The ability to dress for success is something most working women in Silicon Valley take for granted. Many women have the resources to purchase an outfit for work that will make them look and feel great. After completing job-training programs, many economically disadvantaged women have the skills to compete for an entry-level job. Unfortunately, the only clothes some women in this situation own will immediately disqualify her from consideration for jobs.
Career Closet of Santa Clara County was founded in 1991 by a group of professional women to meet this need. There are numerous programs throughout the area that provide vocational training and job search assistance to economically disadvantaged women. However, upon completion of these programs, the women cannot afford even a modest interviewing outfit at a thrift store; much less the kind of clothing that will give them an equal advantage with others seeking the same job. It is for women in this situation that the Career Closet of Santa Clara County helps.
The clients of Career Closet are referred by job training agencies and all the professional clothing is provided free. This is the only agency of its kind in Silicon Valley. Since opening in October 1992, the Career Closet has given more than 3,000 women in Santa Clara County professional interview attire and additional items of clothing to put together several days’ worth of work outfits.
The Career Closet volunteers work one-on-one with the clients to select their business outfits and give the women a much-needed boost of self-confidence. Leaving Career Closet with a professional wardrobe, the women feel empowered by the knowledge that they have both the skills and the presence to stand equal with others in a job interview situation. Through this one-on-one personal experience, Career Closet helps each woman believe that the quality of her appearance increases her opportunity for a successful job search.