An organization helping women find work celebrates its one year anniversary this month. Dress for Success has helped more than 100 disadvantaged women suit up for first interviews. Now, they're giving the job seekers more than just clothes.
Susan Jellinger says, "I was laid off in September. The job market is tight."
Jellinger says she wanted to make a good first impression, as she searched for a new job. An agency referred her to Dress for Success, an organization providing disadvantaged women professional attire for interviews. The group suited up 137 women in its first year.
Jellinger says, about the experience, “I felt very pampered and were so positive. You know, I was kind of depressed with having lost my job."
Jellinger says her new outfit helped her find a new job, but it was only part-time. Now, the underemployed worker is still searching. She says, "I know I have good skills. I know I can get out in the workforce, but, it's competitive out there."
Last month, Dress for Success grew, launching a new program to give women even more resources to find work." Dress for Success Organizer Jody White says, "Going Places Network is a program geared toward women who are out there interviewing, but are for some reason not finding jobs. Maybe they need to brush up on their interviewing skills, their resume building."
The Going Places Network class meets for a couple hours twice a week for six weeks. Six women are taking part in the first session. The group plans to offer two more classes by the end of the year, in addition to dressing more women for success. White says, "We can see a transformation in these women. They might be a little shy when they come in and they might unravel a little bit about themselves, but it's great when they leave. They have a smile on their face and they're ready to conquer the world."
Last month, Dress for Success Des Moines won a “Rookie of the Year” award from the national organization.
The group is looking for more spring and summer professional attire. You can find more information about donating or volunteering at www.dressforsuccess.org.