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NYC Opportunity advances evidence-based workforce strategies that address the needs of both low wage workers and employers to help people enter and advance in employment.

NYC Opportunity has developed and evaluated a range of strategies to build the skills of low-wage workers, meet the needs of employers, and promote job placement, retention, and advancement. NYC Opportunity programs focus on particular industry sectors or communities, and tailoring services to unique populations, such as individuals with a criminal history, young adults, or public housing residents. To monitor program effectiveness, NYC Opportunity and agency partners track service utilization and participant outcomes, such as occupational certifications attained, job placement levels, wages earned, and employment retention rates.

Employment Initiatives Program Data by Fiscal Year


Advance & Earn - Current Portfolio

Advance & Earn provides education and employment services to opportunity youth — youth ages 16–24 who are not currently working or attending school. The program supports participants’ personalized career pathways through literacy instruction, High School Equivalency test preparation, employer-recognized trainings, credentials and certifications, and paid internships. The advanced trainings currently offered through the program include: Masonry and Landscaping, Certified Nurse’s Aide and EKG/Phlebotomy Technician, Culinary Arts, Digital Marketing, Commercial Vehicle Driving, and Direct Support Professionals (caregiving to people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities).

Advance & Earn Overview

Advance at Work

Advance at Work aimed to reduce poverty and increase income for low-wage workers through job upgrades, access to work supports and asset-building activities. In partnership with the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the program offered individual career coaching, access to training and education programs, enrollment in work supports, income and asset building information, financial incentives, and workshops. This program is currently inactive.

Workforce Innovations:Outcome Analysis of Outreach,Career Advancement and Sector-Focused Programs, 2010

Construction Works

Following Hurricane Sandy, Construction Works aimed to connect New York City residents to rebuilding opportunities by providing needed training in construction and related skills. The program partnered with multiple community based organizations in Sandy-affected communities to provide training and job placement assistance for local residents. This program is currently inactive.

Customized Training - Current Portfolio

Customized Training, formerly NYC Business Solutions Training Funds, provides financial support to businesses to help them train their workers in a way that increases their skills and wages, maintains business competiveness by providing funding for business aligned training, and helps to increase business’ revenues as a result of that training. Employers commit to a wage gain for their employees upon completion of training. The program is funded by a blend of funds from NYC Opportunity, federal workforce funds, and a contribution of funds by the employer. NYC Opportunity funding specifically targets projects that involve low-wage workers.

Customized Training Evaluation Reports

DigitalWork NYC

DigitalWork, a program in partnership with the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) combined classroom computer training with exposure to and experience with online work opportunities. The program was designed to increase awareness of emerging employment opportunities in the digital economy. This program is currently inactive.

Employment Works

Employment Works is a dedicated job preparation and placement program that serves individuals with a criminal conviction. The program works with job seekers to identify service needs, and to provide and/or connect participants to career counseling, occupational skills training, education services, and job placements.

Assessment of the Employment Works Program - 2013

Far Rockaways Economic Advancement Initiative

NYC Opportunity, NYC Small Business Services, and Citi Foundation partner in this new model for a Workforce1 Career Center in the Far Rockaways. The Center provides enhanced services such as financial counseling and job readiness support, and occupational hard skills training on-site for local residents to facilitate placement into quality job opportunities.

Jobs-Plus - Current Portfolio

Jobs-Plus is a place-based program for NYCHA residents with 3 core components: (1) on-site employment services, (2) financial education, rent-based and other incentives that help "make work pay," (3) community support for work that organizes neighbors to promote work and serve as a support network to overcome barriers.

NYC Opportunity launched the first City-funded Jobs-Plus site in East Harlem with its agency partners in 2009. With support from the federal Social Innovation Fund, NYC Opportunity established a second site in the South Bronx and a site in San Antonio, TX. Research on these sites helped inform the federal Jobs-Plus Initiative created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014. Since 2009 Jobs-Plus in NYC has grown to 10 sites serving 27 NYCHA developments, largely with the support of city funding through the Young Men’s Initiative.

Jobs-Plus Evaluation Reports

For more information visit the website of NYCHA.

