Ithaca College Retention Specialist Training (FLGEC)


Attention all health and social service agencies of Central (Syracuse) and Western New York (Batavia): registration is now open for a FREE Retention Specialist training this June.

This is an evidence-based model program developed by Cornell University researchers to systematically address problems of low job satisfaction and resulting turnover.

Registration priority will be given to those who take part in the stipended program wherein a $2500 stipend is granted to 8 agencies each in CNY and Western NY that, once trained, agree to employ a Retention Specialist devoting 20% of their time for one year (July 2018 – June 2019).  This program will also provide technical assistance and require participation in 3-4 brief guided and user-friendly evaluations throughout the year.

Both trainings are open to all counties and are being sponsored by the Health Foundation of Western and Central NY as well as the Fellows Action Network.  However, the stipended program is only available to the following counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming, Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Tompkins.

More details available here.

Don’t Ya Wish Your Gastropub Were Cheap Like Me


Buffalo Restaurant Week 2018 has officially begun and we’ve pored over countless menus and fine print to find YOU the best deal in the area.  Check out the map below to explore prices, cuisine types, and more!

Click the   icon in the upper-left corner to toggle between map layers.

Please note that the data reflected above is for 84 restaurants captured by 12th April 2018.  As many locations were still uploading their menus in the days leading up to Restaurant Week, we were not able to include all of them.


A few notes on deal rankings:

Negligible = Discount of $5 or less.

Good = Discount between $5 and $10.

Great = Discount between $10 and $20.

Best = Discount greater than $20.

Cuisine Type was pulled directly from Restaurant Week submissions, i.e., categories submitted by the restaurants themselves.

Discounts were calculated based on average prices of equivalent items taken from standard menus and in their absence, based on clarification from restaurants themselves or estimated local market value.

Be advised that many but not all restaurants serve smaller portions than usual during Restaurant Week.  This was factored into calculations to the best of our ability.

Happy searching and bon appétit!

Mobile Safety Net Team Resource Hub Coordinator Opening


Community Resource Hubs bridge the gap between residents and the services they need – right in their community!  Four of MSNT’s community coalition’s operate Hubs and are seeking to fill the position of “Resource Hub Coordinator.”  This full time, 6 month (June-December 2018) AmeriCorps position (w/potential for extension) will be with the MSNT and work closely with all 4 Hub coalitions. Ambitious applicants can apply at Contact Natalie Cook for a full position description and with any questions at or (716) 830-5636.

In Conversation With Clients: Autism Services, Inc.


In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, CCNY spoke to Autism Services, Inc. to shed some light on our full spectrum of services.  Thanks to Dawn Van de Wal for chatting with us!

1.  How did you first come to work with CCNY?

Our organization participated in the first cohort of GetSET and we received funding to use as we felt necessary in relation to the initiative.  We hired CCNY to assist us with understanding and developing data tracking tools.

2.  What does QI mean to you?

Quality Improvement, to me, is looking at a current state and analyzing it to see how it can be made better.  Through it we can identify trends, both good and bad, and make adjustments to ensure we are providing the best possible services while being able to prove it.

3.  What were your goals going into this QI project?

We had tremendous amounts of data but were not doing anything with it.  We wanted a way to identify trends in a variety of areas but did not know where to start.

4.  How does your role fit into the grander scheme of QI at Autism Services?

In my position as COO, I am a support to the QI Department.  I work with them to develop the various tools they use, whether simply reporting on incident trends all the way to developing effective observation and audit tools.  We work together to developing reporting mechanisms that are shared with the teams so changes that need to be made can be clearly identified.

5.  What does ASI do and how did Christa‘s recommendations help improve those services?

We provide a wide range of services to people with autism spectrum disorders.  Working with Christa and the CCNY team gave us a different perspective in how we looked at the information we were collecting and how we were reporting out on it.  We learned how to create data tracking tools in excel and create reports that have benefited both agency staff and our board members in better understanding the issues we face.  We completely revamped our quarterly QI meetings by developing goals for each program and quality outcome measures along with correction plans when needed.  We have many more systems in place to ensure quality in both our services and administrative areas.

6.  Where did ASI start, how far have you come, and where do you hope to be in five years?  Do you feel confident that CCNY’s assistance has given you the tools to forge on ahead on your own?

Three years ago when I started we had a few tracking and reporting tools but they were not providing information that was valuable or helpful to the stakeholders.  Now, just about every department utilizes tools that we learned how to make from CCNY and people have a better understanding of what is coming out in each report.  We will continue to look for areas that need improvement and develop functional tools for data collection and reporting. CCNY’s assistance and instruction was invaluable in this regard.  CCNY did not develop the tools for us, they taught us how to think about the data we have and showed us how to create the tools so we can transfer the skills to other areas.

