The school was the brainchild of several prominent NYC reformers who identified a need to provide a better skill set to the city’s growing immigrant population. By today’s standards, these jobs would be called dead-end positions, but at the time, with most women leaving the work force after a couple of years to pursue a completely domestic life, these proved to be temporarily useful. The city almost immediately recognized the value of this program and incorporated it into the school system as one of four vocational schools, and the only one that admitted female students. Within a couple of years, enrollment to this free program was so great that a new facility was needed.