Domestic violence victims have their eye on tech jobs after graduating city program

A STEPS graduate, left, with her diploma.

Some are still in hiding. Others, just starting to break free from an abusive relationship.

But all are headed toward jobs and a fresh start, after graduating a city program today.

The city hosted a graduation ceremony this morning for 10 domestic violence survivors who finished a 12-week course created by the city to help them prepare for tech jobs.

The Supported Training and Employment Preparation Services, or STEPS program, started in 2011, inspired by the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Some students arrived with little to no computer knowledge. Organizers hope that, after learning computer programs and even skills like public speaking, graduates will be able to land full-time jobs to help rebuild their lives.

Many of the graduates, nine women and one man who ranged in age from 26 to 59, were struggling to step out of domestic-violence situations while completing the program.

“It’s been a tough time in my life, it still is,” one man in the program said. But he added that STEPS gave him renewed hope that people cared for him and that he could accomplish more in his life.

“Our world was spinning and turning out of control,” another graduate added about her decision to join the program. “I was looking for something to keep me busy.”

Now, she said tearfully, she felt inspired by the course and the people she had met at the Family Justice Center.

This was the first ceremony in Brooklyn — STEPS programs exist in Queens and the Bronx.


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