BETHEL, Conn. — A job seeker should still wear a suit to interviews, according to Save-A-Suit Executive Director Jessica Ewud.
“You only have about 10 seconds to make a great first impression,” said Ewud, who now lives in Redding and is a graduate of the Christian Heritage School based in Trumbull. “The first thing the employer sees is you.”
But not everyone has the resources to buy a suit at a retail store, which could often be an expensive purchase. Ewud’s Bethel-based organization provides suits to college graduates and veterans in need — free of charge.
The program, which was launched in 2010, was started to help college graduates. When the program began, only one in two graduates were getting jobs right out of college.
“We thought this was one way we could help college graduates be more competitive and presentable,” Ewud said.
The organization has since branched out to the veterans. Scott Sokolowski, the organization’s founder, served in the Air Force and saw a need to help his fellow servicemen.
Sokolowski opened the program to veterans to get them “back on their feet” and help make for a smoother transition to civilian life, Ewud said.
Veterans and college graduates don't have to worry about the quality of Save-A-Suits wear: Each suit that makes its way to a veteran or college graduate is in mint condition, Ewud said.
“We hand sort through every donation to make sure each suit is clean and in excellent condition and current styling,” Ewud said.
Some are brand new with tags, and the rest are gently used. The intention is to create a professional look for Save-A-Suit’s clients. “We want them to look like they got it at a store,” Ewud said.
Donations to Save-A-Suit are tax-deductible. The organization accepts suits, shoes, and ties — “basically anything that is business professional we accept,” Ewud said.
Although the group is based in Bethel, it has helped veterans in 38 out of 50 states. But “we get the most requests in the tri-state area because that’s where people know us most," Ewud said.
Ewud said that the organization also offers a college internship program. Students can receive a suit at the end of their internship, she said.
To learn more about Save-A-Suit, visit its website here.
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