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Career Center Maintains Closet of Professional Clothing for Students
Illinois Ag Connection - 04/12/2018

As Western Illinois University students move toward the end of their academic career, the process of interviewing to launch their career or move on to graduate school brings a new set of considerations, including developing a professional look.

The WIU Career Development Center (CDC) helps students through all aspects of interview preparation and job searches, and a unique component to the process provides access to free professional clothing.

The "Captain's Closet" was developed four years ago by former CDC assistant directors Michelle Howe and Renee Sprock, who began noticing that students either didn't have access to, or couldn't afford, professional attire for interviews. The closet, located in the CDC office in Memorial Hall 125, has a selection of men's and women's clothing, including suits, shirts, pants, ties and shoes.

"We had the space and we wanted to do something better," said CDC Director Martin Kral. "In the beginning, we received donations from faculty and staff and community members to fill the closet. Then, the addition spread by word of mouth."

According to CDC Office Support Specialist Kate Curry, last year about 140 students took clothing from the center. All of the clothing is provided free, and students are allowed to take as much as they want and to keep what they select.

Kral said men's clothing is sometimes in short supply, and the center likes to keep business casual and professional clothing stocked in the closet. As the semester nears an end, the need for clothing increases.

Students can stop in the CDC office during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, to shop the closet. Anyone who would like to donate clothing can also drop it off in the office during those hours.

For additional information about the closet, or about the services provided by the CDC, call (309) 298-1838.

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