“They are academically prepared, but they also need to be polished,” said Jodi Carlson, employer relations manager for the UW Oshkosh College of Business and campus Career Services.
Enter the ‘Career Closet’… literally.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Career Services opened the Career Closet, right in the middle of its campus offices within the Student Success Center, 750 Elmwood Ave., on Oct. 15.
The closet, a stylish nook built into the center with the support of donations, gives students the opportunity to select up to five articles of professional, polished business clothing each semester.
For the past several months, Career Services has been working with the campus community, alumni and other donors — including University and Career Services’ business partners — to build up the supply of professional clothing available for free to UW Oshkosh full or part time students.
“All the parameters are on our website, but basically (a donation) has to be a piece of clothing purchased in the last five years, and it has to be professional attire – suits, pants, skits, shirts, blouses, ties, scarves, no shoes,” said Career Services Director Jaime Page-Stadler. “We can help coordinate a drive at an organization if one is interested, and we’ll make arrangements to pick up donations if anyone is interested.”
The Career Closet is open any time during Career Services’ regular office hours. Students are able to schedule an appointment and make a quick and convenient visit to pick up clothing free of charge.
Page-Stadler said her staff knows of only a few similar business-attire donation programs connected with colleges and universities in Wisconsin. The idea is still fairly new but is increasingly valuable to students who crave not only the free, quality business clothing but also the convenience of having an outfitter right on campus.
Donors are responding, too.
Page-Stadler said UW Oshkosh faculty and staff helped with a first Career Closet drive last spring. Alumni were encouraged to donate over Homecoming weekend on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12. On Oct. 15, Career Services staff and student interns began filling the racks with the array of donations, including everything from full men’s’ and women’s business suits.
The ultimate goal is to further Career Services’ niche as a one-stop shop for UW Oshkosh students aiming to land what might be a career-launching job or internship interview. Those opportunities, too, are now facilitated under Career Services’ roof.
“We have about 15 visits scheduled in the next couple of weeks for employers interviewing right here in our offices,” Page-Stadler said. “And we have an all-day mock (interviewing event) next week.”
Career Closet donations can also be dropped off during regular business hours at Career Services, located within the Student Success Center off Elmwood Avenue behind Reeve Memorial Union on the UW Oshkosh campus. Donations are tax-deductible.