It may be one of the Lake of the Ozarks best kept secrets, or at least that's what it feels like to youth career managers Katie McGrew and Sherrie Coffey.
It may be one of the Lake of the Ozarks best kept secrets, or at least that's what it feels like to youth career managers Katie McGrew and Sherrie Coffey. Working at the Missouri Career Center located directly off of Hwy. 54 in Linn Creek, the office mates wanted to do something different for people in need of career clothing in the area.
Realizing that people of all ages who came through the doors of the Missouri Career Center didn't have professional interview clothing became an issue they saw all too often.
While both Coffey and McGrew work in social service roles, they also share a past experience in the world of retail.
"We wanted to do something similar to the popular Dress for Success programs in larger areas," said McGrew. "We went to tour the Jefferson City Dress for Success storefront and they were so awesome to help us and show us how they modeled their own program."
After much thought and preparation, The Changing Room at the Missouri Career Center was officially in business to offer free professional clothing to unemployed local residents going on interviews.
Opening their doors in January of this year, The Changing Room has already given away hundreds of outfits to give people a professional appearance to be considered for employment. Going one step further, if the interviewee gets the job- they supply them with a full week of professional clothing to help them start off on the right foot.
While donations of both men and women's professional clothing is needed year round, Coffey and McGrew decided to open the doors of the free store to the public for a one day clearing event. This Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. everything in the store is open to the public to come and take advantage of, for free.
"We want to draw attention to the fact that we are here and hope that it generates more attention to the community to donate their clothing to the program," said Coffey.
The clothing available for free to those in need this Friday range in sizes from toddlers to adults, both men and women.
The Changing Room has already had some support from the community with Lake Regional hospital holding a scrub drive for those future employees of nursing homes and the hospital itself. Habitat for Humanity has donated a washer and dryer to ensure clean clothes. Local dental offices have donated toothbrushes to the program. The program also gets donations of hygiene products from the company Uni-Lever and the Idiots Club sends referrals their way.
"We live in a great community and we would love to see more businesses and organizations become involved with what we are doing," said Coffey.
Current donations needed for men include men's professional attire, such as dress shirts, polo shirts, dress shoes, ties and belts. For women, dress shoes, jewelry, scarves and handbags are in need at this time. Other needed donations are hangers, retail rolling racks to hang clothes on and monetary donations to buy undergarments for those in need. Those wishing to make donations of any kind can drop off their donations at the Missouri Career Center or a pick-up times can be arranged. All donations are tax deductible.
While Coffey and McGrew are namely responsible for The Changing Room, they also give credit to their Program Coordinator, Courtney Lent Hall; Job Developer, Tiffani Carmen; and Administrative Assistant, Shelly Corbin.
Anyone who has an open position for employment is also encouraged to let the Missouri Career Center know, so they can try to match up qualified candidates with open employment positions.
The Changing Room is part of Central Workforce Development and is located in the back of the building Missouri Career Center in Linn Creek at 204 Business Park Road, Hwy V. "We hope people will realize we are here, donate to The Changing Room and utilize us all year round," said McGrew. For more information call (573) 346-1766.