COVID-19 has widened the demographic of women who are taking advantage of career assistance, according to a popular Dallas nonprofit. “We do service low-income women who are on public assistance, but there are also some women who lost their job due to the pandemic,” said Karen Johnson, executive director of Dress for Success Dallas.
Once a jobless client is referred to Dress for Success through the Salvation Army or Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas, they are sent to Dress for Success at 5580 Peterson Lane.
“We have a young lady coming in who was hired for a job but doesn’t have any clothes to wear professionally so, we’re going to get her suited today,” Johnson told Dallas Express. It costs Dress for Success about $2,500 to prepare a woman for the labor force with free business clothing, and assistance with job interviewing skills and resume writing.
“My career consultants will spend time reviewing your resume for the first hour of your appointment,” Johnson said in an interview. “We may have to edit or update your resume or write your resume from scratch. Then, we work on your interviewing skills so that you’re prepared. During the second hour, our image consultants will dress you from head to toe. Our clients walk out with two full suits, two blouses, a pair of shoes and a purse.”
Most recently, Dress for Success joined forces with Kendra Scott, an American fashion jewelry designer with stores in the Dallas Fort Worth area located at the Preston Center Plaza in Plano, and on McKinney Avenue in Dallas. “Kendra Scott is one of our amazing major corporate sponsors who goes all out,” Johnson said. On Aug. 17, Scott donated 20% of all store transactions to Dress for Success.
“The Kendra Scott event was about reaching out to those who already have a job and are able to give back as well as those that just love a nice pair of earrings and knowing that by making that purchase, it contributed to Dress for Success, which allows us to continue our mission,” Johnson said. The August Dress for Success event took place at the Preston Center Plaza location.
“There definitely will be future partnerships and we’re looking forward to that,” Johnson said. “Fundraisers allow us to continue to serve that woman of Dallas Fort Worth who unfortunately is looking for a job or lost her job, and to help her become economically independent.” Most recently, the Dress for Success Virtual Power Walk on Aug. 28 raised $14,000.
The organization also hosts Professional Women’s Groups on a monthly basis catering to women who are employed. “Once we get you back into the workforce, then we move you onto our professional women’s track where we bring in executives from major corporations and women who have their own business and they give career tips,” Johnson added.