Free suit program offers thread of hope to down-and-out
Edmonton employment counsellor says recycled suits make all the difference for job-seekers
An Edmonton man says he's changing the lives of the city's unemployed — one suit at a time.
Doug Stacey, a manager at the non-profit job training group EmployAbilities, is giving away free suits to men who are on the job market.
"We've got guys walking through the doors with great qualifications, great potential, but they didn't have the look to match," said Stacey, as he sized suits in an old downtown office donated as a storage space.
"By us putting the suit first, that hurdle is overcome."
Stacey got the idea from a similar suit drive by the men's clothing store, Moore's. He's received thousands of suits from the store and many others from those eager to give their threads new life.
Brian Blumenschein, who lost his job several months ago, was looking for work in an office environment. While upgrading his computer skills at EmployAbilities, Stacey fitted him with two used suits.
Blumenschein said the suits helped land him a job in the sales department of an Edmonton educational magazine.
"Going to school, it's just not something that I could afford at the time, so it was a nice break," he said.
"It's a huge boost for your confidence."
Stacey said he's seen Blumenschein's story repeated countless times.
"What I'm starting to see is that by throwing some nice clothes on them, letting them take another look at themselves in the mirror and they see themselves as, you know, dressed up, cleaned up, ready to go – they start thinking that way."
Now, while Stacey said he still has a good supply of used suits to donate, he is in urgent need of shoes to complete the outfits.