Founder’s Story


“I want every single mother to reach her full potential as a woman, a mother and a leader. I will be there with her as she begins the process of self-esteem, skill development, and proactive planning as she builds a life for herself, her children and her community.” – Tracey Weaver, uu Founder & Executive Director  

Tracey Weaver has suffered more than her share of hardships in life. As a teen, she struggled with domestic violence and economic hardships. After leaving an abusive marriage, she became a single mother of two children. Her life struggles fueled her passion for helping impoverished individuals transform their lives.

Tracey spent a decade in the corporate sector in the operations and human resource division of a health service delivery corporation. After her corporate experience, Tracey became an Employment Specialist for the homeless at Episcopal Community Services. She helped homeless men and women look for work and taught them life skills with a focus on helping them keep their jobs while coping with homelessness. Recognizing her talent, Goodwill Industries of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, hired her to design and deliver life-skills to its program participants.

During this time, Tracey began envisioning a community “learning center” that would apply special training strategies to meet the unique needs of individuals with employment barriers. In 1998, with the help of the Bar Association of San Francisco, she started urban university (uu) to improve the socioeconomic status of impoverished individuals. uu’s first project, the Legal Employment Action Program (LEAP), helped more than 125 women transition from welfare to work.

LEAP Graduation
LEAP Graduation

From 1998 – 2009, uu became the soft skills training and wrap-around service provider of award winning local workforce development initiatives in collaboration with non-profit organizations, intermediaries, community colleges and employers to include the SFWORKS Biotechnology Training Program, PG&E Veterans Employment Assistance Program, the Oakland Green Jobs, Clean Energy and Reentry Programs and the EBMUD WaterWays Training Program. Over its sixteen year history, uu has helped more than 1600 individuals obtain gainful employment.

Today, uu operates two social enterprises, which serve as a platform for the Single Moms at Work program, uu’s transitional employment and education program for impoverished single moms who are ready to make a permanent life change. Tracey is committed to using her life experience to help single moms overcome their challenges.

Educate. Employ. Empower.