Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence.
Dress for Success Worldwide is an international 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Simply put, we teach women the tools to help them get back to work and assist them in remaining employed, as well as progressing in their positions until they have reached their desired level of professional achievement and personal fulfillment. We aim for each woman to attain self-sufficiency, so that she may establish a financial foundation on which to build a more secure life, a more stable family and stronger ties to her community.
We do this by addressing every phase of a woman’s career. Whether she’s unemployed and searching; recently employed and adjusting; or gainfully employed and succeeding, Dress for Success is there every step of the way on their path to financial freedom. We tap into the potential that already exists and provide each woman with the guidance needed for them to realize the power that has always been within them, as well as empower them to become the woman that they would like to be.
This continuum of services was established to streamline this success journey, so that the women we serve may evolve into leaders in the workforce, as well as leaders in life, as effectively and efficiently as possible. Because of the programs it offers, Dress for Success is able to help its clients go from surviving to thriving.
Since we opened our doors in New York City in 1997, we have grown into an organization that can be found almost 150 cities throughout 20 countries. Through this expansive reach, we are proud to have served more than 925,000 women in our 19 years of operation.
To connect with our Los Angeles or Chicago offices, please visit www.facebook.com/dfswest and www.facebook.com/dfscentral.
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to almost 150 cities in 23 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than nearly 1,000,000 women work towards self-sufficiency.
Dress for Success was founded in February 16, 1997
Our Suiting Program is the first of many steps in a client’s path towards self-sufficiency and the actualization of her professional goals. Once they have secured an interview, clients are referred to us from one of our local partner agencies. On their first visit to Dress for Success, volunteers help them to pick out a suit and accessories for their interview. Not only does a professional appearance influence the final decision of a potential employer, but it also fosters confidence in the woman wearing the suit. This self-assuredness helps to guarantee that our clients will be fully-prepared to go on an interview, ready to answer and ask questions, and are more likely to secure meaningful employment. Once a client secures employment, she is invited to return to our offices, where she receives one week’s worth of office-appropriate clothing.
Beginning with their first visit, clients are encouraged to use our Career Center, which promotes confidence and professionalism by providing women with career guidance, educational resources, and support to help them secure and maintain employment, while also enhancing their professional skills. Staff members and volunteers work one-on-one with clients by helping them to create superior résumés and cover letters, providing career counseling and mock interviews, and facilitating access to professional skills training courses. Half of the women that we serve do not have access to a computer, printer, or the internet outside of the Career Center. This technology is a key tool in preparing for and obtaining a rewarding career. By offering the resources and support needed to build their professional skills, we give our clients a competitive edge when searching for new employment or vying for a promotion. In 2009 we added a career coaching component to our Career Center so that clients, particularly those who have been displaced during the recent economic situation, can receive more extensive career counseling and support.
Professional Women’s Group
The Professional Women’s Group (PWG) encourages economic independence and career development by providing employed Dress for Success clients with a network of support, practical information, and the inspiration to achieve self-defined success in their career and life. It is the first and only employment retention model of its kind that moves low-income women towards self-sufficiency by addressing their social and economic needs in relation to work, home, and their community. The PWG is operated like a professional association and membership is free and lifelong to all women who join. The program consists of monthly seminars on a variety of career development topics, networking with fellow members and other professionals in the community, and opportunities to participate in one-on-one career coaching, mentoring, and much more. Currently, 66 Dress for Success affiliates across the United States and Canada operate Professional Women’s Groups, with 10,000 total members (335 in New York City). In 2009, the employment retention rate for clients who remained involved with Dress for Success through the PWG for more than one year was 75%.
Financial Literacy Program
Understanding personal finance and being able to manage and save your earnings is a key component of achieving self-sufficiency and economic independence, the ultimate goal for disadvantaged women who are served by Dress for Success Worldwide. The Financial Literacy Program consists of a 15-week seminar series and is open to Professional Women’s Group (PWG) members who have been employed for at least one year and have demonstrated an interest and commitment to improving their financial lives. One of the features that makes this program such a success is that each session is interactive and action-oriented, so women are addressing their personal finance issues in real life, not just in a classroom. Participants are educated on topics that address a range of levels of financial sophistication including budgeting, basic banking, tackling debt issues, taxes, investing, and retirement. 100% of participants have a monthly budget, a savings account, a checking account, an emergency action plan if they were to lose their job, and had significantly reduced their debt.
Women 2 Women: Leadership for Life Mentoring Program
Women 2 Women helps Dress for Success clients to build a network of support, while also providing career development tools by pairing them with a mentor based on their area of career interest. This interaction benefits both the mentor and mentee by fostering a safe and supportive environment where participants can question and reflect upon their professional choices as they related to developing a career, while also setting and achieving both short-and long-term professional goals. In 2010 Dress for Success Worldwide will pair more than 30 clients with industry professionals in a mentoring relationship to assist them in working to meet their professional goals.
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