Thursday, December 14, 2017
Business

Pasco programs help job seekers look their best

Lisa Achey was ready to go back to work. For five years, she had been receiving physical therapy for injuries from a car accident. She had been living on state disability assistance, then unemployment. When she was healthy enough to return to work, she couldn't find a job in Rhode Island.

So she packed up and joined her family in Florida and continued her job search here. In the past seven months, she has applied for 20 jobs. By word of mouth, the Port Richey resident has gotten odd jobs cleaning houses, mowing lawns and driving people to grocery stores. But she still needed help to find a full-time job.

Connections Job Development, a nonprofit in New Port Richey that provides support for active job seekers, has helped Achey prepare a resume and apply for jobs. Just as important, the group gave Achey two professional outfits to wear on interviews.

"You have to have close-toed shoes for job interviews and the only thing I had was sneakers and flip-flops," said Achey, 49. Last week she used a voucher from Connections to get new slacks, a top, a dress, a jacket and shoes that will make her feel more confident as she continues in her job search.

Connections Job Development is one of the beneficiaries of the West Pasco Bar Association's Law Suits project. For the past decade, the annual clothing drive has solicited donations of business and professional attire to benefit men and women who can't afford to purchase on-the-job office apparel or clothes for job interviews.

"People just don't have the money or the outfits," Connections Job Development's executive director Sheila Krautner said. "If they've been in a position where they've not had to wear dress clothes for work, they don't have them for interviews."

Six years ago, about 10 percent of Connection's clients needed interview or work clothes. Now nearly a quarter of Connection's 800 clients do.

"You put somebody in clothing for interviews or you give them clothes to dress up for work and their whole demeanor changes," Krautner said.

"It gives them a lot of hope," she added. "It's an empowerment program that we have."

In addition to providing clients with clothing, Connections recruits a hairdresser to come in every four or five weeks to give free haircuts.

Debora Diaz of Blaesing & Diaz, P.A. is this year's Law Suits coordinator, and has been involved with the program since its inception. Diaz estimates that last year's drive amassed more than 50 suits.

"There's definitely a need. Clothes are expensive and the price keeps going up," Diaz said. "You're expected to look neat and professional in an interview, so there is a definite need out there."

The other beneficiary of the Law Suits drive is Pasco-Hernando Community College's Dress for Success program, which provides professional clothing to students in need.

Jessica White, coordinator of student activities at PHCC, said most of the Dress for Success clothing goes to students in organizations such as Phi Beta Lambda, a business club in which members participate in competitions where professional dress is expected.

"Sometimes, the students can't afford the clothing in order to dress professionally," White said.

Even though it's possible to cobble together an inexpensive professional look from clothes at the Salvation Army or Goodwill thrift stores, White said it can be intimidating for students, especially when they need the outfit immediately.

Achey, who has interviewed with a florist, a cleaning service and a newspaper delivery service, said her new clothes will increase her confidence as she continues her job search.

"I'm grateful," Achey said. "I can't thank them enough."

Samantha Fuchs can be reached at (727) 869-6235 or [email protected]

Comments
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Two Tampa area widowers whose wives died of ovarian cancer are suing Johnson & Johnson, joining nearly 5,000 other plaintiffs across the country who blame their illness on the daily use of the pharmaceutical company’s talcum powder.Bryan Isa’s wife, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Even though the United States Men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that hasn’t diminished local fans’ excitement about the upcoming international event.Ariel Martinez, owner of Best Buy Soccer and Lacrosse, has already receiv...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

TAMPA — Four firms in marketing, construction and secure cash logistics will be the first to go to through a new Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce program designed to help black- and Hispanic-owned companies grow their businesses through two years of...
Updated: 5 hours ago
FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

NEW YORK — The Federal Communications Commission has voted on party lines to undo sweeping Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to internet.The agency’s Democratic commissioners dissented in the 3-2 vote Thursday.The FCC’s ne...
Updated: 7 hours ago
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Updated: 8 hours ago
American Social booming on Harbour Island

American Social booming on Harbour Island

HARBOUR ISLAND — Downtowners, conventioneers, hockey fans, concert-goers and anyone hungry for waterfront dining are discovering American Social Bar & Kitchen on Harbour Island. Panoramic views, accessible boat slips and walkability to Amalie Arena a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
A healthy dining option opens in Downtown Tampa

A healthy dining option opens in Downtown Tampa

SOUTH TAMPA— Vale Food Co., a health food restaurant, hopes to make its mark on the bay area foodie scene with the opening of its first location in Tampa.In 2014, Sunny Ilyas was a Florida State student trying to find an affordable, healthy meal for ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Tampa Bay is above average in minority homeownership

Tampa Bay ranks 22nd among the nation’s 45 largest metro areas in the percentage of minority homeowners. According to Abodo, an online apartment marketplace, 46.2 percent of minorities in the bay area own their homes, which have an average value of $...
Updated: 9 hours ago