New York University’s Larry Aber, professor of Applied Psychology and Public Policy in the Steinhardt School, has been appointed by New York City’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to the new Commission for Economic Opportunity, a 32-member initiative to help reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in New York City.

Mayor Bloomberg created the Commission to follow-up on his promise to “reduce the number of children and adults who live in poverty in New York over the next four years,” as stated in the State of the City Address on January 26th. According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, the Commission will set out to “look at the most effective way to harness already existing City services and couple them with new economic development initiatives to give more New Yorkers the chance to rise out of poverty.”

Aber is in the company of a diverse group of New York civic leaders including Merryl Tisch, co-chair of the New York State Board of Regents’ Committee on Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education; Dr. Alan B. Siskind, Chair of the Board of the Human Services Council; William A. Goodloe, president and CEO of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity; and Dr. Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. The commission will be co-chaired by Richard D. Parsons, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc., and Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone.

“We are extremely proud that Professor Aber was selected for this significant project,” said Steinhardt Dean Mary Brabeck. “One of the City’s most important charges is to create increased opportunity for disadvantaged populations, including the most vulnerable group - its youth. Professor Aber is a wonderful choice for this work as he has studied children and poverty for more than 20 years.”

From 1994 to 2003, Aber served as director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University. His current research focuses on how social policies toward low-income families affect family income dynamics, parenting processes and children’s health and development. He also studies school-based strategies to enhance the social-emotional and cognitive-academic learning of low-income children.

Aber recently collaborated with Steinhardt Professors Richard Arum and Amy Schwartz for a report on New York City school reform for the Partnership for New York City, an organization comprised of corporate leaders aimed at improving the state of economic development in New York City.

Other members on the Commission for Economic Opportunity are: Diane Baillargeon, president and CEO, Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation (SEEDCO); Dr. Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, CEO, Safe Space; Stanley Brezenoff, president and CEO, Continuum Health Partners; David Chen, executive director of the Chinese-American Planning Council Inc. (CPC); Florence David, CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Michael Fishman, president, Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ; Dr. Floyd H. Flake, former U.S. Representative and Senior Pastor of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church; Dr. Ester R. Fuchs, professor of public affairs and political science, Columbia University; Fatima Goldman, CEO, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Colvin Grannum, president, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation; Paloma Hernandez, CEO and president, Urban Health Plan, Inc.; David R. Jones, president and CEO, Community Service Society of New York; Carter McClelland, chairman of the board and chief volunteer officer at the United Way of New York City; Ronay Menschel, chairman of the board, Phipps Houses; Gail B. Nayowith, executive director of the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc.; William C. Rudin, chairman, Association for a Better New York, president, Rudin Management Company; David Saltzman, executive director, Robin Hood Foundation; John A. Sanchez, executive director, East Side House Settlement; Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Ph.D., executive director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York; Mindy Tarlow, executive director, Center for Employment Opportunities; Maria Torres, co-founder, the Point Community Development Corporation; Jeremy Travis, president, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Reverend Terry Troia, executive director, Project Hospitality; and Nancy Wackstein, executive director, United Neighborhood Houses.

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