City of New Orleans to Join Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group

On New Initiative to Increase Economic Mobility

Data Staff Writers

The City of New Orleans today became one of 10 American cities that will participate in a new national initiative to identify, pilot, and measure the success of interventions to accelerate economic mobility for their residents. The work comes through a $150,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group.

Over the next 18 months, New Orleans will engage disadvantaged youth in services that increase their employability.

“This Administration is committed to supporting the young people of New Orleans, so that they are prepared for the jobs of the future and able to achieve a higher quality of life than the generations that came before them,” said Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montaño. “We know that will require data- and evidence-based decision-making and we are grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ballmer Group for their support as we work to give young people a foot up on the career ladder.”

The defining characteristic of the American Dream is upward mobility, but new data from Opportunity Insights shows that the current generation’s chances of earning more than their parents are declining. In many communities, young people and families face significant barriers to climbing the economic ladder based on the neighborhoods in which they live.

The new national initiative, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group, seeks to respond to the strong demand among local leaders for new, more effective interventions to address rising income inequality and declining economic mobility. In Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 American Mayors Survey – the largest comprehensive public-opinion survey of mayors and city managers – one of their top concerns was the challenge of providing more and better economic opportunities for all residents.

New Orleans was selected through a competitive process that looked at local commitment to addressing economic mobility, willingness to use data and evidence to accelerate progress, and ability to dedicate a team to accomplish the initiative’s goals. The initiative is supported by a $12 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group that was announced last fall. Over the next 18 months, New Orleans will develop, pilot, and measure an initiative focused on preparing young people for high opportunity career paths designed to help improve residents’ long-term economic mobility. New Orleans was selected through a competitive process that looked at local commitment to addressing economic mobility, willingness to use data and evidence to accelerate progress, and ability to dedicate a team to accomplish the initiative’s goals. The initiative is supported by a $12 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group that was announced last fall. Over the next 18 months, New Orleans will develop, pilot, and measure an initiative focused on preparing young people for high opportunity career paths designed to help improve residents’ long-term economic mobility. New Orleans will also work closely with other cities participating in the initiative to share lessons and experiences to further advance the work and build a model for future collaboration among cities on the topic.

New Orleans staff have already begun working with a team of advisors from Results for America and the Behavioral Insights Team, both partners in What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative that helps cities confront urgent challenges through data- and evidence-based decision-making. New Orleans city staff will deepen their data skills and strengthen their ability to deliver results to residents with the help of experts from other What Works Cities partners, including Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab and the Sunlight Foundation.

Additionally, Opportunity Insights at Harvard University is helping New Orleans staff draw insights regarding economic mobility in the community using data from the Opportunity Atlas, an interactive resource developed in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau.

The other nine cities participating in the economic mobility initiative are:Albuquerque, N.M.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; Lansing, Mich.; Newark, N.J.; Racine, Wisc; Rochester, N.Y.; and Tulsa, Okla.

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