Professional attire can be expensive, and as the community engagement specialist at Goodman Community Center, Shantrice Solis has come up with an idea to provide opportunities for building success through access to high-quality professional clothing and accessories. On June 13th, Goodman hosted a special kick-off event for the free “Career Closet” that provides professional clothing for community members during a time where resources to access such attire may be limited.
Solis told Madison365 that she was hopeful that this event would be beneficial for community members in the Atwood neighborhood and beyond on Madison’s east side.
“I’m really hoping that this is something that is beneficial for people that are on the east side, like our east side residents, and also our teenagers in our Teen Works Program across the street [in the Goodman Brassworks Building,]” Solis said, adding that the idea for the event started back in January.
The Goodman Community Center’s focus on youth is important during this time of the year when new high school graduates are starting to look for their next step in life.
“I know that a lot of them just graduated high school,” Solis said. “So they have to make that transition from high school into adulthood. I want to be able to provide them with outfits to wear to a job interview for free so that they don’t have to worry about trying to find what to wear.”
Rob Ringeisen, an image consultant from the Tom James Company, was also at the career closet to give a presentation on interviewing strategies and the importance of professional clothing when giving a first impression. While the presentation and event were focused on the clothing, Solis is also looking for supplies in other aspects of interview readiness.
“I am still looking for donations for shoes and accessories,” Solis said. “Right now, we have a small amount of little personal care items, but I’m wanting to get more makeup and more things so that people can look good, feel good and be confident. I’m still looking for more clothes in a variety of sizes. It’s never-ending”
Beyond providing professional clothing and self-care products, Solis spoke on looking to provide services to support community members in achieving career success, especially for the Black and Brown communities. She hopes they will be drawn back to the Goodman Community Center to find more opportunities and to be in the community.
“I really want this to grow into a full-on career service here at Goodman,” said Solis. “I want to be able to provide help with resume writing, cover letters, even having a space where they can do some of their virtual interviews. Because now everything is online. I just really want to be able to support our community and grow this out further so that we can fully support everyone so that besides clothes, they can also come here and get support.”
The future may hold even more events as Solis and her colleagues at the Goodman Community Center press forward in providing opportunities while also reaching out to those who can provide a helping hand.
“I’m working on another event,” Solis said. “I’m hoping that someone can come and do hair trends and manicures, just so that people can come here, shop our closet, and then get prepared for their interviews.“
Those interested in donating professional attire, shoes, and accessories to the “Career Closet” that are gently used and clean can drop them off at the Goodman Community Center Ironworks building at 149 Waubesa St.