With the nation slowly reopening and high hopes for a robust job market, applicants wanting to return to the workforce—particularly those with limited financial resources—start thinking of ways to look their best for interviews. With that in mind, in April vCom decided it was time to take advantage of our Spring-cleaning efforts and give back to the local community. With all the donations going to Wardrobe for Opportunity, we asked our employees to go through their closets to select gently used professional attire, accessories, and shoes that they would wear to an interview or first day on the job. We were amazed at the amount of clothing we received.
Wardrobe for Opportunity is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the community to assist low-income individuals in their efforts to “Find a Job, Keep a Job, and Build a Career.” The organization is tackling two major community challenges simultaneously: poverty alleviation and waste reduction. Wardrobe for Opportunity is a unique place for individuals who need help achieving their goals: the office space located in downtown Oakland in the heart of an area rife with both poverty and opportunity. On one side of the street, a man begs for his dinner, while on the other, a woman in a 30-story office building negotiates the trade of millions of dollars. Wardrobe for Opportunity helps bridge this gap and gives everyone a chance to look their best and feel their most confident as they enter the workforce.
As part of our Holiday 2020 giveback, vCom made a donation to Wardrobe for Opportunity, and we recognized there was a chance to do more. Over the last year in particular, many of us have realized we have more than we need and are happy to share our good fortune. Thus, we rallied our local team to see how many donations we could receive. After a full month of collecting suits, dresses, shirts, shoes, ties, and belts, we were able to fill two full clothing racks to donate to Wardrobe for Opportunity. Our team efforts were shared with families and business networks to bring in more contributions.
Wardrobe for Opportunity is a true success story; since 1995 it has helped more than 30,000 low-income Bay Area residents “in their journey to secure employment and build sustainable careers.” They’ve found that “within 45 days of their initial interview appointment, 65% of clients secured an interview and 53% secured employment.” With programs developed to help the unemployed, underemployed, and those with jobs “navigate, accelerate, and catapult” their careers, Wardrobe for Opportunity does more than supply appropriate clothing. Mock interviews, professional development workshops, financial literacy classes, and more help clients meet the challenges of the job market.
It is remarkable what can happen when you work together with you local community. Even though Spring is coming to a close, Wardrobe for Opportunity’s mission remains strong, and there is still time to donate or share their message. You never know what folks have that others could benefit from: one man’s business suit, is the key to another man’s success.