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Funding the Career Closet

  • 1.  Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-14-2019 13:46
    Hello to everyone who has undertaken the career closet in their career centers.

    We have had such a closet for several years now and it contains a mixture of donated items as well as items we purchased at the JCPenney Suit Up event others have mentioned. We have found that we are spending a lot of money on upkeep though as we are covering the dry cleaning costs after the student returns the items. How are others covering this specific expense? Is it coming from your budget or a donor/sponsor? Do you ask the student to clean the clothing before returning it or cover the cost when they check it out? Is anyone not dry cleaning after each usage? I'd love to hear your ideas on what works best.

    Thank you,
    Carly Smith

    ------------------------------
    Carly Smith
    Associate Director, Career Readiness
    University of Miami - Toppel Career Center
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-15-2019 08:34
    HI Carly,

    We are experiencing the same challenges you are. We receive community/alumni clothing donations as well.  We have noticed if we request the student to dry clean the clothes before returning, we may not get the clothes back. With that said, we cover the dry cleaning cost out of our operations budget.  Is the JC Penny grant still available?

    ------------------------------
    [MaryJo] [Campana]
    [Director]
    [Lock Haven University]
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-15-2019 08:44
    Good morning Carly,

    We had a clothes closet at the University of New Hampshire, but when we underwent renovations, we had to close it.  While closed, we made connections with a local community thrift shop (walking distance for students here on campus).  In developing this relationship, UNH's Career and Professional Success did not reopen it clothes closet as the thrift shop provides clothing at no charge to individuals who cannot afford to pay. In turn, career professionals conduct annual clothes drives for the thrift shop.  It has proven to be a great collaboration; the thrift is much larger with more sizes and choices. When career professionals work with students who need clothing, we phone the thrift to let them know a student is coming, but students may also walk in and explain their limited budget, and the thrift is always very accommodating and respectful.

    Best,
    Lori

    ------------------------------
    Lori Dameron
    Director of Career Services, COLSA
    University of New Hampshire - COLSA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-17-2019 18:15
    Dear Colleagues,

    We have a JCPenney near our college. How might a college arrange a Suit Up event? Is there a corporate contact to make these arrangements? Thanks for any information.

    Linda Haas Manley 
    Director, School of Management Career Center
    Marist College

    Sent from my iPhone using IBM Verse





  • 5.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 08:03
    Linda,
    Our corporate contact at JC Penney is Nicole McNiel and her email is nmcniel@jcp.com. She is great to work with.

    Good luck,

    ------------------------------
    Mary Mahoney
    Assistant Director, Recruiting
    The University of Tennessee - Center for Career Development
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 08:45
    We also had a career closet but it got to be too big to handle.  I worked it out with our local Goodwill to take all of our clothes as donations.  In turn they gave us vouchers to give to students for $20 worth of professional attire.  We still regularly collect clothes to donate to Goodwill to keep the relationship going.

    ------------------------------
    Brian Weese
    Director of Career Development
    College of Coastal Georgia
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 09:06
    ​Greetings Linda,

    We do a Suit-up Event with JC Penny and our points of contact are:

    Kenneth G. Bohn (Director Store Events- JC Penny, 6501 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75024 - kbohn1@jcp.com, 972.431.2704 (W) or 214.600.4038 (C))

    Nicole R. McNiel (Sr. Specialist - Store Events, JCPenny, 6501 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75024 - nmcniel@jcp.com, 972.431.3063)

    Depending on when you want to have the event, you will need to allow them sufficient time for them to order merchandise for the event, as well as to assist you with advertising. Both Ken and Nicole have been wonderful to work with.

    If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
     

    Best regards,

     

    --- Scotty ---

    Otis L. Scott, Jr., MA, CMSgt/Ret  

    The University of Texas at San Antonio  |  Assistant Director of Career Services, Employer Relations

    University Career Center, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, Texas 78249

    210.458.4780 (work) | 210.274.8121 (cell) | 210.458.4117 (fax) |

    otis.scott@utsa.edu http://www.utsa.linkedin.com - www.utsa.joinhandshake.com

     

    The mission of the UTSA Career Center is to assist students and alumni in identifying and developing the skills necessary to pursue lifelong career goals.




