North County Works gives jobseekers head-to-toe professional look

North County Works gives jobseekers head-to-toe professional look
From left: Logan Bentz, thrift store senior assistant manager, Jennifer Conte, employment support coordinator, and Rashaw Goodwin, thrift store assistant manager, collect clothing donations at the store in Oceanside. Community Resource Center Thrift Stores are also located in Carlsbad, Encinitas and San Marcos. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Community Resource Center Thrift Stores in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and San Marcos are wrapping up their business clothing drive April 1 for the upcoming North County Works “A Fresh New Look” event in May.

The stores have gathered men and women’s business attire. Everything from gently used suits to briefcases and dress shoes have been collected.

“We’ve gotten an overwhelming response,” Jennifer Conte, Community Resource Center employment support coordinator, said. “At first we were worried that we might not have enough options. It looks promising right now.”

The two-day “A Fresh New Look” event prepares job seekers, who have been out of the workforce for a while, for the employment interview process, and follows up the second day with a jobs fair where they can put what they learned to work.

Skills taught the first day include how to master an interview, and tips on professional dress.

Plans for the event are still being finalized, but the hope is to involve wardrobe and makeup professionals who can give job seekers all the tools they need to make a positive first impression.

Each participant will have an opportunity to practice interview skills, learn how to navigate a job fair and receive a complete business outfit.

“Men’s Warehouse will show how to properly wear a suit and get the fit right,” Conte said. “In the women’s section there will be professional dress consultants, and women’s hair and makeup.”

“A lot of our clients are low income and can’t afford these types of services.

“We’re trying to teach them to go into an interview, even for a construction job, looking as sharp as you can.”

Conte said a professional look helps a job seeker stand out and conveys their sincerity.

Business dress tips include wearing neat, well-fitted, modest attire, and closed-toe dress shoes.

“Many of our clients have been out of work for quite some time,” Conte said. “This is a refresher.”

Job seekers will be able to select a suit off the rack. Fit experts will guide them to find the right size.

“This is a start,” Conte said. “Job seekers want to better their lives as professionals.”

Employers participating in the job fair will be looking to hire entry level employees.

North County Works is a collaborative of North County nonprofit agencies that work together within Alliance for Regional Solutions.

Each nonprofit runs an independent back-to-work program in addition to North County Works’ efforts.

The purpose of North County Works is to identify and reduce barriers that job seekers face in gaining employment. The collaborative strives to improve connections between employers and those seeking work.

This is the inaugural year for “A Fresh New Look” resource and job fair.

Job seeker participation is limited to clients already working with North County Works. About 100 participants are expected.

Businesses that would like to participate in the jobs fair can still contact North County Works chair Nicole Heesen at



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