When Christine Burns was an HCC student more than 25 years ago, she remembers going to an interview straight from school wearing a Flashdance T-shirt and shorts.
"I'm excited that we can help provide something a little better to students today," she said Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the grand opening of the Holyoke Career Closet.
Burns is director of development for Providence Ministries for the Needy Inc., which is partnering with HCC on the Holyoke Career Closet, a joint venture that seeks to provide appropriate business attire to students who have scheduled interviews for jobs and internships.
"This is just remarkable," said HCC President Bill Messner. "We're here to serve the community and this is one part of that community service. Thank you on behalf of our students, who are going to make great use of this."
The Holyoke Career Closet is located in Room 207 of the Kittredge Center and is open Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Before coming in, students need to have a referral from an advisor or from the Career Center, which is one floor above.
"The goal is to provide interview appropriate clothing for students who have scheduled interviews," said Lauren Brunault, one of two Americorps VISTA volunteers who collected donations of clothing and organized the Career Closet. "Now there is a one-stop shopping here at HCC with the Career Center upstairs and the Career Closet down here."
So far, the Career Closet, previously a storage closet, has about 5,000 items in stock, a collection of suits, shirts, pants, sweaters, dresses and shoes for both men and women.
"This could not have come about without donations from the community," said Karen Blanchard, executive director of Providence Ministries. "I really think it's important for students to have something like his available to them."
Students who receive education services from HCC in downtown Holyoke can receive clothing services from Providence Ministries at the agency's thrift store, Mother Marys, at 364 High St.
To make an appointment for a fitting, call (413) 552-2564.
A bus trip to the Lee Outlet shops is planned for Saturday, Dec. 11, as a fundraiser to support the Holyoke Career Closet. The cost is $25 per person, which includes transportation, driver gratuity, and a goodie bag filled with special sales information and other items. The bus departs from HCC at 9:30 a.m. and leaves Lee at 3 p.m.
To reserve a seat, call(413) 536-9109 ext. 11 or (413) 552-2564 and ask for Lauren or Chris.
Photos: (Left) The grand opening of the Holyoke Career Closet was celebratated with a ribbon-cuttting ceremony. (Right) Americorps VISTA volunteer Lauren Brunault shows off some of the clothes.