    ------------------------------
    Otis "Scotty" Scott, Jr.
    Assistant Director of Employer Relations
    The University of Texas at San Antonio - Career Services
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 09:41
    Thanks so much, Scotty! I see that your two contacts are the same as others have shared. I appreciate all the feedback and tips!
     
    Linda
     
    Linda Haas Manley
    Director, School of Management Career Center
    Location: Dyson 155
    Phone: 845-575-3000 Ext. 2636
    Direct: 845-575-3594
     
     





  • 9.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 18:57

    Hi Linda

    We have worked with JCP and their Suit Up Program the last 3 years and it's been very successful. Please follow up with McNiel, Nicole R nmcniel@jcp.com she my contact. I will also send her your contact information. Good Luck!

     

    Thank You!

     

    Deidre Leslie, MBA

    Associate Director, Career Center

    The University of North Texas

    Chestnut Hall, Suite 103 | 1155 Union Circle #310859 | Denton, Texas 76203-5017

    (: 940.565.2105 |Ê: 940.565.4376 | *: deidre.leslie@unt.edu |  http://studentaffairs.unt.edu/career-center

    image001.jpg@01D30B85.A1EA9E60

    Please give us your feedback about our service! https://unt.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2mgqEN1dZx2jKUR

     






  • 10.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-19-2019 07:51
    Thanks so much Deidre! This contact is the same as what others have shared. Glad this event has been successful!

    Linda

    Sent from my iPhone using IBM Verse





  • 11.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-19-2019 09:36
    Our Corporate contacts for the Suit Up Event are:

    Ken Bohn
    Director – JCPenney Store Events
    JCPenney
    6501 Legacy Drive | Plano, TX 75024
    O: 972.431.2704 | M: 214.600.4038 | kbohn1@jcp.com

    Nicole McNiel
    Sr. Specialist – Store Events
    JCPenney
    6501 Legacy Drive | Plano, TX 75024
    nmcniel@jcp.com | T: 972.431.3063 | F: 972.531.3063

    ------------------------------
    Lashanda Jordan
    Executive Director, Career Services & Student Employment Center
    Jackson State University
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-19-2019 09:44
    Dear Career Services Colleagues:
     
    Thanks for all for your numerous replies regarding the JCPenney Suit Up Event. I now have the contacts and plenty of information to move forward. I so appreciate your responses.
     
    Warmest regards,
     
    Linda
     
    Linda Haas Manley
    Director, School of Management Career Center
    Location: Dyson 155
    Phone: 845-575-3000 Ext. 2636
    Direct: 845-575-3594





  • 13.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-21-2019 09:39
    We are in the process of doing the same thing. Ours is not in walking distance though. They allow us to give vouchers out to students in need. There are a handful of people here on campus that can sign the vouchers and hand them out. The student then presents the voucher at the thrift store and receives a free professional outfit.

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Randolph
    Director of Career Services
    West Virginia University at Parkersburg
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-15-2019 09:57
    Hi Carly,
    I was intrigued with your message, as i am in the beginning stages of building our Career Closet.  I did a crowdfunding with our foundation and raised $4,500 dollars in one day along with another $500.00 boost because I had the most faculty and staff donations.  My plan is to have the students choose up to 5 items per semester and keep the clothes.  We are small university and a two person staff office.  There is no way we could manage them returning clothes and having the cost of dry cleaning.  But, like I said, maybe it will evolve into your model.  We have received lots of donations from our staff and community.  I do have very strict guidelines, all items must be new or slightly worn, in style with the times, cleaned and on hangars.  I don't accept bags of clothes, no time to iron them.  However, i did purchase a steamer.  When i get those calls for donations from community, sometimes from people that have retired, I ask, "are your clothes something you think a College Student would wear?"  If the answer is yes, i want their donation, if they hem, well, maybe not, then i don't want them.  They can take to local thrift store.
    We are hosting our 2nd Suit Up on Sunday at JC Penney and i do plan to buy clothes there as well for the closet.

