Member Spotlight

Urban Resource Institute

NYCETC has launched a Member Spotlight series in the NYC Workforce Weekly to introduce our readers to the wide variety of workforce programs and services that our members offer across the five boroughs. We are kicking this off by highlighting new members that have joined the Coalition in the last year. This week we focus on Urban Resource Institute.

The Urban Resource Institute (URI) provides quality, compassionate, and innovative client centered services to survivors of domestic violence (DV) and other underserved communities so that they may lead the safest and fullest lives possible. For 22 years, URI has provided workforce development services, which has included training and internal internships.

Building upon this foundation, URI launched a new Economic Empowerment Center last year to provide expanded economic empowerment services to its shelter residents. Services begin with a comprehensive assessment of DV survivors and their family member’s education, training, and employment history. This is followed by the design and implementation of a comprehensive service plan that includes access to job training, internships, job placements, and coaching. Based on a client’s intake and assessment outcomes of skills and job readiness, URI offers individualized tracks: either direct job placement with management and clinical support; or a 14 week training program, which includes 6 weeks of workshops (ex. financial management, resume writing, conflict resolution in the workplace, job search, and time management), and 8 weeks of internship or sector specific training offered by its partners, such as Per Scholas and the West Harlem Skills Training Center. Starting this year, URI will be doing this program in English and in Spanish. Clients with multiple barriers to employment – such as low literacy, numeracy and/or English language skills, or the need for clinical support to assist with their healing process – URI connects them to the appropriate program internally or with outside partners before connecting to one of its two tracks.

In the last year, URI’s new Economic Empowerment Center has served over 80 clients within its variety of programming. Once fully operational, it will serve up to 200 clients a year. Though the program currently only serves survivors of domestic violence, URI plans to expand its services to homeless families this year. Through this expanded model, the organization will provide residents in its shelter system access to a continuum of care, which includes trauma-informed support to ensure their readiness and success in URI’s workshops, internships, and employment placements.

“Serving underutilized populations with training and employment opportunities, which includes individuals and families who have experienced DV or are experiencing homelessness, is what motivates my work,” said Joel Gregory Thomas, Senior Director of Economic Empowerment at URI. “To personally see a transformation take place grows my desire and passion to create employment opportunities that are sustainable and impactful.”

Learn more about URI’s programs and impact by watching a video about one of their clients Madison and her journey through the program. For more information and to connect with URI, contact Joel Gregory Thomas at