Career Closets Help Students Dress for Success

May 06, 2024
By Melissa Johns, Executive Director
Mission College Career Closet

With new job opportunities and summer internships right around the corner, our campus clothing closets are buzzing with students. From suits and ties to dress shoes and accessories, our clothing closets provide an invaluable resource of free clothing for our early career professionals.

After receiving nearly 1000 pieces for its career closet, Mission College opened its doors for a two-day event last month, which brought in nearly 200 students to shop and pull together outfits. The event was a collaborative effort by the College Career and Transfer Center, EOPS, the Office of Basic Needs and the Mission College Sustainability Committee.

Event organizer, Katie Hass, shared, "The most popular items were blazers and three-piece suit sets for both men and women. Most students ended up grabbing 1-2 full professional outfits, and I'd estimate that we gave away approximately 900 pieces of clothing in total." Hass added, “We also invited a full-service staffing agency, Slingshot Connections, to the two-day event. Their representative was available to offer both soft skills and employment services to students. It was great to give students an opportunity to grab professional clothing and get a job referral all in one visit.” 

The career closets are made possible by the generous donations we receive from the community. Donors like Gladie Rabitz of Monte Sereno feel great about passing along professional clothing to the West Valley College Closet. Gladie shared, “When I learned that students needed professional clothing, I thought about my husband’s suits. He no longer needs them and it’s so nice to know that students can put them to good use.” 

After donating clothes to the career closet, Gladie later toured the college and saw firsthand how the closet is just one of many services available to help students in our community. Gladie now volunteers at West Valley College to help the Office of Student Needs provide a wide array of resources to students in need. From food pantries, to career exploration and interview preparation, to free childcare for parenting students – our colleges are doing everything they can to remove the barriers that keep students from reaching their goals beyond the classroom. 

student shops at career closet

If you are interested in helping our colleges expand their professional clothing inventory in the months ahead, we welcome additional donations of new and nearly new items. Some of the most popular items include dresses, blazers, suit sets, men’s dress shoes (sizes 11 and 12), and accessories such as handbags, ties, dress socks and jewelry. Petite and plus sizes are also popular.

To donate clothing closet items to Mission College, contact Katie Hass at the Career and Transfer Center. To donate to West Valley College, please contact Hannah Tabor at the Office of Student Needs. All donations are tax-deductible. 

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