    ------------------------------
    Michelle Gjerde
    Director, Career Center
    Colorado State University - Pueblo
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-15-2019 10:56
    Hi Carly,

    We have a lending closet at UF and face the same struggles. We get all our clothing from donations from faculty/staff/alumni/employers/community members and we cover dry cleaning of the clothing for students. The funding comes from our budget with the assistance of a donor. We are currently evaluating our model to see if we can incorporate giving more.

    ------------------------------
    Julia Fleming
    Associate Director for Operations and Engagement
    University of Florida - Career Connections Center
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-15-2019 12:06
    We have had a Clothing Closet at Fresno State now going on 3 years this spring.  We have a different model.  Our students keep the clothing.  We only accept donations of clean professional clothing.  I was worried our donations would cease after a year or two but they have only increased as word reaches more into our local community, our campus and our alums.  We are a campus of 25,000 students (70% first generation) and so far on average we are serving 500-600 students per semester.  To operate the Closet (including sorting, hanging, labeling, etc.) we use Service Learning students from nonprofit management, marketing and fashion merchandising.  We challenge teams each semester to create marketing plans related donations and creating awareness of the Closet to our student population.  I attend local SHRM chapter meetings and have solicited many new donations from companies that are willing to do a drive in the workplace.  Our Alumni Association is very engaged with the Closet and solicit many donations from alums including alums out of our community area.  When they do events in another city, they do a professional clothing drive with it.

    ------------------------------
    Debbie Young
    Director
    Career Development Center
    California State University, Fresno
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-16-2019 15:02
    At University of Iowa, our Clothing Closet was started and run by students with career center and other academic and student activities units support.  It sits right next to our student run food bank in our student union.  Our closet receives some funding via our central student government. and includes both paid manager positions as well as volunteers.  Career Center provided a one time monetary gift to help with start-up costs (funds came from our gift account).   Other departments on campus also offered some support.  There is a large advisory board on which Career Center has a seat, as well as their student org. advisor, a faculty member, member of central student government and member of facilities in our student union.  Career Center does a lot of marketing and referrals to the closet before networking events, fairs, big interview days, etc.  We've also discussed some joint programming (e.g. meet by the closet, get your resume reviewed and pick out attire for the fair).  We've also solicited professional clothing from employers who attend our fairs.  One employer even organized a professional clothing drive at their office and brought all donations to the fair.  We had bins for donated items which Clothing Closet provided.

    Like another responder here, our closet allows students to take and keep a certain number of items each semester and they track what is taken and who uses the closet for future planning/marketing.  They accept clean, gently-used and current professional items only.  They are also working with local tailors to see if any will offer a discount to UI students in exchange for keeping them on a list of local tailors shared with students who ask.  I believe they were also trying to establish some discounts on dry cleaning but not sure this is needed as they have a steamer and only accept clean attire.

    If you want more info., you are welcome to connect with student leadership of the closet and/or visit their FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/clothingclosetatiowa/.

    Best,
    Lynne

    ------------------------------
    Lynne Sebille-White
    Senior Director, Career Advancement
    University of Iowa - Pomerantz Career Center
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 08:19
    Good Morning!  We do not have a year round clothes closet, but we do have a clothing SALE each semester.  We accept clean, donated items from faculty, staff and the public.  We have also partnered with our local thrift shop who makes a sizable donation each time.  Each item in the sale is $1 and the money goes to award 5 students a $500.00 scholarship each year.   We also tie the sale into a professionalism workshop we do.  If they attend the workshop, they can earn gift certificates for free items from our clothing sale.  Although the sale only occurs 2x a year, we would never turn away a student in need of business attire.  We can always walk them out to our storage closet to look for something if it is needed.  I hope this helps!


