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About W.C.E.C.A.

The Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement (WCECA) was established in 1970 as a project of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. to meet the challenge of providing marketable skills to women of color who held marginal and tenuous places in the paid labor force.

For over four decades the Women's Center has upheld its commitment to improve the economic self-sufficiency of women, especially the underserved and underrepresented. To work toward the goal of economic self-sufficiency for all NYC women, the Women's Center has conducted successful Career Services programs for 40,000 low-income and unemployed New York City women.

The Women's Center was one of the first NYC nonprofits to design and deliver holistic and comprehensive job readiness programs that addressed both women's professional and personal lives. Throughout its four decades, the Women's Center has earned national recognition for many notable and innovative achievements including the following:

In 2000, in support of the New York City nonprofit community and the constituents it serves, the Women's Center expanded its programming and developed the Self- Sufficiency Project, which resulted in the creation of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York City and the New York City Self-Sufficiency Calculator. The Self- Sufficiency Project provides capacity-building tools and technical support to community-based organizations, human services agencies, advocates, philanthropic and government agencies, and other non-profits working together to address poverty issues in New York City and to improve the lives of thousands of working poor people.

The Standard calculates the cost of living and working in New York City based on the borough in which a family lives, the number of people in the family, and the ages of the children. Since its introduction, NYC policy makers, workforce development professionals, philanthropic organizations, and government and social service agencies among others, have utilized the Standard to expand the dialog and set more realistic goals for moving families out of poverty toward economic security.

Based on Standard data, the Self-Sufficiency Calculator, an online, counselor- assisted tool, screens client families and connects low-wage workers to valuable benefits, work supports and tax credits that can lift income and reduce expenses.

The Calculator provides technical support to organizations, institutions, and other advocates working to eradicate poverty in New York City. Each year, it is accessed by more than 1,000 counselors at over 300 non-profit organizations on behalf of an estimated 130,000 low-income client families generating approximately $360 million per annum in work-support income for low-income households. WCECA published the third edition of the Standard in 2010. Each edition of the Standard has been distributed to 10,000+ recipients.

*A displaced homemaker is a woman whose primary work has taken place in the home and is forced to seek paid employment as a result of domestic violence, divorce, separation, widowhood or abandonment.

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