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Huntington Organization Training Underemployed, Unemployed Women

Reported: Mar. 18, 2014 4:03 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 19, 2014 10:25 AM EDT

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- Shelby Willis said she knew it was time for some big changes in her life. "I've never really had a career. I've had several jobs, but never a career," she said.

That's why she's participating in a Dress For Success Going Places Network course for the next six weeks. "I want to find out how to dress, and how to speak, and how to present myself during an interview," said Willis.

The six-week course is designed to help under or unemployed women. Sarah Hood , GPN coordinator for Dress For Success River Cities, said, "Our goal is to get these women jobs, to get them on their feet into the community and into professions that they want to be in."

They use a variety of teaching tools, including community speakers from a variety of backgrounds. "These speakers aren't just here to teach a class, they're people that you can network with," said Hood.

They'll also learn how to use social networking professionally, and new this year, they'll head out for job site visits and practice face-to-face interviews with potential employers. "You don't see a lot of women building each other up any more in our community, and I just think it's very enriching to be around positive women that want you to be successful in getting a job," said Willis.

Kalyn Obiozor is a mentor for the women. She's working her way through graduate school, and is happy to share how hard she's worked to get to where she is. "I just hope that I can teach the women it's not where you came from, but it's where you're going," she said.

She said, "It really fills my heart to know that these women are at the start of trying to find their new life, and seeking out their new profession, because I know that I've been working hard and trying to get there as well, and being able to help somebody else along the way, I'm so excited."

The class will also help "dress" the ladies for the part by providing professional clothing through its boutique on Fourth Avenue. "Well everyone judges people on how they look, so when they look at me, I want them to see a successful, professional person that they can depend on and hire," said Willis.

Hood said, "It's a dual-purpose in not only having the right attire, but also having the right skills."

The classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next six weeks from 9a.m.-12p.m. at Goodwill Industries of KYOWVA, on Virginia Avenue. If you couldn't make it out Tuesday, but want to be a part of the program, send an email to gpn@dressforsuccessrivercities.org or call Dress for Success River Cities at 304-522-3011.

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