Erie�s abundance of nonprofit organizations has made creative problem-solving a way of life. It seems that all local charities are constantly looking for innovative ways to solve problems for those they serve. Not only does this help the wider community, it helps the nonprofits define a unique niche in the market � a place they can call their own. With this strategy, Erie nonprofits are good at finding the small keys that sometimes unlock the answers to larger problems. So it is with the Mercy Center for Women and the forces that led this nonprofit that serves homeless and low-income women to affiliate with the Dress for Success� Worldwide organization, known for helping women make successful transitions back to the workforce. Dress for Success� Erie, a program of Mercy Center for Women, solves the catch-22 that confronts disadvantaged women trying to enter the workforce: without a job, how can you afford a suit? But without a suit, how can you get a job? The premise of Dress for Success Erie is simple � providing an exchange point for gently-used professional clothing donations and women who are building key elements of a wardrobe that can open the door to employment success. In conjunction with the PA Department of Public Welfare, Mercy Center for Women and Dress for Success Erie promote the economic independence of women referred to them from their partnered referral agencies by providing professional and job-appropriate attire. The program also offers opportunities for supportive services and career development tools and assists women to succeed in their work places and in life. The Center�s program is conveniently located at 1051 East 28th Street, the corner of East 28th and Pennsylvania Avenue, and is on an EMTA bus route. Services are available by referral and appointment only. Call Mary Graziano, Program Director, at 456-0733 for more information or if you are interested in volunteering or donating new or gently used clothing appropriate for the workplace. This piece in the employment puzzle used to be a stumbling block for women entering the job market, but the vision and networking capacity of the Mercy Center for Women has turned this piece into a stepping stone.
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