Detroit nonprofit organization helps people dress for employment

Jackets for Jobs helps Metro Detroiters find careers

DETROIT – A Detroit nonprofit organization has helped thousands of people find employment in the city, and it all comes down to having the right jacket.

"I never thought I would be able to purchase a house, provide for my kids, because my mother tried, and she wasn't able to do that for me," said Jackets for Jobs success story Dreama Porter-Johnson.

Porter-Johnson, a mother of four, said she never thought she'd be able to provide for her children, let alone have a career for the past four years.

"I'm not gonna lie: It made me cry, because I never thought that I'd be able to get so much assistance to be able to get on my feet and where I am today," she said.

"In order to have a job, you need suits and you need to look professional," Jackets for Jobs CEO Alison Vaughn said. "But in order to have the suit, you needed a job."

That's where Jackets for Jobs comes in. The Detroit-based nonprofit provides professional looks for women and men on the job hunt, free of charge.

"We are a part of helping to change someone's life," Vaughn said. "They're helping their children. They have a job now, so it's a good feeling."

Now entering its 20th year, Jackets for Jobs has helped 28,000 people find employment at its two locations on Detroit's east and west sides.

"It looks like you have all sizes?" asked Local 4's Evrod Cassimy.

"Yes, we have all sizes because, I say, unemployment comes in all sizes," Vaughn said. "When they come to Jackets for Jobs, they're going on their job search, and so we give them a complete outfit for their job search. If they get the job, they come back and show us proof that they have the job, and then we give them two more outfits. It's what we call 'working wardrobe.'"

While the company accepts donated clothes from the community, most of the clothes, shoes, ties and purses are brand new, thanks to a partnership with TJMaxx.

Jackets for Jobs helped Porter-Johnson become a caseworker for Access, a nonprofit that supports people in need. She used  to be one of those people, but now is proud to turn around and help others.

"You should have confidence no matter how old you are or what you're going through," Porter-Johnson said. "You have a chance. You can get a job. You've just got to have confidence. There are people out there who can help you."

Jackets for Jobs was just named the 2019 winner for Metro Detroit's best and brightest companies to work for. Click here for more information.

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