In 1897, W.R. Grace, an immigrant, shipping magnate, and twice-elected Mayor of New York City, founded Grace Institute as a tuition-free training program for women. His goals were to educate and to find employment for women in need. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, over 100,000 women have learned skills 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, childrens sewing, and dressmaking as course offerings. By the turn of the century, Grace Institute was offering a schedule of business classes in typing, bookkeeping, and stenography to help women secure jobs in New York Citys rapidly growing business community. This training qualified women for the better-paying positions in offices that were a welcome alternative to factory work.”
20th Century: Over the years, Grace Institute evolved 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 the early 1960s, part of Fordham University was to be located in the new Lincoln Center complex which required Grace Institute to move from its west-side location. In 1963, J. Peter Grace, grandson of W. R. Grace and President of Grace Institute, constructed a new building for the school on Second Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Along with secretarial skills, new courses were offered in fashion merchandising, food and nutrition, and clothing construction.
As women’s roles in the workplace continued to change over the decades, Grace Institute continued to adapt is program to meet their needs. The Sisters of Charity were no longer able to run the organization; therefore, professional staff members were hired and Grace continued to become more demand driven and attune to the needs of the labor market and their employer partners.
Grace continued to serve as a market leader in workforce development and launched new administrative and customer support trainings to serve the legal, healthcare, nonprofit and hospitality industries.
In 2015, Grace said farewell to its home on 2nd Avenue and moved its headquarters to a new facility at 40 Rector Street.
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 high touch approach combines the following:
- Offer an Administrative Profession Program & a sector focused Patient Service Representative Program
- Computer and professional training
- Workshops with corporations and executives
- 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