We’ve partnered with a number of wonderful nonprofit organizations in this city, but our work with Career Gear revealed that the most critical efforts for social change are not always the most high profile. From the outside, we recognized that their suiting, workshop, and follow-up support programs led men towards the path of self-sufficiency. But on the inside - by forming relationships with the men, meeting their families, and hearing about their new dreams for the future – we came to understand how significant this work is to revitalizing distressed areas of our community. Career Gear is leading the way in this pursuit, assisting men far beyond the interview process and providing supports that are both powerful and lasting. nycTIES is so proud to be involved with this mission.
Alex Price, President nycTIES
From its inception in 1999, Career Gear earned a reputation for helping men who are low income enter the workforce by providing business appropriate clothing. The basic offering of a suit was simple, but also powerful. For those men who were improving their work skills and employability, a clean, appropriate suit of clothing was another important tool in finding a job. To date, over 35,000 men have been served through the job readiness program.
Career Gear responded to the growing needs of men entering and re-entering the workforce. A suit cannot be the only solution and, in fact, is just the beginning of the engagement with men who have opted to travel the road to self sufficiency. Over the years, Career Gear has became a multidimensional nonprofit serving the needs of its participants through three distinct programs:
The Job Readiness Program which includes interview preparation, counseling and interview clothing.
The Professional Development Series offers important services to men who have moved beyond the suiting program. Weekly workshops facilitated by corporate managers and career counselors focus on key areas, including financial literacy; family and child support services, and life skills development.
The MAST MENtoring Program was launched in 2010, as a one-on-one mentoring program thanks to the funding of the Pascal Sykes Foundation. We apply the principles of the Professional Development Series and apply them individually to men who need additional assistance. These mentor/mentee meetings have demonstrated strong outcomes with a significant number of participants opening bank accounts, re-engaging with their children and knowing that they are making a positive contribution.
We are pleased with the results to date but will continue to challenge ourselves to best serve all men who walk through Career Gear’s door.