First Step Job Training Program

A record 12,000 families sleep each night in New York City's emergency shelter system. Thousands more live doubled- or tripled-up with friends or relatives, unable to afford housing in one of the country's tightest real estate markets. The overwhelming majority of these homeless families are headed by single mothers who want to provide their children with safe and stable homes. Many lack the career skills necessary to find and maintain living wage employment. Others suffer from low-self esteem and self-worth, usually caused by years of domestic abuse. That's why the Coalition's First Step Job Training Program is so vital. By empowering homeless women to reach self-sufficiency through hands on job training, internships, mentoring, job placement and social service support, First Step benefits every member of the family.

First Step's innovative 14-week curriculum includes over 75 hours of computer instruction, along with literacy workshops, communication and interpersonal skills development, and other hands-on activities that give students a thorough and practical understanding of the job market and workplace. First Step also places students in internships with major corporations or non-profit organizations, and offers mentoring by experienced professional women. We also provide a lifetime of post-graduate services, including job placement assistance, ongoing mentoring from staff and volunteers, support groups, additional training seminars, and numerous networking opportunities with alumni and business professionals.

Each year First Step helps hundreds of women achieve a newfound sense of self-esteem and direction. The program has proven to be highly effective. Last year, of those enrolled, approximately two-thirds graduated, successfully completing both the classroom and internship portions of the program, of which 75 percent secured full-time employment.

Watch the 2014 First Step video featuring graduate, Lakisha Smith here.

For more information on First Step Job Readiness and Training Program, please contact Liz Henderson at or call 212-776-2074.


Corporations, law firms, and nonprofit organizations have hosted Corporate Days, supervised interns and graduates, and provided job coaching workshops. The Coalition is currently looking for volunteer Job Coaches and Mentors, Internship Supervisors and Job Search Counselors. See our Career Opportunies page for details on these positions. To learn more about how you or your company can get involved, please see our informational flyer or contact  

Click here for a list of our sponsors and internship sites.



Anyone can become homeless. Just ask Judith Anne. She had a successful job with substantial money in the bank. That is, until her devastating diagnosis of leukemia. Unfortunately, she had no insurance and the cost of treatment took away her entire savings. With no money or job, she was homeless until a compassionate woman rented her a room on a "pay me when you can" basis. After an unsuccessful job search, Judith Anne received security guard training. She patrolled dangerous construction sites in the middle of the night for $5.56 an hour -- a salary that would never be enough to afford a home in New York.

It was right around this time that the First Step Job Training Program stepped in. She graduated from the program and was hired full time by Columbia University, where she had her internship. Today, Judith Anne lives in the Bronx and looks toward the future with hope. Every day, she thanks First Step for turning her life around.