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Dress for Success program partners with New Haven Housing Authority

A rack of jackets at a pop-up shop at Mill River Crossing public housing complex. The pop-up, which will take place on the third Thursday of the month, will provide clothing to residents for work and job interviews.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
A rack of jackets at a pop-up shop at Mill River Crossing public housing complex. The pop-up, which will take place on the third Thursday of the month, will provide clothing to residents for work and job interviews.

New Haven’s location is open once a month, by appointment only, to be scheduled by participating agencies, including job training and employment companies. It is located in the community center of Elm City Communities’ Mill River Crossing housing complex.

A national organization dedicated to helping prepare women for the workforce with professional attire and career development is now partnering with New Haven’s housing authority.

Elm City Communities and Bridgeport-based job readiness company The WorkPlaceworked together to bring the national program, “Dress for Success,” to the city.

“Our role is absolutely to be a provider of the highest quality housing that is affordable in a community, but we know that housing is just one aspect of what people need,” Elm City Communities President Dr. Karen DuBois-Walton said. “Once people actually feel stably housed and live somewhere that they can afford, it offers that opportunity to explore all the other hopes and dreams that they may have for themselves.”

New Haven native Cristal Castro first used Dress for Success around 2015 to help prepare for two impending job interviews. Castro needed to travel by bus and train to reach the Bridgeport office.

“I had to kind of go on Google and get my GPS on my cell phone and everything and figure that out but once you get out to the train station, it's right in a downtown area,” Castro said.

Dress for Success provided Castro with a suit that she wore on her job interviews. She also landed a new job. She said she’s thankful the New Haven branch is now available so women in her city don’t have to travel as far as Bridgeport or Hartford to get the assistance they need.

“It's more than about a suit. It's about empowerment. It's about helping women who need the help to actually move into economic self-sufficiency,” The WorkPlace Chief Operating Officer Adrienne Parkmond said.

Adrienne Parkmond, COO of The WorkPlace (left) and Michelle Artis, Dress for Success Director (right), celebrate after a ribbon cutting at the Mill River Crossing public housing complex in New Haven, where a pop-up shop will be held ever month to give residents access to clothing for work and job interviews.
Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public
/
Connecticut Public
Adrienne Parkmond, COO of The WorkPlace (left) and Michelle Artis, Dress for Success Director (right), celebrate after a ribbon cutting at the Mill River Crossing public housing complex in New Haven, where a pop-up shop will be held ever month to give residents access to clothing for work and job interviews.

Women referred to the program from other resources schedule an appointment for a fitting and receive a free suit for the job interview. They also get trained on interview skills. Once a job is secured, each woman receives an additional six items of work clothing.

New Haven’s location is open once a month, by appointment only, to be scheduled by participating agencies, including job training and employment companies. It is located in the community center of Elm City Communities’ Mill River Crossing housing complex.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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