Akron Urban League helps job seekers dress for success
May 06, 2019
From Akron Beacon Journal / Ohio.com on 5/6/19 (https://www.ohio.com/news/20190505/akron-urban-league-helps-job-seekers-dress-for-success)
By Brandon Bounds
Photo by Garrick Black
In order to be successful, it helps to look the part.
The Akron Urban League recently unveiled an upgrade for its career closet. Formerly known as the Career Clothing Bank, the Akron Urban League Walk-in Closet encourages adults to dress for success.
The closet — located inside the Urban League’s facility at 440 Vernon Odom Blvd. — provides office-appropriate attire and accessories for free to people with scheduled job interviews or those who are underprepared to dress for a new career.
The closet was renovated to resemble a boutique-style store. Suit jackets and pants are hung up on racks, ties are rolled up and are put into drawers and shoes are displayed on shelves.
A fitting room was added for visitors to try on clothes.
Since the closet opened, many residents have benefited from it, said Lamon Harris, program supervisor of BOSS (Building Opportunities for Sustained Success) for the Akron Urban League. Harris headed the remodel of the Walk-in Closet.
“I would get calls from folks asking if they can have clothes for interviews,” he said. “Once they try on their clothes, they feel more confident and prepared for their interview.”
The Akron Urban League partners with the Men’s Wearhouse locations in Fairlawn, Chapel Hill and Canton. Men’s Wearhouse holds frequent clothing drives for the Career Clothing Bank and donates suits and dress clothes.
The Urban League had the old space for several years.
“We were in need of space and needed to redesign the space we had,” Harris said.
Renovations began in mid-February. Harris said he received a Community Impact Grant for $3,000 from Home Depot to help purchase materials to renovate.
Spanky’s Carpet Outlet donated carpet for the space. Volunteers from Summa Health and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Xi Xi Chapter, assisted with moving and sorting the clothing.
“This room is completely different from what it used to be,” Harris said. “People that come by are now comfortable to come and look for clothes.”
The clothes are donated by a host of organizations, companies and individual donors. Donations can be dropped off on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Residents can obtain clothes from the Akron Urban League Walk-in Closet on Tuesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. It is free and open to any resident of Summit County.
In order to receive clothes, people must:
• Be seeking employment or be employed.
• Show proof of identification.
• Wait three months before returning.
• Complete an Akron Urban League intake form.
The Akron Urban League has served the Akron community for more than 92 years. The mission of the nonprofit organization is to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Summit County, particularly African Americans, through economic self-reliance and social empowerment, according to the organization’s website.