Suiting Up for Success: Our Virtual Suit Drive

By Robert Half on August 10, 2020 at 2:21pm

Since 2002, Robert Half teams across North America have provided support for tens of thousands of low-income job seekers during our annual Suit Drive. We work with employers, job candidates and business contacts to collect professional business attire. As a staffing firm, we recognize the challenges job seekers face and understand the positive effect professional clothing can have on their self-assurance. Since the program’s inception, we have collected more than 400,000 items of professional clothing — including suits, dresses, shoes and accessories.

"Robert Half is proud of this annual effort,” said Keith Waddell, president and CEO, of our 18th year hosting the Suit Drive. “We’re committed to assisting people during every step of the job search process. Our entire workforce understands the value of building confidence and the importance it can have on a job candidate’s success.”

But in 2020, we needed to find a new way for our employees and customers to collaborate on another successful drive. Through our relationship with Dress for Success, our nonprofit partner for the past 15 years, we learned that women — particularly women of colour — are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Many of them serve as caregivers while also holding the majority of jobs being impacted or eliminated in response to the pandemic. While Dress for Success boutiques are closed, their clients are more in need of support than ever, which is why they recently launched the Moving Forward program.

So we reimagined our Suit Drive. We didn’t collect clothing, but we came together — virtually — to help people gain confidence during their job searches. Robert Half employees and our network of professional contacts raised funds and shared career resources to benefit Dress for Success and support their mission of empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to thrive in work and in life.

Over the years, Robert Half has supported this mission through sponsoring the organization’s Career Centres; providing expert speakers for Professional Women’s Group meetings; offering access to more than 2,500 online training modules; and sponsoring the organization’s annual Success Summit, which brings together delegates from Dress for Success’ global Professional Women’s Group network.

This year, we had 54 teams join our virtual Suit Drive Power Walk and invite colleagues, clients, job candidates and friends to participate. We had a great time walking “with” our groups, often joined by family members and pets. There was even friendly competition in some areas to earn local grants for top performing teams. Participants could also take part in activities like conducting mock interviews and writing encouraging notes for job seekers.

Thanks to fundraising, Matching Gifts requests, Happy Hours volunteer grants and corporate support, our participants raised more than $100,000, exceeding our goal. Thank you to all of those who helped us reach this milestone.

“I’m excited about the new ways we are supporting Dress for Success and its clients, while continuing our 18-year tradition of the Suit Drive,” said Rita Steel, president of professional staffing services for West and Southwestern operations, and pioneer of the company's Suit Drive. “Being able to respond to the needs of this organization during this time is very meaningful, and supports our mission of being a socially responsible corporate citizen and doing what we can to assist those individuals looking for a job.”

To learn more about how you can support job seekers in need — like providing career advice or conducting virtual mock interviews — reach out to your local Dress for Success affiliate.

Thank You from Dress For Success CEO Joi Gordon.

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