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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Bakersfield Opens Professional Closet with Mayor

September 14, 2012

Chelsea Esquibias - Career Services Department Manager at SJVCIt’s not every day a campus hosts the mayor and opens a no-cost “Professional Closet” for its students – but that’s exactly what happened at the Bakersfield campus last week.

When Chelsea Esquibias interviewed for the Career Services Department Manager’s positiona few months ago, one of the questions she was asked was about what she might do to best serve SJVC student needs. That question stuck in her mind and was the seed for an idea to help students prepare for the job market in the way they dress, as well as academically. With that in mind SJVC’s Professional Closet got its start on campus.

Bakersfield mayor, Harvey Hall, helped to launch the Professional Closet campaign with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on campus and lauded the idea for meeting an important need.

Chelsea Esquibias echoed his sentiment when she said, “Many of our students are struggling financially and can really benefit from a little help toward looking, as well as feeling, like they belong in their new career.”

Students, staff and faculty – as well as employers with whom the college works to place students – have rallied to fill the closet for male and female students about to make their workplace debut. To supplement the racks of clothing being collected, Bakersfield campus students have held fundraisers over the past 3-months to purchase additional pieces to round out the selections, as well as basic hygiene supplies.

“Having a closet that is so convenient and open to all of the students that need it no matter what time or day, is great,” says student Jamie Biehl.

Because of the variety of career training programs offerred at the Bakersfield campus, the range of appropriate work clothing spans from business and business-casual to medical uniforms and industry appropriate work wear. Students are collecting clothing from relatives and friends who are in occupations that mirror the clothing needs of soon-to-be-graduating students.

“The campus support, once the call was made, has been phenomenal,” says Kelly Walters, Campus Director. “As a campus, we have spectacular support in donating and making the closet a success.”

Any donations of gently-used clothing can be made to the college through Chelsea Esquibias by calling the campus: 661/834-0126 or thorugh the Corporate office by calling Lauren Haney: 559/623-4816.


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