Coney Island Training and Education & Harlem Plus

The Intervention: Violence prevention through job-readiness services for high-risk youth

Who is Served: Young people age 17-24 who are out of school, unemployed, and reside in either Coney Island or Central Harlem

The Challenge

In New York City neighborhoods with high rates of violent crime, young people often find themselves caught up in a cycle of criminal activity, violence, and retribution, or they feel that becoming “caught up” is inevitable. A high rate of the youth in these neighborhoods fall behind their peers in school, eventually drop out, and thereafter struggle to find lasting employment. The interplay of dangerous communities and a lack of educational achievement and employment access is identified by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) among risk factors for young people becoming violent.1 Specific community risk factors include:

  • Diminished economic opportunities
  • High concentrations of poor residents
  • High level of family disruption
  • Lower levels of community participation

Within these communities, the CDC has identified the spread of violence as similar to that of an infectious disease, requiring a public health approach.

The CITE and Harlem Plus Approach

In Coney Island Training and Education (CITE) and Harlem Plus, CASES is supporting Cure Violence NY. This internationally-recognized model (Cure Violence) emphasizes three disease control methods to prevent violence: 1) interrupt disease transmission, 2) reduce the risk of the highest risk, and 3) change community norms. Cure Violence NY is implemented by networks of nonprofits, monitored in New York City by the NYC Departments of Probation and of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Within Cure Violence NY, CASES is specifically providing Justice Plus services in Central Harlem and Coney Island. Our services help youth age 17-24 and at a high risk for gun violence to achieve positive change in their decision-making and behavior while engaging in key protective factors: employment and positive community participation. CASES’ CITE and Harlem Plus programs include:

  • Employment: Work-readiness classes, career counseling, and paid internship placements
  • Education: High school equivalency (HSE) exam prep and testing and postsecondary/college advisement
  • Civic/community engagement: Community benefit projects designed and implemented in partnership with neighborhood stakeholders
  • Credentialing: Opportunities to obtain industry-recognized credentials

The Impact

Evaluations of the initial implementation of Cure Violence NY across the state have reported the following outcomes:

  • A 20% decrease in annual shootings in Crown Heights
  • Over eight months, a 29% decrease in shootings in Albany
  • Over six months, a 40% decrease in shootings in Rochester

References

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Youth violence: Risk and protective factors. [Web page] Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html ^