From the time she engaged in women’s studies in college, Sheri Cole knew she wanted to help empower women. Today, she’s the executive director of Career Wardrobe, which provides professional clothing and job search workshops for unemployed men and women. The Philadelphia-based nonprofit recently opened locations in Delaware and Bucks counties.
1. Kendra Scott. “You can customize your own jewelry, which I really think is fun.”
2. Ed Sheeran. “I saw him when he was here for the Fourth of July concert a few years ago and just find him an amazing live musician.”
3. Ocean City, N.J. “I actually prefer to go in the off-season, when it’s still a little cold out.”
4. Harry Potter. “When I was an adult, it was one of the first books that I can remember staying up way past my bedtime to read.”
5. Zahav in Philadelphia. “I like all the little portions.”
MLT: How does providing professional attire and job training workshops impact your clients’ career searches?
SC: Ninety-eight percent of our clients feel more confident, more prepared. That leads to 97 percent of them staying engaged with their job search. Simply not giving up, when they hear “no” over and over again. It can be a very long process. That leads to 60 percent being employed, which ultimately leads to about 70 percent transitioning off of public assistance.
MLT: What made you want to work in this field?
SC: I started studying women’s studies when I was in college and always knew that I wanted to do something that would help to empower women to be their best selves. I’m the only person in my family to have gone to college, which I think is key to being able to have a professional career. I have always been drawn to helping women who haven’t had the advantages that I’ve had, to see how they can succeed themselves.
MLT: What are your future goals for Career Wardrobe?
SC: We’re continuing to grow our presence within the region. We’re sort of still new to figuring out what women in both Delaware and Bucks counties need to be more successful, and how to grow our support out there throughout the region. In Philadelphia, we’re about to embark on our first work experience internship program.