Looking good and feeling good
When you look good, you feel good. That’s the idea behind Franklin-Vance-Warren Opportunity’s latest project, the Women’s Economic Equity boutique.
Soon, access to a boutique filled with professional apparel will be available for women completing formal career coaching through F-V-W Opportunity, a Human Resource Development course through Vance-Granville Community College, or the Steps to Self Sufficiency Course through the Vance County Department of Social Services.
In an effort to ensure those completing employability training feel they’re dressed for success when turned loose to the working world, the WEE boutique project has been collecting professional attire, including shoes and accessories suitable for job interviews, since last November.
Currently the boutique still has a need for items to furnish the display area, including clothing racks, mirrors, rugs, waiting room furniture, changing screens and display cases.
“The infrastructure for the WEE boutique is so critical at this time to make the dream become a reality,” said Kyle Burwell, coordinator of Human Resource Development at VGCC. “We want to help as many clients and students as possible.”
For the past five years, F-V-W Opportunity has partnered with VGCC’s Human Resource Development department, providing pre-vocational and pre-employment skills training programs, to help women become more self-sufficient.
The WEE program, which also provides career coaching and educational assistance, has served over 250 women in its six years of existence. It works to help women establish careers in health care and medicine by providing assistance that can range from tuition fees, books, uniforms and equipment.
As women exit these programs that ready them for a job, many are set with the skills they need to obtain employment, but lack the attire.
“Many of the women spend a lot of time in school, so a lot of them don’t have jobs and income to go out and get that attire,” said Stephanie Bledsoe, case manager at F-V-W Opportunity. “Even after they start work, they’re going to take on other obligations initially, so they can come back the first couple of weeks.
“We just want to make sure they have a good start.”
Working jointly on the project has been Vance County DSS, which provides a three-week Steps to Self Sufficiency employability course.
“Since our purpose is the same, and our need is the same, that’s kind of how we fit into the partnership,” said Sherri Alston, work first social worker at DSS. “We teach people how to find and keep a job. We service the same kind of clients and they need proper interview attire.”
Seeing clients that have been unemployed, underemployed or dislocated from work, who have chosen to complete job training have access to the proper work will be an endearing moment for the employees of F-V-W Opportunity, Vance County DSS, and VGCC’s Human Resource Development department, who work tirelessly to ensure their career readiness.
“You may have outfitted them with all the skills, but you want them to feel they look the part,” Burwell said. “We want them to make sure they feel like they have a chance of getting the job.
“They need that armor.”
Donations to the WEE boutique can be made at 155 W. Andrews Avenue in Henderson.
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