Low-income women seeking employment face a dilemma. They have the drive and initiative to pursue employment but do not have the economic means to acquire interview clothing or work uniforms. Dress for Success Pittsburgh’s professional clothing program answers an immediate need. We help level the playing field, removing a simple but significant barrier between the client and the workplace.
Working with over 150 organizations including job training programs, women’s shelters, homeless shelters and rehabilitation programs, clients come to our program based on referrals from places such as Bidwell Training Center, New Choices/New Options, Renewal, Inc., City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. We also provide services to the Department of Public Welfare’s PA WORKWEAR Program. Our services are offered five days a week in Allegheny and Fayette counties.
Each client is encouraged to return, once employed, for the clothing that they will need to perform their jobs – clients’ needs may range from suits to medical scrubs and from chef’s uniforms to lab coats.
As more women are moving from welfare to work, the focus has shifted to job retention. After our clients had successfully secured jobs, the challenge became evident: a one-time intervention did not provide the ongoing support that most needed to keep a job.
Approximately 46% of welfare clients lose their jobs within a year and that number climbs to 76% by the end of a year. Women drop out of employment when they find themselves unable to afford childcare, feel unqualified or are not able to communicate effectively.
Making the transition to into the workplace is not easy. Women face a myriad of new challenges, from understanding corporate culture to handling personal finances, often without any support systems in place to help them navigate this daunting change. To answer this need, Dress for Success founded the Professional Women’s Group.