On May 3, future graduates of Sto-Rox received a lesson in moving forward with careers at the Dress for Success event held at Father Ryan Arts Center.

“The Dress for Success program allows us to take classroom theory and bring it to life.  It allows the students firsthand experience with professional clothes and accessories,” Dawn Marshall, Business teacher at Sto-Rox High said. “Most high school females have never tried on a business suit.  This gave the girls a chance to experiment with different types of professional attire, and to choose what they were most comfortable wearing.”


The students were chosen due to performance and their positive relationship with teachers and administration.

“We have a great rapport with our students and know each of them as individuals.  When we learned of this opportunity, we thought of those young women who would benefit from this for their very well thought out future plans albeit college or career as well as show an appreciation for the gift they have been given.”  Joe Herzing, Guidance Counselor at the school said.

The all day affair guided students, as well as many Ready to Work Sto-Rox clients, in picking out proper attire and how to look professional. Much to the amazement of Katelyn Parker, a Sto-Rox senior, Dress for Success also counseled the attendees on accessories – letting them keep their complete outfits.


“It was very surprising was that the program had not only provided us with clothes, but also accessories, beauty products, and even shoes,” Parker said. “I would definitely recommend the Dress for Success program to a friend because they not only provide us with a professional outfit, but also helpful advice.”

Jessie Woods, a fellow student, added that interview advice was just as welcome as the products. Donations for clothes, purses, jewelry, hosiery, and makeup come from such brand names like Macy’s, Vanity Fair and Pandora Jewelry.


Dress for Success doesn’t end there, nor is it skin deep.

“We’re not just clothes. I want people to realize that this program is not a hand out, this is a hand up. We want women to get back out there,” Dress for Success Executive Director, Monica Mendez, PhD said. “Lower social class job seekers have to adapt to middle class standards, but employers are not considering the socio-economic standard,” Mendez added.

Headquartered in Oakland and partnered with over 250 organizations, in over five counties, this Sto-Rox event was the first of its kind in Allegheny County.

“We need to be more accessible, we need to be where the clients are. This is our first attempt to do that.” Mendez said.

Similar events are held through the Dress for Success Pittsburgh’s Career Development Workshops and the Pittsburgh Professional Women’s Group (PWG). These events aim at acquiring or refining soft skills like Microsoft Office, Google Docs, as well as hard skills like resume and interview tips.  The PWG provides a network of support to help women retain employment or advance to the next level of her career and is open to women who are working on a full or part time basis.

Below is a list of upcoming Dress for Success and PWG events:

May 31, 2016 – Work & Life Balance

June 21, 2016 – Fundamentals of Banking

June 28. 2016 – Personal Branding

July 19, 2016 – Budgeting for a Better Life

July 26, 2016 – Professional Networking

August 16, 2016 – Going Green & Saving Green

August 30, 2016 – Negotiating

Refreshments and childcare are provided and registration is required for these events. To register or for more information, please contact, Director of Corporate Relations and Programs, Tanya Mallory at