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Education provides a pathway towards sustainable employment and self-sufficiency, but many New Yorkers need additional assistance in reaching their goals.


NYC Opportunity provides a broad range of educational programming – most targeting young adults- primarily focusing on mentorship, increasing literacy skills, working with disconnected youth, and bridging the graduation rate gap. Programs are comprehensive to address multiple complex needs, and often tie together youth development, education and workforce strategies such as paid internships. One of NYC Opportunity's most successful initiatives is CUNY ASAP, which helps students earn their associates degree in a timely manner. The program is being expanded to serve 25,000 students a year by academic year 2018-2019. Other programs assist young adults in basic education and High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation. NYC Opportunity tracks program participation and measures success by assessing educational gains in grade levels and attainment of a HSE diploma, high school diploma, or college degree.

Education Initiatives Program Data by Fiscal Year


9x9 - YMI - Current Portfolio

9x9 provides overage, under-credited middle school students a supported transition to high school by leveraging intensive academic supports. The program helps participating 8th grade students from DOE School District 9 in the South Bronx to transition into participating DOE Transfer High Schools, allowing them to begin acquiring high school credits and prepare a portfolio for progression into 9th grade. In addition, students have access to academic and social-emotional supports, mentoring, and paid internships.

ACE at John Jay College - Current Portfolio

Accelerate, Complete, Engage (ACE) is a baccalaureate completion program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice based on the successful CUNY ASAP model (Accelerated Study in Associate Programs). It is designed to significantly increase timely baccalaureate graduation rates by providing students with a range of financial, academic and personal supports, including intensive academic advisement, career counseling, tuition assistance, and subsidies for textbooks and transportation.

City Mentoring - YMI

City Mentoring is a volunteer mentoring initiative that provides City Hall employees up to three hours per month to engage in mentoring with select community mentoring organizations. This program aims to serve mentees within YMI’s six priority neighborhoods and beyond. City Mentoring is further supported by Mentor Corps, a cohort of NYC Service volunteers.

To learn more about City Mentoring, visit the YMI website.

DYCD Mentoring - YMI - Current Portfolio

DYCD Mentoring, formerly known as Cornerstone Mentoring, is a group mentoring program that engages middle and high school youth who reside in NYCHA communities and surrounding areas. The program is an added service layered into existing DYCD Mentoring program sites. Participants take part in discussion groups, community service projects, and group outings.

DYCD Mentoring Evaluation Reports

To learn more about Cornerstone Mentoring, visit the YMI website.

To connect to a Cornerstone Mentoring program provider, visit the Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD).

CUNY ASAP - Current Portfolio

CUNY ASAP (Accelerated Study in Associate Programs) provides extensive financial, academic, and personal support to assist students and working adults earn an Associate's degrees. Students take classes on a set schedule with a peer cohort, organized by major, and receive enhanced tutoring, mentoring and comprehensive and personalized advisement, thereby positioning them for graduation within three years. The program is expanding from 4,000 students in FY14 to 25,000 students in FY19.

CUNY ASAP Evaluation Reports

CUNY Prep Transitional High School

CUNY Preparatory School (CUNY Prep) is a model program that offers out-of-school youth between the ages of 16 and 18 with an opportunity for full-time study to qualify for admission to college by obtaining a High School Equivalency (HSE). CUNY Prep is a part-time evening program that served older students and working adults. NYC Opportunity no longer funds CUNY Prep.

CUNY Prep - Westat/Metis Program Review - 2008

CUNY Student Persistence Initiative (SPI) - Current Portfolio

CUNY SPI utilizes behavioral sciences-informed persistence interventions to address barriers to student engagement, retention and success at different CUNY community colleges.

Eagle Demonstration Project - YMI - Current Portfolio

The Eagle Demonstration Project seeks to build capacity at nine participating DOE middle schools to implement culturally responsive practices, enhance learning environments, and effectively engage young men of color. With support from the Eagle Academy Foundation, this initiative delivers capacity building and professional development services to enhance student engagement strategies, and foster safe and supportive environments. In addition, participating schools receive technical assistance to implement the Eagle Academy Foundation mentoring curriculum to provide meaningful social-emotional learning opportunities for their students.

Future Now

Future Now offers free HSE prep classes to students ages 17 to 20 through the New York City Department of Education’s HSE Plus program, and to 21- to 24-year-olds from five zip codes in the Bronx through funding from the Department of Youth and Community Development. Future Now offers morning and afternoon sessions to the approximately 500 students it serves annually. This program is not funded by NYC Opportunity.

