As most people know, making a good first impression is critical to landing a job, and that impression is often made at the interview. A faculty group from Gannon University is helping women in Erie this week by collecting professional clothes that will help them get back into the workforce and on their feet.
The Gannon University Support Staff Association (GUSSA) is once again participating in Dress for Success Erie, a women’s clothing drive that aims to empower women by providing clothes that will help them be successful in their profession as well as at home.
Since being founded in 1980, GUSSA has supported the interests of support staff members at Gannon. One of their missions is to serve the Gannon and Erie communities, which is where the clothing drive comes in.
The clothing drive accepts any interview-appropriate and professional articles of clothing, including suits and blouses, jewelry and scarves and even scrubs.
Sharon Dugan, a human resource assistant for the Department of the Army who works in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in the Palumbo Academic Center, is the chairperson for GUSSA’s participation in Dress for Success Erie.
“It is a wonderful organization, and what is more powerful than women supporting each other?” Dugan said. “It is so important to give back to our community because we are so blessed and it feels good to help out in any way we can.”
Once women have an interview scheduled, they can set up an appointment by referral at the Dress for Success Erie boutique to be suited. Dress for Success’ dozens of partner agencies that can give referrals are listed on its website. Women can return again after finding employment and will be suited with more specific attire with their new profession in mind.
Donation drives are not the only way people can support Dress for Success’ cause. Monetary donations are accepted through the website for those who do not have any clothes available to give away.
Nancy Kelly, part-time department secretary for ROTC, assists Dugan with each clothing drive GUSSA participates in and said that the clothing drive is about more than just dressing women for job interviews.
“This drive is very important because it helps women in the community who are striving to improve their lives by finding decent employment,” Kelly said. “Getting a good job can help them provide a better life for themselves and their families.”
Maggie Grady, a freshman occupational therapy major, said that not being able to afford proper clothing should not hold women back from getting a job.
“A person always feels more confident when they are dressed well, no matter the occasion,” Grady said. “A woman needs to be her most confident self in the workplace in order to be taken seriously, so dressing appropriately for the job is important.”
Clothing donations began being collected on Monday in the ROTC office and will continue through Friday. Anyone with questions can contact Dugan at firstname.lastname@example.org.