For more information on Jobs-Plus research visit the website of MDRC.

NYC Training Guide

NYC Opportunity partnered with NYC Small Business Services to develop this new online tool for job training seekers to learn about different options for accessing occupational training. The site features provider outcomes and student reviews, to allow for better decision making for users. This program is no longer funded by NYC Opportunity.

Restaurant Revitalization Program - Current Portfolio

The Restaurant Revitalization Program (RRP) launched in June 2020 to support restaurants and workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $2 million program funds restaurants that have committed to paying a full minimum wage (before tips) to all employees over the next 3-5 years, promoting race and gender equity, and providing free meals to vulnerable community members, including those who are food insecure, essential workers, or others who are facing challenges during the pandemic. Each participating restaurant receives up to $30,000 to pay employees $20 per hour, for up to 12 weeks. The initiative is a collaboration with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and One Fair Wage – a nationally recognized advocacy organization working to raise employment standards and equity across the restaurant industry – which launched its High Road Kitchens program in NYC in June.

Scholars at Work

Scholars at Work connects NYC high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and college students to job exploration and paid internship opportunities. Scholars at Work participants receive work-readiness training on site at their schools. A sub-set of student participants are also offered the opportunity to have paid internships at transportation or manufacturing companies. NYC Opportunity supported this program in its early years of development, and performance data indicated it was having success with participants. NYC Opportunity, in partnership with DOE and SBS, launched an evaluation of the program in 2017. This program is no longer funded by NYC Opportunity.

Scholars at Work Evaluation Reports

Sector-Focused Career Centers - Current Portfolio

Sector-Focused Career Centers help unemployed and low-income New Yorkers interested in accessing mid- and high-wage opportunities while helping employers in targeted industries to meet their human resource needs. The core components of the program prepare low-wage workers for a careers in identified growth industries in the New York City economy. A NYC Opportunity evaluation of the program demonstrated its effectiveness in achieving higher employment, job retention and wages for participants in the sector sites compared to standard Career Centers, with particular benefits for those who received hard skills training.

Sector-Focused Career Centers Evaluation Reports


WorkAdvance sought to boost the earnings of unemployed and low-wage working adults by helping them obtain quality jobs in targeted sectors with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance sites, supported through federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and private support, were located in New York City, northeast Ohio, and Tulsa. The sites worked to prepare, train, and place unemployed and low-wage workers in good quality jobs with established career tracks, with each site focused on a particular sector. After placement, the program continued to assist participants to help them advance in their chosen careers. A rigorous random assignment evaluation of the program demonstrated its successful impacts in helping low-wage workers increase their earnings. This program is no longer funded by NYC Opportunity.

WorkAdvance Evaluation Reports

Meeting the Needs of Workers and Employers: Implementation of a Sector-Focused Career Advancement Model for Low-Skilled Adults

Work Progress Program - Current Portfolio

The Work Progress Program (WPP) provides wage reimbursements to community-based organizations seeking to provide short-term employment opportunities to the low-income young adults they are already serving in other programs. WPP prioritizes serving youth from public housing developments as part of the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy through NYC Recovers.

Green Applied Projects for Parks (GAPP) is a related subsidized jobs program for young adults administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Work Progress Program - Implementation Study - 2014

The Quality Home Care Workforce Initiative

The Quality Home Care Workforce Initiative is a tiered program connecting 450 job seekers to contextualized training and job opportunities in the HHA field. The program consists of an ESL course and contextualized HHA training for participants and employer training component for employers. Employers will be trained in scheduling best practices to increase hours for HHAs which have been shown to lead directly to increased income and increased access to union benefits as well as increased job quality.

Young Adult Internship Program

The Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP) was designed recognizing that many young adults who are not working and not in school, already possess the basic skills needed to enter the labor market and may need only a short-term intervention and work experience to connect to sustainable employment or educational programs. Participants in YAIP develop essential workforce skills through a combination of educational workshops, counseling, short-term paid internships, post-program follow-up services, and post-program placement in education, advanced training, or employment.

Young Adult Internship Program Reports