A Process and Outcomes Evaluation of a New York City GED Preparatory Program - 2015

HSE Connect - Current Portfolio

HSE Connect, managed by the Institute for Justice and Opportunity (IJO) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York (CUNY), connects justice system-involved adults who lack a high school credential to supported High School Equivalency (HSE) programming through a collaboration with the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC). IJO and MEOC work together to recruit, assess, and support participants in enrolling in HSE and other educational programming.

Students complete HSE Connect courses in 15 week semesters, taking one or two subjects at a time, according to their needs. Course offerings include Science & Social Studies, Reading & Writing, Math, and TASC. Students are supported in accessing the career or college support program of their choice to further their academic and/or career goals.

HSE Connect Overview

IMPACT Peer Mentoring for Young Adult Literacy - YMI

IMPACT trains HSE program graduates who are enrolled in college to serve as mentors and tutors for current HSE students and to provide peer support for other alumni enrolled in college. In addition to peer mentoring, the program incorporates post-secondary education transition and retention support services. This program is currently inactive.

Learn as You Earn Advancement Program (LEAP) - YMI

YMI partnered with the NYC Economic Development Corporation on the Learn as you Earn Advancement Program (“LEAP”), that combined classroom training and paid work experience through internships. It was designed to help low-income individuals access “middle-skill jobs” by helping them gain skills and access to better paying jobs in the knowledge economy. This program is currently inactive.

NYC Men Teach - YMI - Current Portfolio

NYC Men Teach is a teacher recruitment and retention initiative that aims to increase the number of qualified male teachers of color within NYC public schools. The program includes both CUNY and DOE programming.

NYC Men Teach Evaluation Reports

To learn more about NYC Men Teach, visit the YMI website.

Nursing Career Ladders: LPN and RN Programs

The Nursing Career Ladders Programs program helped low-income individuals obtain LPN certification and RN degrees- fields that are projected to offer good wages and future growth. Up to 40 participating students received a total of 1,152 hours of instruction during an 11-month period. The program included a mix of classroom instruction and clinical rotations. These programs are currently inactive.

Nursing Career Ladders Evaluation Reports

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring - YMI - Current Portfolio

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring is a credible messenger mentoring program that serves select schools within the Expanded Success Initiative network of DOE schools. The program also employs a college access curriculum that aims to better prepare students to be college and career ready.

To learn more about Peer-to-Peer Mentoring, visit the YMI website.

Project Rise - SIF

Project Rise served low-income young people in NYC, Kansas City, and Newark between the ages of 18 and 24 who are neither working nor in school, and who lack a high school diploma or high school equivalency (HSE) by offering them both education and work opportunities. Using a cohort model, participants attended educational classes to prepare for the HSE exam while also receiving job readiness preparation and individualized case management. Participants were also placed in paid internships conditioned on regular attendance in educational classes, and the sites aim to connect participants with further education or employment. This program is no longer funded by NYC Opportunity.

Engaging Disconnected Young People in Education and Work

Reading Rescue - YMI - Current Portfolio

Reading Rescue is an early childhood literacy tutoring and school staff development program that employs an evidence-based curriculum. This program, currently housed at the NYC Department of Education (DOE) and implemented by the Literacy Trust, serves second graders at select elementary and Renewal schools. Reading Rescue is further supported by Read More Corps, a cohort of NYC Service volunteers.

To learn more about Reading Rescue, visit the YMI website.

Reducing Chronic Absenteeism for Students in Temporary Housing - Current Portfolio

Reducing Chronic Absenteeism for Students in Temporary Housing is a collaborative pilot project between the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), to reduce chronic absenteeism (defined as missing 10% or more of school days per year) for students residing in 25 homeless shelters. The project is 1) creating a data sharing tool for DHS shelter staff to access student-level attendance data, track student progress and interventions, and provide holistic supports to students; 2) offering joint professional development to DOE and DHS staff to bridge knowledge and service gaps; and 3) improving transportation services between shelters and schools based on human-centered service design.

Young Adult Literacy

Young Adult Literacy programs provide young adults who are not working, not in school, and read at the 4th-8th grade levels with literacy and numeracy instruction, support services, and paid work experiences within a youth development framework. Beginning in 2015, half of the program sites were selected to implement a bridge model, pairing academic instruction and workforce services to build the competencies necessary for work and career alongside education.