7.  Do you feel QI is something all healthcare organizations should strive for?

Yes, absolutely.

8.  What would you recommend to a healthcare professional considering third-party evaluation/ QI before diving in, whether in terms of preparation, setting expectations, or infrastructural requirements?

I would offer that the tasks of developing data collection and reporting tools should not be added to an already busy staff’s duties.  I was brought on, at first, to specifically address this and having it be my main responsibility allowed me the time needed to create effective tools.  Over time, my role has changed, but in the beginning, it was helpful that I was dedicated just to these tasks.  It allowed me to fully understand the process, analyze each department separately, and take my time developing the tools needed.  Now that we have many tools in place, it is easier for this to be just a part of my job as the process does not take as long and I’ve learned along the way how to instruct staff as well to own some of the process so it does not all fall on me.

Get To Know CCNY’s Caitlin Biddle


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy cooking and spending time with friends, my dogs, and family.  I also play a variety of sports including: softball, hockey, dodgeball, volleyball, and football.  If I have time I like to play video games as well.

What inspires you?

Answering questions and solving problems, especially problems that affect the community.

Why are you in non-profit work?  What emotional reasons?

I like working for a mission that I believe in and that benefits other people, as well as having a positive impact on yourself.  I think that is more prevalent in non-profit work.

Who is a hero of yours?

My parents.  They complement each other nicely, which encouraged me to be well-rounded.

What’s something quirky about you?

I enjoy fantasy football and have won 2 championships (out of 4)!  I beat my brother the first year in the championship and my husband this most recent time.

What’s in your coffee?

Nothing.  I don’t drink coffee or consume any caffeine.

I will never be seen without…

My dogs, unless there are rules against it.

Why is CCNY’s mission important to you?

It’s important to me to help others and using valid and reliable data to solve problems that matter.

Continuous QI Course Registration Deadline Approaching!


Is your program and practice achieving consistent and tangible goals?  Do you find yourself treading water as opposed to focusing on your organization’s primary mission?

As a result of the increasing shift to prove the value of programs to funders and clients alike, establishing an internal quality improvement (QI) process for assessing and improving upon valued outcomes is imperative.  CCNY offers a 26-hour certificate program that provides a framework for understanding QI, tools needed to create and implement a QI plan, and builds skills to assess results and make determinations as to how to improve upon program processes and outcomes.

Our dedicated instructors offer personalized projects and ongoing feedback so you can adapt class material to your organization’s individual needs in real-time.  Our focus is immediate real-world applicability; we assess your current situation and guide you through the entire QI process to give you a truly tailored learning experience.  In fact, past students have found our classes so helpful, we have had numerous repeat enrollments from the same agencies.  Plus, the classes are spread out across four sessions (once a month, starting Friday, 13th April 2018), making it easier to fit into your team’s busy schedules.

Our early bird discount deadline ends in just one week (28th March 2018), so register today to avoid disappointment!  Click here to read the UB School of Social Work brochure for more details.

Spring Awakening Arounja


It may not feel like spring yet with all this residual cold and snow but today we usher in a new era for community resource-sharing!

Our Android app is now finally available for download in the Google Play Store.  Apple-compatible app coming soon.  If you’re not on a mobile device, you may also access the free desktop version of Arounja here.

Interested in going Pro?  If you live and/ or work in Erie County, e-mail us to request a free license.

St. Patrick’s Day South Buffalo Beer Data – A Rousing Tale Of Bad Evaluation Methods


When wearing the green in South Buffalo, you’ll probably need to get a drink at a good bar. CCNY is here to the rescue with quality data about the best beers at three South Buffalo bars.

Methods (in this case, how not to do an evaluation)

We picked three bars based on them being in South Buffalo and close to our offices – also known as convenience sampling. We chose Blackthorn Restaurant and Pub, Doc Sullivan’s, and Gene McCarthy’s. After an exhaustive google search, we copied an evaluation instrument that reviewed a beer based on appearance, smell, taste, and its overall enjoyment. Although Todd makes a great cased for his methods, we have no idea if this is a good standard. The data visual uses icons for three of the dimensions reviewed. This is good data viz practice.

We picked people based on their availability to do this, not on their ability to rate beer. We trained them while they were rating it. Inter-rater reliability was shot to pieces. To sum up, we had a great time gathering data for pretty pictures, but sadly, we can’t submit this to a research journal. Someday, someday we will get a research grant for this.


Doc Sullivan’s did not have a lager on tap. Gene McCarthy’s lager was consistently better.


Gene McCarthy’s edged out the Doc Sullivan’s red offering. Very close this one.


Of course, we care about the Stouts and kept them for last. Doc Sullivan’s stout was so good. We recommend it.