    ------------------------------
    Sara Dunlap
    Career Development Advisor
    Ivy Tech Community College - Columbus
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 08:23
    At Florida State University, we have operated our Professional Clothing Closet for about 2.5 years. Our Professional Clothing Closet allows students to take and keep up to 4 individual items per semester. We receive clothing donations from faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and employers. The availability of inventory ebbs and flows, but in researching other closets, we found that the rent and return program was costing career centers A LOT of money in dry cleaning costs. About 55-60% of students that visit the closet find at least one item. In addition to the clothing donations, several campus entities have donated money! We've receive funds from the Family Connection Council, Panhellenic, and Student Government Association. I use those funds to purchase items to fill the "gaps" in our inventory.

    ------------------------------
    Leslie Mille
    Associate Director, Career Center
    Florida State University
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 08:51
    We started our Clothes Closet about 10 years ago and use a different model for donations and disbursement.  Our students do not return the clothing as once selected, it is theirs to keep.  Once or twice a year we put out a call for gently used professional clothing (typically at the change of seasons as people may be cleaning out their closets).  We have approximately 5,500 students and have between 100 and 200 visits each year.  It has been well received by the campus community with both donations and with student usage.  We operate in house in the Career Services office after turning one of the larger offices into a walk-in closet.   Donations come from active faculty and staff, but also from recent retirees and by word of mouth has extended to the local community.

    ------------------------------
    Shelley Moore
    Director, Career Services
    Pennsylvania College of Technology
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 09:35
    We chose to go in a slightly different direction. Instead of maintaining a closet, we started a Career Development Grant. Undergraduate students can request up to $500 during their time at Wesleyan to be used for career-relates expenses, such as a suit, professional bag, graduate test fees, travel to conferences, etc. We run it on a need-aware basis, and our annual budget of $35,000 is typically exhausted by the middle of the second semester. We initially funded it through an outside grant, but after we demonstrated proof of concept the university began picking up the tab.

    ------------------------------
    Sharon Belden Castonguay
    Director, Gordon Career Center
    Wesleyan University
    Middletown, CT
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-18-2019 17:13
    We have had our Career Clothes Closet since 2011. Students are allowed to take 3 pieces (or 1 full outfit) each semester, and they are allowed to keep them. We do not purchase any clothing for the closet, it is 100% donated by faculty, staff, and community members. Sometimes students will donate them back to the closet if they do not want to keep them. We do not dry clean the items, and ask them to be clean when they are donated. (We also do not do shoes, jewelry, etc.) Since we've been doing it for so long, we have a steady stream of donations by word-of-mouth, and rarely have to solicit donations any more. We have had some of our employer partners do clothing drives in their businesses on our behalf as well. We have student employees that help with the donations, student traffic, and general tidying of the closet.

    ------------------------------
    Heather Busch
    Employer Relations Coordinator
    Pittsburg State University
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-19-2019 16:59
    We are beginning a clothes closet at Marymount University as well.  Thank you all so much for the tips!
    Does anyone have a corporate sponsorship for their closet?  One of our ideas was partnering with a store and then naming the closet for them.  Has anyone done anything like that?

    Thank you!!

    ------------------------------
    Lindsay Jenkins
    Center for Career Services
    Marymount University
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    We worked with Macy's to apply for an educational programming grant.  We were awarded the grant and have used the money to fund our dry cleaning expenses, purchase any needed sizes of clothing, and for our Career Catwalk (career fashion show).  That has supplemented us with budgeting up to this point, but we are looking for alternative options moving forward.

    ------------------------------
    Shannon Edminster
    Career Advising & Success Specialist
    University of the Pacific
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    The link for Macy's that we last used was: https://www.grantrequest.com/CreateAccount.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2faccountmanager.aspx%3fSA%3dAM%26sid%3d470&SA=AM&sid=470

    https://www.macysinc.com/social-responsibility/community-support

    Hope that helps direct you! I do believe it was a local grant, but maybe they have something nationwide that could help you.

    ------------------------------
    Shannon Edminster
    Assistant Director of Career Advising and Success
    University of the Pacific
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Funding the Career Closet

    Posted 02-20-2019 11:41
    Thank you everyone for these great answers. Very interesting as we decide where to go from here.

    Best,
    Carly

    ------------------------------
    Carly Smith
    Associate Director, Career Readiness
    University of Miami - Toppel Career Center
    ------------------------------