On March 13th, 5 days after Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo issued a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus, the Grace Institute, an Agency of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, closed its doors. But as many of us are learning now, closed offices do not equate to an inability to help.
Grace Institute helps women develop the professional skills needed to become administrative and customer service professionals. This involves classroom hours, which were suspended on March 13th, but not before the last two plannedweeks of the curriculum were condensed and final exams administered so that 96 women could graduate from the Administrative Professional, and the Patient Service Representative courses.
To maintain its ongoing support of those and other participants, Grace Institute instructors set up live, online classes and remote academic support. For those students who do not have computers, instructors are providing daily one-on-one phone support upon request. Through these efforts, the different steps required to transition to the workforce continue, and even though the labor landscape in America has changed so suddenly, Grace is exploring new remote learning platforms so they can refresh recent graduates to the skills the job market calls for.
Grace Institute, through their Participant Engagement department, has also reached out to all of their participants to make sure they have access to referrals for social services or crisis counseling if they need it. They continue both individual and group sessions (remotely) to keep up morale and stay up to date with their participants during this troubling time.
Finally, Grace Institute’s Employment Services acted quickly to ramp up employer relations with healthcare providers so that it’s participants could be placed in those current, high-demand positions.
Very few things in our city are operating ‘as normal’ and who knows how long this new state of living will continue. But the Grace Institute has adjusted so that it can continue to provide the services and support it has become so well known for.
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