Buffalo Youth Employment Project
The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Say Yes Buffalo and the John R. Oishei Foundation commissioned CGR (Center for Governmental Research) from July 2019 to January 2020 to document Buffalo’s youth employment landscape to inform efforts to improve opportunities for youth (14-21), especially youth of color. CGR compiled data and perspectives from youth employment providers; conducted two focus groups with youth, including those who had and had not participated in youth employment programs; researched best practices and emerging approaches in youth employment; and worked with Buffalo-area stakeholders to select three cities (Cleveland, Philadelphia and Seattle) for more in-depth research. CGR created an inventory of Buffalo’s youth employment providers as well as a report that characterized the current state of youth employment, gaps in services, best-practices from other cities and recommendations to inform a more coordinated system.
Liftoff: Western NY Funders for Early Childhood
Western NY Funders for Early Childhood retained CGR in 2019 to study how organizations across Western New York collaborate to improve outcomes for the region’s youngest residents. Liftoff, a group of more than two dozen funders, asked CGR to gather and analyze information about coalitions, councils and other collaborative groups in Western New York that align with Liftoff’s three priority areas: universal screenings leading to kindergarten readiness; high-quality child care; and transportation for families with young children. CGR interviewed more than 45 individuals working on early childhood issues in the region and identified more than 30 collaborative groups or initiatives working in Liftoff’s priority areas. CGR’s final report identified several opportunities for Liftoff, including development of a region-wide, broad-based early childhood collaboration to coordinate efforts and promote alignment, as well as providing support for collaborative infrastructure and early childhood policy and advocacy work. CGR also produced for Liftoff a searchable inventory of collaborative groups or initiatives.
Oswego County (NY) Needs Assessment
The opioid crisis has hit rural communities in places like Oswego County (NY) particularly hard. According to the NY State Department of Health, Oswego County had the second highest opioid death rate in the region in 2017. Additionally, rural areas face unique infrastructural, social, and economic challenges when dealing with the crisis. A consortium of treatment and prevention providers in Oswego County are partnering to find ways to strengthen the County’s opioid use disorder (OUD) system. To inform their planning, CGR worked with Oswego County Opportunities, Inc. (OCO) and its partners, Farnham Family Services, ConnextCare, Harbor Lights Chemical Dependency, and the Oswego County Health Department, to conduct a comprehensive, community-informed needs assessment and gap analysis. Our assessment identified opportunities for strengthening the system, including expansion of: evidence-based approaches such as medication assisted treatment (MAT) Naloxone/NARCAN training and availability, safe syringe exchange services, and emergency department bridge programs; internet connectivity to accommodate expanded telehealth services resulting from COVID-19 that could be extended post-pandemic; and supportive housing, particularly for women and women with children, recovery centers, and peer support.