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Celebrating Women’s History Month: The Grace Institute

Image Credit: Nicole De Khors, Burst

by John-Mark de Palma

In our final Women’s History Month installment, we celebrate the contributions of one of the oldest and remaining no-cost educational institution dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of women in the workplace – the Grace Institute, an affilate of Catholic Charities of New York. William Grace, was the first Irish American Catholic Mayor of New York City and was a renowned philanthropist. He and his brother Michael founded the Institute in 1897 with the goal of creating a tuition-free school to educate and support the entry of women into the workforce, especially poor immigrants.

The Sisters of Charity originally ran the school offering cookery, millinery, child care, children’s sewing, and dressmaking. The institute even offered working women evening classes to improve their skills. Over the years, the school transformed into a secretarial school preparing women for the business world. The school expanded to offer business classes including typing, bookkeeping, stenography, and business law. More recently, the Grace Institute provides free training in legal, healthcare, nonprofit business, the hospitality industry, and patient services.

300 unemployed or underemployed women will receive free skills-based classes, placement services, and job retention support this year alone. The Grace Institute is one of only three workforce development programs in New York City focused solely on women, and is unique in its commitment of training for administrative jobs that provide opportunities for advancement.


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