Most workers know that for them to be able to perform well in the workplace, they must look good and feel confident about themselves. This is why a new program in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood is helping unemployed or underemployed gentlemen in the area secure jobs by helping them dress suitably for interviews.
According to ABC 7, the program called Gentlemen’s Closet was created by Elijah Henry and Pastor Terrence Miller, who are aiming to improve the lives of the people in their community. Henry knows what it’s like to experience homelessness, and his experience sparked the beginnings of the dress for success project.
“I was homeless myself for quite a while, maybe for about two years or so,” said Henry. “I know the struggle and the struggle is like real out there. Guys just having some clothes can make them feel back human again sometime.”
It was reported that Henry brought the idea to Miller, and the two worked on converting part of the pastor’s home into a place to help others. Miller said that they feel that if a person dresses nicely, then he is going to feel good about himself, and that increases the chance of that person getting hired for the job.
“We have been able to receive 300 suits from mostly ministries on the South Side in the Woodlawn area,” said Miller.
According to the Gentleman’s Closet website, they accept new or gently used clothing such as suits, sports coats, dress shirts, dress pants, belts, ties, bow ties, suspenders, coats, jackets, socks, underwear, tie clips, collar bars, and cuff links. They also welcome donations of toiletry items to help gentlemen look and feel their best.
In addition to helping men to be appropriately dressed for interviews, the project also conducts mock interviews and offers connection workforce development programs. This year, Miller and Henry are hoping to take the program a step further as they are hoping to supply recipients with a 7-day bus pass to get them started. They are also hoping to find a new location as they have outgrown their space due to the ever-growing amount of clothes that have been donated to the cause.
For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on the homeless man who landed a job after receiving a donated suit.