The grand opening of the Workforce Success Closet was held on Thursday, October 18th, 2018 at the Thomas J. Anton Community Center – located in the Hartford Park family development at 50 Laurel Hill Avenue. The Closet is an extension of our workforce development programs and is designed to provide proper professional attire for participants preparing for upcoming job interviews.
PHA Executive Director, Melissa Sanzaro, opened this new community resource with a few words of praise to the staff for recognizing a community need and for working tirelessly to create a solution for their participants. She also thanked the PHA staff members in attendance, as they were some of the first to donate to the Closet.
PHA Workforce Development Programs
The Providence Housing Authority (PHA) offers a variety of Resident Services to assist residents in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to boost their income and become self-sufficient. Programs include:
- Adult Education and Job Training – this program focuses on preparation for employment including English as a Second Language (ESL), digital literacy, and GED Preparation. The PHA is a member of a consortium of providers connected through the Genesis Center to increase access to services at a variety of times and locations to meet resident needs. Specialized job training is also provided based on resident interest.
- Jobs Plus Providence – this program provides financial incentives through the Earned Income Disregard (EID) to become employed or to upskill out of underemployment. Team members assist with resume building, interview preparation, and job referrals as needed.
- Financial Opportunity Center – this program is available to PHA residents and broader community. It provides three key services including financial and credit coaching, access to additional income supports (as available), and job training and work search assistance through individual coaching.
The three core programs are all interconnected to provide each resident with the support and connections needed to address employment barriers.
At the Providence Housing Authority, we want our residents to accomplish their employment goals and be successful in all that they do. Participants work hard to build needed skills through adult education and classes, prepare their resume, and participate in mock interviews with the PHA staff and job coaches to ready themselves for the job market. In working with residents, our team noticed that access to the appropriate work attire was a barrier to employment for many in our programs. Our team knows that once you have an interview with a company, it is important to dress appropriately for their desired position. Program staff pooled common resources, identified a space, and solicited donations from within the PHA to get the Closet off the ground. Now ready to open regularly, the Workforce Success Closet allows for workforce development program participants to receive assistance in finding appropriate interview and work attire that fits well and instills confidence so they may present themselves in the best manner possible. All the services of the Closet are presented free of charge, as we believe that clothing should never be a barrier to achieving career goals and self-sufficiency. As Melissa Sanzaro, Executive Director of the PHA, mentioned in her opening remarks at the Closet’s grand opening “it’s not just about clothes; it’s about dignity.” Residents participating and receiving items from the closet gain newfound confidence from their professional attire and can attend interviews with comfort and confidence knowing that they looked their best.
To participate in the Workforce Success Closet, you will need a referral, an upcoming, scheduled interview and be participating in one of the PHA’s many workforce development programs. Your PHA program representative or case manager will provide a referral for access to the Closet.
Shopping at the Closet
All eligible participants will need to call ahead of time to schedule an appointment for access to the Workforce Success Closet. The Closet is open four days a week, by appointment only. Our program staff will meet you at your allotted program time to answer questions and help assemble an appropriate outfit for the interview scheduled.
The PHA’s Workforce Success Closet has a variety of professional clothing, shoes, accessories and other hygienic items suitable for young to late adults attending job interviews or who receive employment. Items in the Closet include:
- Blouses , shirts, and suit coats
- Pants and skirts
- Ties and other accessories such as jewelry or purses
- Feminine hygiene products
- Other hygiene products (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
Items are offered in a variety of sizes and are appropriate for many different career options
How Can I Contribute?
For those who would like to contribute to the Workforce Success Closet, the PHA is accepting donations of new or gently used professional attire, shoes, accessories, and travel sized personal hygiene products such as toothpaste, shaving cream, hair gel, etc. Clothing for all career types and sizes are encouraged.
Donations can be brought to the second floor of the Thomas J. Anton Community Center – located in the Hartford Park family development at 50 Laurel Hill Avenue in Providence – to where the Jobs Plus Providence and Financial Opportunity Center program offices are located.
To Learn More
To learn more about the newly launched Workforce Success Closet, contact your program representative directly or call Resident Services at (401) 751-6400.