Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Fighting Poverty with Data

May 17, 2017
by
In partnership with
Fighting Poverty with Data
Thomas Shomaker and Sean Ryon
This New York City office uses an evidence-based approach to address inequality.

For nearly 10 years, New York City’s Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity has been an incubator of ideas designed to solve the challenges of poverty. Using research, data integration and program evaluation, the office’s staff tests these concepts to see whether they will truly work and scales them when they do.

“Evidence matters because people matter,” says New York City Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. “Most government policies aren’t driven primarily by evidence of impact; they’re driven by everything from what is politically popular to what’s been around the longest.”

Buery continues, “Being able to demonstrate to the world a real commitment to results, a commitment to changing course when a certain course of action isn’t working, becomes critical to gaining the kind of public support and credibility that are important to make sure that people are willing to invest their tax dollars to drive quality government services.”

The office is continually expanding its expertise in research, service design, evaluation and data integration to support key mayoral initiatives including Pre-K for All, IDNYC and Community Schools. It has also launched over 70 of its own programs. One of its first initiatives is also one of its most successful: ASAP, an associate’s degree program offered to students at the City University of New York.  

Watch the video above to learn how ASAP is doubling community college graduation rates.

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