For many of us, when we score a job interview, the first thing we do is begin to research the company and prepare answers to potential questions. This is a luxury for some people, however, as they must first think about what they will wear.
Dress for Success is an international non-profit organization that provides workplace-appropriate clothes for women who don’t have any. “When we look the part, it makes us feel so much better,” says Minette Bryan of Jamaica’s chapter of Dress for Success. Ms. Bryan, along with colleague Nadine Chambers, presented their mission to the Canadian Women’s Club this morning in a bid for support for their fledgling organization.
Jamaica’s chapter is the first in the Caribbean and joins about 135 other countries that already provide this service. Essentially, Dress for Success outfits women who may just be entering the workforce or who may have left and need to rejoin but lack the resources to do so. In addition to suits and accessories, Dress for Success in Jamaica has started to offer workshops on topics such as life skills, as well as a Career Development Center.
The target age group is 18-60 and in 2013 alone, Dress for Success provided over 150 women with an outfit and already this year, more than 50 women have received support. “We want to empower women,” Bryan said. The Jamaican chapter was started in 2008 and is quickly gaining steam, with more than 50 volunteers engaged, who provide mentorship and advice to women who are referred by university career centers, crisis centers, vocational training facilities and the Women Foundation of Jamaica. “We prepare them for the work world,” said Nadine Chambers, who works almost full-time for Dress for Success, in addition to her full-time career.
The last career training session welcomed 31 women and five men (while Dress for Success does not officially cater to men, they will not turn them away).
Officially, their mission is to “promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing them with: professional attire; a support network and career development tools. We promote the economic empowerment of women ages 18-60 so they can thrive in their careers and in life.”
According to Dress for Success, some clients are single mothers who are raising two or three children. In addition, 80 per cent are college or university graduates who cannot afford a suit (most live under the poverty line) and range in age from 18-38.
This kind of service highlights that which many of us take for granted everyday: that we send out a resume, get a call for a job interview, do our research, put on our best suit and then find our way to the right place at the right time.
If you want to donate cash or clothing, you can call them at 876-547-4356 or find them on Facebook.