Capstone Courses and Projects

East River Development Alliance

Assessing Access to Healthy Food in Long Island City
The East River Development Alliance (ERDA) engaged a Capstone team to research food security in the local commu­nity where ERDA works in Long Island City. This area includes the public housing developments of Queensbridge Houses, Astoria Houses, and Ravenswood Houses. The goal of the project was to assess the level of food security in the neighborhood and propose recommendations on how to increase access to healthy food. The Capstone team used elements from the USDA to conduct a quality needs assess­ment. The team surveyed residents, area vendors, and focus groups to conduct a formal needs assessment. The results highlighted the need for increased access to fresh and high quality food in the neighborhood. The Capstone team's report provided recommendations for programs and initiatives to improve access to high quality, healthy food.

Hudson Guild

Measuring the Impact of PowerUp
The Capstone team worked to improve Hudson Guild's ability to track and report on outcomes achieved through its programs for at­risk individuals and families. Specifically, the team focused on Hudson Guild's PowerUp program that provides work expe­rience and academic and emotional support to help underserved youth in Chelsea achieve fulltime employment. The Capstone team worked closely with the Hudson Guild staff to design a set of recommendations for tracking and reporting program outcomes in order to facilitate improved organizational responsiveness and selfevaluation.

Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ

Economic Development and Job Creation
Local 32BJ membership is comprised of service employees, including mainte­nance, janitorial and construction workers, security guards, and doormen. The union wants to ensure that economic develop­ment funding is spent creating meaningful jobs for its members. New York State has an expansive set of economic development programs to promote commercial activity, job creation, and economic opportunity. However, economic development programs are often criticized for failing to create jobs or adhere to reporting requirements to inform the public about job creation outcomes. The Capstone team evaluated four New York State economic development programs that affect members of SEIU Local 32BJ: the Excelsior Jobs Program, Power for Jobs, the Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund, and Industrial Development Agencies. The Capstone team's final report includes recommendations for creating job standards to improve these programs.