In 1897, William R. Grace, an immigrant, shipping magnate, and two-time Mayor of New York City, founded Grace Institute, along with his brother, Michael, and philanthropist, Grace Dodge. Their goal was to create a tuition-free program to educate and support women in need –especially immigrant women. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, over 100,000 women at Grace Institute have learned skills needed to successfully enter the workforce.The Early Years: Grace Institute was originally staffed by the Sisters of Charity. The curriculum guide in 1898 listed cookery, millinery, child care, Red Cross, children’s sewing, and dressmaking as course offerings, which correlated with the typical jobs available to women at that time By the turn of the century, as the work available to women began to change, so did our class offerings. Grace Institute began offering classes in typing, bookkeeping, and stenography to help women secure jobs in New York City’s rapidly growing professional sector. This training qualified women for the better-paying positions in offices that were a welcome alternative to factory work.
Throughout the early 1900s Grace Institute continued to evolve into a secretarial training program that prepared women for careers in the business world. This included instruction in shorthand, telephone technique, secretarial procedures, and business law. In 1963 Grace Institute to move from its Lincoln Center location to a new building on Second Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Along with secretarial skills, new courses were again created to adapt to new career options for women, these included fashion merchandising, food and nutrition, and clothing construction.
In the late 1990s the Sisters of Charity, few in number, were no longer able to run the organization and so professional staff members were hired. With new staff and curriculum Grace Institute continued to become more demand driven and attune to the needs of the labor market and their employer partners. Grace Institute launched new administrative and customer support trainings to serve the legal, healthcare, nonprofit and hospitality industries.
In 2015, Grace Institute moved to new office training center at 40 Rector Street and created a new sector focused class for Patient Service Representatives which launched in 2016
The Grace Approach
Grace Institute is one of only three workforce development programs in NYC focused solely on women, and is unique in its commitment of training for administrative jobs that provide opportunities for advancement.
The Grace Institute’s intensive approach:
• A three month Administrative Profession Program & a two month Patient Service Representative Program
• Office Technology and professional training
• Workshops with corporations and executives
• Fostering a community of collaboration and confidence
• One year of job placement services after graduation
• One year of job retention support
• Lifetime access to post graduate workshops and community
…All free of charge.
Our Results In Life Changing Outcomes:
• 80% graduation rate
• 80% job placement rate in one year (10% points higher than comparative programs)
• 65% job retention rate for over one year (10% points higher than comparative programs)
• $32,000 annual starting salary (compared to an average of $6,000 personal income prior to the program)
• Reduced government spending on public assistance and unemployment
*Comparative data collected through the Workforce Benchmarking Project