and YMI are committed to a culture of performance management and evaluation to ensure program participants receive the highest quality services. This second annual Data-Driven Provider Award celebrates community-based providers who demonstrated data-driven decision-making and high performance throughout Fiscal Year 2014. 

CEO and YMI providers were invited to apply for an award if their program had at least five providers and they achieved performance outcomes in the top 50% of those providers. In their applications, providers were asked to describe how they used data to drive learning and innovation in their program management. City agency partners in collaboration with CEO reviewed all applications and selected the winners.

CEO and YMI thank its partners and all providers who submitted applications.

Award Winners
Click on the links below for descriptions of the programs and to see more information about the providers. An (*) indicates a program expanded or created with support from the NYC Young Men’s Initiative.

Advocate, Intervene, Mentor (AIM) Program administered by the NYC Department of Probation*
Winner: Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.

Arches: Transformative Mentoring Program administered by the NYC Department of Probation*
Winner:New York Center for Interpersonal Development

Jobs-Plus administered by the NYC Human Resource Administration and New York City Housing Authority*
Winner: Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Justice Community administered by the NYC Department of Probation*
Winner: The Osborne Association

Justice Scholars administered by the NYC Department of Probation*
Winner: NYC Mission Society

Social Innovation Fund, All NYC Program Providers administered by the Center for Economic Opportunity
Winner: Children’s Aid Society (Family Rewards)

Teen ACTION administered by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development 
WinnerSCO Family of Services, Center for Family Life

Young Adult Internship Program administered by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development*
Winner: The Door

CEO is committed to assessing the impact of its programs using data and evaluation. CEO releases annual key performance indicators for its programs and shares evaluation findings on its website.