CUF Inspires Key Proposals in City Council’s FY2025 Budget Response

Impact - April 2024

CUF Inspires Key Proposals in City Council’s FY2025 Budget Response

In April, the City Council released its FY2025 budget response. Several of the Council's proposals align with recent research and recommendations from the Center for an Urban Future, including investments in CUNY Reconnect and CUNY ACE, training teachers in computing education, increasing support for underresourced entrepreneurs, and bolstering adult literacy and older adult services.

Tags: higher education cuny older adults small business entrepreneurship workforce development tech k-12

In April, the New York City Council released its response to the FY2025 Preliminary Budget, which featured several proposals that closely align with recommendations put forth by the Center for an Urban Future. 

We are excited to see the these proposals,which include: 

Funding CUNY Reconnect and CUNY ACE

The response calls on the mayor to allocate a total baseline amount of $8.7 million for the CUNY Reconnect program to “remove barriers that hinder students from pursuing their degrees.” Our January 2022 report titled Reengaging Adult Learners to Complete College Degrees directly sparked the creation of the CUNY Reconnect program. In our November 2023 oversight hearing testimony, we called on the Council to "renew funding in the upcoming budget" and enact "targeted new investments that can supercharge the effectiveness of CUNY Reconnect."

Similarly, the budget response calls on the mayor to restore and baseline $9.1 million towards CUNY’s ACE (Accelerate, Complete, and Engage) program, an initiative to help students at senior colleges complete their bachelor’s degrees on time. Our March 2023 report, Playing NYC's ACE Card, urged Mayor Adams and the City Council to baseline funding for CUNY ACE and launch an expansion plan. 

We also reiterated these recommendations around CUNY Reconnect and CUNY ACE in our March 2024 budget hearing testimony, which urged the Council to invest in CUNY Reconnect and ACE as key steps toward boosting economic mobility.

Investing in Training Future Teachers in Computing Education

The City Council also put forward an exciting new proposal to ensure that more current and future New York City public school teachers have the skills needed to integrate computing concepts into their practices so that “every young person, particularly Black and Latina girls, can build confidence in computing from an early age.” This proposal was directly inspired by our 2023 Expanding on CS4All report, which argued that "new policies and investments are needed to ensure far more New Yorkers of color, women, and low-income residents get on the path to technology-powered careers. Achieving this will only be possible by training thousands more of the city’s future teachers—at all grade levels and in every subject—to integrate the core concepts of computing education into their classrooms." 

The Council's response also includes, for the first time, a commitment to invest in CUNY's innovative CITE program, an opportunity that we first elevated onto the radar of policymakers in our Expanding on CS4All report and also included in our October 2023 op-ed, co-authored with City Council Education Committee Chair Rita Joseph. The response calls on the mayor to invest $564,000 in FY 2025 to expand this program.

The response also proposes a new "Computing Across the Curriculum Micro-Credential" that was influecned by our 2023 report. The Council writes that this new initiative "would help educators learn how to integrate computing equitably in their instruction." As we wrote in our report, the city should launch a new program or fellowship aimed at helping "students pursuing teaching degrees to train in integrated computing education." 

Increasing Support for Underresourced and Reentry Entreprenreurs by Leveraging Community Development Financial Institutions

The Council "urges the Administration to provide $1 million to fund CDFIs to create programs that specifically support under-represented entrepreneurs." Our December 2022 report, Bolstering Immigrant- and Minority-Owned Small Businesses by Scaling Up CDFIs, argued that new investments in CDFIs would “bolster New York’s minority- and immigrant-owned businesses and help create community and generational wealth in underserved and under-resourced neighborhoods.”

The Council's response also "advocates that the Administration extend this support to entrepreneurs with past justice system-involvement." This was the key recommendation of our 2022 Starting Up and Staying Out report, which called on the city to "support pathways to entrepreneurship for those leaving incarceration." 

Bolstering DYCD Adult Literacy and Older Adult Services

The call for the mayor to restore the DYCD-funded adult literacy programs through an additional $10 million and baseline the initiative echoes our 2023 report, Preparing Today's Asylum-Seekers to Be Tomorrow's Workforce, which called on the city and state to expand support for ESOL and showed that "unmet demand for ESOL classes is surging . . . even before the current wave of asylum seekers."

In addition, the budget response proposes that the city issue new RFPs for older adult center contracts that "should account for the current needs of the City’s growing older adult population." CUF's February 2024 oversight hearing testimony proposed several policy ideas that would help the city plan for its diverse older adult population including future RFPs.