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Feb. 29, 2020 | Saturday
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Niagara College gives students free professional clothes during Dress to Impress event

 

 

Stepping out into the workforce can be daunting for Niagara College students like landscape and horticulture student Krista Matthews, that’s why she says she was so happy to hear about the college's Dress to Impress event.

The event offers free work clothes to students seeking employment.

“It’s going to help me find some of the right clothes for interviews,” she said while browsing the gently used clothes on Wednesday afternoon.

She walked out with formal jeans and a few “professional-looking shirts,” she said.

As well as preparing for future career opportunities, she said she is also searching for a job now while in school.\

The clothes are donated by local members of the community and college faculty.

Organizers began collecting donations at the beginning of September, a spokesperson for the college said. This is the fourth year for the event, which has seen an increase in donations as well as more students taking advantage of the free clothes. By noon on Wednesday the organizers had counted almost 200 students walking through.

The college’s co-op consultant Angela Willis said the idea behind the giveaway is to prevent barriers to employment. In offering free, professional clothes, students can “put their best professional foot forward.”

“They know they can get a professional looking outfit,” she added.

She said that way they can worry more about actual job interview and highlighting their relevant career skills, without the fear of finding appropriate clothing.

“Plus, it’s cool to thrift now,” Willis said.

As well as setting students up for success, Willis said the college is also trying to shine a light on sustainability through choosing used clothing over buying new items.

Dress to Impress is part of the college’s Career Month, which featured resume clinics, LinkedIn workshops, free headshot sessions and speed interview practices throughout January. A career fair will close out the month, held on Feb. 4 at the Welland Campus and Feb. 5, 6 and 7 at the Daniel J Patterson Campus, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for all dates.

More than 150 employers will be at the career fair, with about 15 from NOTL. Many will conduct interviews and even hire on the spot, Willis said, so she encourages students to come prepared.

"We'll often see students wearing the clothes they found at this event, so that's nice to see," she said.

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