National retail store working with organization to prepare women for the workforce

JCPenney stores working with Dress for Success

BAKERSFIELD -  

JCPenney stores nationwide are helping women prepare for new careers.  During the month of February it’s inviting customers to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar, donating the difference to the organization ‘Dress for Success.’

The program allows job applicants to have more of a competitive edge. 

Norma Dunn is looking through the many business outfits being donated by people around the community.

"What they are going to find here is going to be an atmosphere where they are welcomed and have that relationship with them, one on one," said Dunn.

‘Dress for success,’ is a national group with a boutique in Bakersfield.  It helps women have the proper footwear and appropriate suits to tackle any job interview.

"It's so important that women have that right interview outfit because 55 percent of that first impression is your outer appearance," she said.

The local store front includes a career center where women can search for jobs using the internet on one of the organization's computers.

"If they want to break out of the cycle of unemployment and be able to fend for themselves and be part of a society and take care of their children and their family, the clothing and the getting the job is the first part," said Elaine McNearney, found of Dress for Success Bakersfield.

On a national level, the organization works with more than 65,000 women.  Leaders say they are normally referred to the store by social service agencies.

"We really help women feel a little more like they are in a level playing field with other people going for the job," she said.

Once a client is offered a job, group leaders say the women can return for a week's worth of wardrobe free of charge.

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