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New York City Center for Economic Opportunity: Evaluation of Anti-Poverty Programs

The Million Trees NYC Training Program is among the initiatives that Metis evaluated with its partner, Westat, for the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity.

Several of the programs initiated through the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO)—Mayor Michael Bloomberg's signature anti-poverty strategy—have shown considerable success. Metis was one of four independent research firms that were engaged to assess the impact of the 40 original CEO initiatives. Together with its partner, Westat, Metis provided a combination of technical assistance and in-depth assessment of the implementation and early outcomes for 16 of these initiatives, summaries of which are featured in CEO's second annual report, “Center for Economic Opportunity: Early Achievements and Lessons Learned” (January 2009).

In addition to developing and evaluating anti-poverty programs, CEO has developed a new model for measuring poverty, making New York “the nation's first local government to refigure the Federal government's heavily-criticized 40-year old poverty measure,” according to CEO. The new measure is based on recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences designed to account for geographic variation in cost of living and the real value of government interventions.

For Metis, this prominent foray into anti-poverty work brings together some of the longstanding themes of its work, such as workforce development, youth development, and family economic support. Some of CEO's most successful programs involve helping move parents into stable careers and out of poverty, helping low-income families build assets, enrolling young people in GED programs, and identifying people who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

To read Metis's qualitative assessment of CEO's impact on New York City agencies and provider organizations, click here. To read Metis's independent peer review of outcomes obtained for the City University of New York's Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), one of CEO's most successful programs, see pages 51 to 58 in the report.