Bottomless Closet is a nonprofit organization operating in New York City. It works to serve disadvantaged women to prepare for the workforce. It helps these women transition from unemployment and public assistance to employment and independence. There are many women who attest to its impact on their lives. It has helped these women build core proficiencies for success, increase self-confidence, and boost self-esteem. Bottomless Closet has transformed the potential and vision of these women tremendously.
What Does Bottomless Closet Do?
Once she has a job interview scheduled, a woman is referred to Bottomless Closet through a network of partner organizations. Then, the woman gains access to the many services of Bottomless Closet including resume review/preparation, interview coaching, and a broad workshop series. The name of Bottomless Closet comes from one of their unique services: the selection of quality clothes for interviewing. Women particularly love this service. Melissa Norden, newly appointed Executive Director says,
"People walk in with their heads bowed down and walk out with a greater sense of self-worth."
In addition to a makeover and curriculum, a female client with the Bottomless Closet organization is entitled to a one-on-one resume and interviewing prep session. This is often invaluable for women. According to Melissa, this is an integrated process. Volunteers work with people to prepare their resume and go through potential interview questions. Some people have a more up-to-date resume than others; but the interview prep and boutique visit, take about one and a half hours. Women learn tips on interviewing that can serve them for years.
Bottomless Closet doesn't stop there. There is a workshop series available after you leave your session at Bottomless Closet. It covers how women can develop professionally, manage finances, and enrich their personal lives. As an added incentive, Bottomless Closet offers two certificate programs to enhance a woman's resume, but it is not required. The workshops are offered over 3 trimesters beginning in January, April, or September. Each trimester is 3 months long. The workshops include the following topics:
- Goal Setting
- Insurance, Taxes, Annuities
- Debt Reduction
- Writing A Will
- Student Loans
- Saving For Retirement
- Buying A Home
- Helping Your Child Succeed In School
- Budget Travel
- Book Club, and
- Theater Outings
This is not a comprehensive list of the workshop series covering Professional Development, Financial Management, and Personal Enrichment. To see how these workshops are divided into each category, visit the Workshop Curriculum page of bottomlessclosetnyc.org. Clients are encouraged to participate in as many workshops that interest them.
Melissa Norden stepped in as the Executive Director of Bottomless Closet on March 28, 2016. She has a lengthy and impressive resume, serving with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). At the ASPCA, Norden served as Senior Vice President, Chief of Staff and General Counsel. While she was there, the ASPCA boomed. During her career there, she managed a $150+ million budget and a staff of over 700. She also oversaw the creation of a new grant program that allocates $15+ million annually across America. About the transition to Bottomless Closet, Norden had the following to say:
"I am thrilled to serve Bottomless Closet, where we help transform women’s lives with clothing, insider tips, and empathy, all of which work together to instill confidence and a sense of dignity that will be invaluable in their job searches and future careers."
A Model Program
Norden informed us that Bottomless Closet works through referral partners in the 5 boroughs. Those agencies help the individuals get interviews, then Bottomless Closet prepares them. The partnering agencies are well-established colleges, the YMCA, and other charities. To see a list of referral-partners, go to www.bottomlessclosetnyc.org and click on Referral Partner, then Referral Partner Finder.
What I Wish EVERY Job Candidate Knew
To get some recommendations on how to interview well, check out the following book: What I Wish EVERY Job Candidate Knew: 15 Minutes to a Better Interview by Russell Tuckerton. Tuckerton has spent 20 years interviewing and hiring people at multiple Fortune 500 companies. This book gives you insight into the other side of the table at a job interview. Get out of your head!
If you're woman, you should check out available grants and federal contracts at MWBEzone.com. Choose from the Categories, Geographic Focus, and Funding Source. Under categories, you should choose Financial Assistance, Women, and Workforce. MWBEzone is a search engine specifically for minority and women-owned businesses. This will lead you to all related grants. You may be able to find grants for individuals whom are looking to improve their career status.
For instance, I found the following two results when I searched for the aforementioned categories:
Remember to sign up with a pricing plan at GrantWatch.com in order to view the entire grant or contract.
About the Author: MWBEzone Staff Writer with contributions from Melissa Norden.