The last year at Dress for Success Sioux Falls has been remarkable. We are settled into our new building on West 18th Street and are serving more women than ever.
In 2016, we served 367 women. In the first quarter of 2017, we have served almost 120 and our projections for the year end keep rising. Our signature programs Women to the Workforce (a nine week workforce development program) and the Professional Women’s Group (a yearlong job retention program) are seeing increasing numbers in terms of participants and success rates. The first cohort of Women to the Workforce celebrated a 54 percent employment rate this spring and our Professional Women’s Group celebrated its first anniversary with 100 percent job retention rate.
We are successful because we have the most supportive and empowering volunteers. In the first quarter alone, our volunteers have spent an extraordinary 832 hours supporting our program through event planning, coaching, mentoring, presenting, sorting donations, cleaning, setting up, working and tearing down our closet sale and numerous other jobs. We simply cannot do the work we do without the support of these volunteers.
Dress for Success Sioux Falls was awarded the 2016 Rookie of the Year award last November at the Dress for Success Worldwide Conference in Chicago. This prestigious acknowledgment is awarded to affiliates who show consistent growth in serving clients, increasing services and number of volunteers supporting the effort.
In February, we were fortunate to have Dress for Success Worldwide CEO Joi Gordon serve as our keynote speaker at the In Her Shoes Empowerment Breakfast. As Joi spoke, the energy and excitement in the Convention Center was palpable. We have taken that energy and used it to train more volunteers, raise more money and ultimately give our clients the very best support we can. The support from the community and the success of our clients keep us motivated.
One of our recent clients said, “I am very excited that I got to meet such helpful and amazing women. If I could, I would let the world know how awesome their team is. I learned a lot from them and more. You guys are amazing, keep up the great work.”