30-30 Northern Blvd B100
Long Island City, NY 11101
ACE’s Computer Proficiency is a featured program in the 2019 Report.
Who is served: Recovering homeless individuals
Number of participants served annually: 147
Location: Based in Long Island City, Queens, but provides assistance throughout New York City
Frequency/Duration: Varies by participant, but can be 1 year or longer
Eligibility Criteria: Eligibility is somewhat flexible, but you must be willing and able to pursue full-time employment. Typical requirements include having housing through a shelter, treatment program, or other means, and thirty days of sobriety.
Application process: Rolling admission process with an intake session every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 am.
Curriculum: digital and computer literacy skills
Skill level: basic
Outcomes: full-time permanent employment
- Program Partners: Bottomless Closet, Career Gear, Community Service Society (CSS), Dress for Success, Educational Alliance, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), John Jay College, Kennedy Counseling and Wellness, Kibel Companies, Nazareth House, New York Public Library, Project Renewal, St. John’s Bread and Life, That Suits You, The Financial Clinic, Valley National Bank
- Education and Training Partners: Blackhawk Security School, Ferrari Driving School, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York Safety and Training, WrightCo Environmental Solutions
Sources of funding: ACE is funded through private and foundational giving. They have also developed program revenue through sanitation contracts, which hire program participants. All participants earn at least $15 minimum wage, and full-time employees are eligible for health care and 401K benefits packages.
What makes this program stand out? The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) serves homeless men and women across New York City with several initiatives including an adult education program called Project Comeback. ACE occupies a “bridge space” in that its education programs providing a blend of vocational rehabilitation and workforce development.
Project Comeback offers individuals daily classes and workshops to provide the skills and support they need to achieve economic independence. Courses range from basic literacy and numeracy to computer proficiency. “We’re serving a population that’s pretty unique,” explains Travis Tinney, Director of Development for ACE. Few clients come to ACE with a background or experience in technology.
What do participants need to succeed? Participants need to be committed to seeking full-time employment and maintaining sobriety. Recognizing the difficulties faced by homeless individuals, ACE provides intensive case management for people searching for housing and undergoing substance abuse treatment. It also structures programs around shorter timelines so that participants can more quickly move out of shelters and start working. It also serves clients for as long as necessary and maintain relationships after they have found full-time employment. While all program participants go through basic computer training, Tinney notes that lack of computer proficiency is not what’s preventing the population ACE serves from accessing economic opportunity.
What does the organization need? More funding to put more homeless individuals through the program