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One Family’s Legacy Prepares More than 100,000 Women for Careers in NYC Corporation
Grace Institute to Celebrate 115 Years of Service during Graduation Ceremony at Cooper Union
New York, NY (March 8, 2012) – Local nonprofit Grace Institute will take over Cooper Union’s The Great Hall on Tuesday March 13th at 6 p.m. as they pay homage to their latest class of graduates. With the topic of jobs, jobs, jobs on everyone’s mind, this graduating class of 143 women has spent 6 months preparing for jobs in leading corporations as part of Grace Institute’s tuition-free job training program.
The program was started in 1897 by twice-Mayor William R. Grace to assist immigrant women gain the skills they needed to become employable in their new land. Since that time the program has provided training to more than 100,000 women in New York City.
Grace Institute has longstanding relationships with some of New York’s most prominent employer-partners, such as Gordon & Reindel LLP, Ogilvy, Morrison & Foerster, Bank Leumi, Continuum Health Partners, New York Life Insurance Company and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
While the Grace curriculum is challenging and requires a strong commitment from the students, the reward outweighs the sacrifice. On average, the annual income of women upon entering Grace’s program is $6,000. More than 80% of the graduates are placed in positions with starting salaries of $32,000 plus benefits, a transformational improvement.
“I will forever hold a special place in my heart for the program. Many of the skills I learned almost 30 years ago are still relevant today,” said Santa Melazzo, Human Resources Manager at Ropes & Gray LLP. Ms. Melazzo is a 1970 Grace Institute alumna and this year’s graduation keynote speaker.
According to the Bureau of Labor Department, employment of office support staff is expected to grow by 12 percent between 2008 and 2018 – making the programs at Grace even more relevant. Grace continues to restructure its curriculum to include specialized training to meet the demands of growing sectors such as healthcare and legal.
“Our students come from all walks of life but all have a common goal -- to improve their lives. My family is truly honored to continue the tradition of my great-grandfather, and looks forward to helping women in need for many years to come,” stated Chairman of the Board and great-grandson of William R. Grace, Patrick Grace. “We are very excited to host the graduation at Cooper Union. The history of Peter Cooper shares parallels with my great-grandfather, William R. Grace. Both men were committed to educating the underserved, with the promise of a better tomorrow.”
For more information about Grace Institute and its programs visit www.GraceInstitute.org or call 212-832-7605.
About Grace Institute
Founded in 1897 by William R. Grace, twice-mayor of New York City, Grace Institute began as a school to help New York women, especially immigrants, find employment. For nearly 115 years, Grace Institute has provided tuition-free, practical job training in a supportive learning community for underserved New York area women of all ages and from many different backgrounds. In the tradition of its founding family, Grace is dedicated to the development of the personal and business skills necessary for self-sufficiency, employability and an improved quality of life.
Media Contact: Jessica Epperly
The Wakeman Agency