Our Clients In The News

Supporting Trenton’s Master Plan in time for the City’s 250th Anniversary

 The City of Trenton is looking ahead to a new chapter as a leading 21st-century city. In time for the 250th anniversary of its incorporation in 2042, the City envisions playing a role as a key economic and cultural hub in the region, built on education, arts, and industry. To chart its course forward, Trenton recently released Trenton 250, a comprehensive master plan reflecting a community-informed vision that will drive opportunities for citizens, businesses, and government. Through this stakeholder-driven process, Trenton has laid the groundwork for becoming a model capital city through investments in civic institutions and the construction of inclusive public spaces. We had the incredible opportunity to be on the team of consultants, led by Group Melvin Design, that supported the City of Trenton in designing this long-range plan that will drive economic development, education, housing, land use, and transit policies.

Our role focused on developing workforce and educational strategies, and helping Trenton plan for its goals of creating a vibrant economy and improving social mobility for its residents. We applied our extensive experience working within the workforce system to engage multiple local stakeholders, including the school district and the Workforce Investment Board, to determine priorities and explore opportunities to increase education levels and career trajectories for residents of all ages and backgrounds. We took a collaborative approach to our work, interviewing multiple participants and participating in brainstorming sessions with Trenton City officials and the rest of the consultant team. Also equipped with important labor market information, we delved deep into understanding what the issues were and what opportunities could be present.

Our programmatic recommendations included bolstering Pre-K to secondary education to improve graduation rates and student performance; opening new opportunities for adults to continue their education and explore relevant workforce opportunities; and encouraging lifelong learning. Specifically, we found that expanding school programs to teach more critical thinking and technology skills would drive positive employment outcomes in the future. For those beyond secondary school, we relied on our workforce expertise to identify an array of strategies that will prepare residents from a diverse range of backgrounds to attain and succeed in jobs that are and will be in high-demand.

Ultimately, we developed the education report, which outlines over 20 initiatives that came from engaging the right array of people and highlighting best practices from all over the country. Implementing these initiatives will enhance access to learning opportunities for all Trenton residents, enabling the city’s residents to access short-term job opportunities while simultaneously being prepared to take advantage of new opportunities in an ever-shifting economy.

Read the full Trenton250 plan to learn more about its vision for the future and blueprint for getting there.

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.

Walk A Mile In A Business Owner’s Shoes

As a small business ourselves, we understand the power of well-designed support for business growth. Last year, we supported the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ Small Business First Initiative to help streamline the way the City interacts with business owners. A large component of our work focused on designing programs and resources that more clearly communicate rules and regulations and help business owners avoid common violations. Check out these supports now available:

  • Compliance Consultations: business owners can schedule a free site visit with an SBS Adviser to learn how to comply with City rules and subsequently avoid fines, particularly when just starting out and being exposed to a wide array of requirements for the first time. According to reports from ABC 7, fines are down 40%!
  • Sidewalk Usage Guide: SBS offers many regulation- and industry-specific guides to educate business owners. We collaborated on their new Sidewalk Usage Guide, which covers everything from advertising to selling goods, repairs to serving food. Call us biased, but we think it’s a great breakdown of how the sidewalk in front of a storefront can and cannot be used. Trust us, you’ll never look at a sidewalk café quite the same way once you know what it took to get it there.

Contact Us

Mailing Address
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Suite 403
New York, NY 10016
(347) 619-2892
info@publicworkspartners.com