Public Works Consulting

Public Works provides services custom-designed to meet each client’s needs but with a constant focus on improving operations and creating efficient, effective systems. Specific examples of the types of work we do include:

Measuring Community Development Impacts

Community development organizations face the challenge of balancing the needs of myriad stakeholders, some of whom occasionally have different agendas. But even when mission is aligned, the complex interplay among social service needs, neighborhood development, and business interests can stymie any organization seeking to identify the best way forward on a particular decision, or even to develop consensus among stakeholders.

No one is going to be able to remove these complexities. But it is important for organizations weighing in on issues like these to have a process that is deliberate and articulates stakeholders’ different needs or expectations. Doing so creates a more thoughtful and transparent discussion on the merits.

We helped a local development corporation do just that in the context of identifying the best ways to measure the community impacts of commercial and industrial projects in their area, and to balance the need of its membership with those of a wider community.

The framework we developed stepped the decision makers through a series of considerations, which can be utilized for proposed or existing projects:

  • How does the project fit with current land use? Does it put pressure on needed industrial land by converting it to retail and residential uses? Will its impact on nearby land use decisions be broad or narrow? Would the project help or hinder other businesses in the community?
  • What impact does/will the project have on jobs? Will the increase be long-term, or just associated with the construction phase? Will it be a net addition of jobs? Does it replace existing jobs? If so, what are the relative wage levels?
  • What is the level of investment brought to the community? Does it encourage investment in a currently vacant site? Will it leverage or result in additional investments in the community (new sewers, telecommunications, etc.)?
  • What is the impact on the business environment? Will the building of the project result in additional business for current businesses? Will it compete with established businesses? If so, will that be beneficial for the business environment—and/or for the wider community?
  • Environmental impact (or benefits)? Does it encourage environmental remediation to a site with contamination hurdles? On the other hand, is it likely to create an additional environmental burden in the community?

The framework is not intended to be empirical and determinative. Rather, it uses a methodological approach to raise potentially conflicting points of view that must be weighed in the particular context of each proposal—context that may vary depending on time or location. (The same proposal may prompt different responses from the LDC depending on when it is raised, in what neighborhood, etc.) The result of utilizing such a framework results in a structured discussion that is more likely to include multiple community stakeholders and a decision that is more likely to be embraced by the community as a whole.

Program Planning
  • Research, interviewing, and developing concepts for a new or expanded program
  • Writing proposals to government and private funders for programs
  • Implementation of program plan
Financial Management
  • Interim financial management/CFO services during transition periods
  • Budget planning, developing and populating budgets that work for reporting and program management
  • Policies and procedures and internal controls that work for your organization
Strategic Planning
  • Vision, with an eye on the bottom line
  • Incorporating the board, staff and constituents into planning for taking your organization to the next level
  • Designing and implementing a structured planning process that is transparent, useful, and does not require total work stoppage
  • Plan includes concrete steps to implementation, utilizing human and financial resources realistically toward your goals
  • Implementation is a critical component – our plans don’t gather dust!
Organizational Infrastructure
  • Governance structures that work for the size, scope and funding of your organization; board roles that help you succeed
  • Performance management for staff, including working with staff to assess needs and competency models and assessment tools
  • Review of staff and resources to meet agency goals
  • Creating the internal team to help your external team soar
Project Management
  • Expanding organizational capacity to manage special projects, such as RFPs, mergers, or new program implementation
  • Staff transition and reorganization assistance
  • Writing procurement policies and contracting guidelines that conform to funding requirements (particularly for public funding) and that streamline your employees’ work
  • Creating compliant documentation and training staff to use it
Training and Staff Development
  • Dynamic and engaging trainers who understand what your staff does every day and how to enable them to do it better
  • Staff coaching, particularly with staff in the financial and administrative areas, who often need development in order to fully realize their contribution to the mission
  • Group training on content from curriculum development to delivery for new processes or programs, or on key competencies that cut across programs
Workforce Development
  • Expertise at designing and launching government-funded workforce development programs
  • Managing competitive grantmaking programs that work with private businesses to provide funding for employee training
  • Grant proposals – we can design the grant program or write the winning proposal
  • Experience with business-focused sectoral initiatives
  • Deep network and knowledge of the workforce field in New York City

Program Development
Working with the Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation, Public Works has designed the framework of a new workforce development program. The team did extensive research and interviewed staff, partners, business clients, board members and industry experts. The team recommended to the director and board a model for the program that will enable the organization to access significant new funding, develop new partnerships, serve new business clients, and establish a sectoral business model to support companies and workers in industry. The team outlined a grant proposal and assisted the organization in writing.

© Public Works Consulting