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'Career Gear,' 'Dress For Success' Give Suits To Unemployed For Job Interviews

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An unemployed man tries on a suit at Career Gear on the <em>Today Show</em>.
An unemployed man tries on a suit at Career Gear on the Today Show.

Your mother always told you to dress for success. But for some unemployed job-seekers, that can be tough.

Enter New York-based nonprofit Career Gear, which since it first started in 1999 has helped more than 30,000 low-income men become self-sufficient by providing them with suits for job interviews, according to its website (h/t the Houston Chronicle).

The help comes as America is facing an unemployment crisis. The average unemployed person has been out of work for 40 weeks -- up from 17 weeks during the same period 5 years ago. One in 12 American workers are unemployed, up from one in 22 American workers during the same period 5 years ago, according to the Labor Department.

Many job-seekers need all the help they can get. A survey of 100 firms cited by KSL TV 5 in Utah found that 98 percent of the businesses surveyed said that recent college graduates need to be more prepared for job interviews. Today, roughly one in two recent college graduates do not have a full-time job, according to a recent Rutgers study.

But Career Gear doesn't stop helping its customers once they land a gig. Clients can get a second suit once they get a job, according to the Chronicle. But limited hours and a small budget prevent Career Gear's Houston branch from helping more people. Many of the suits come from Men's Wearhouse, which donates suits that were returned by customers or that were manufactured in the wrong color.

Unemployed women can go to Dress for Success, a New York-based nonprofit with dozens of locations around the world that was founded in 1997. Then they can get a second suit from Dress for Success when they secure a job, according to Dress for Success' website. Dress for Success helps more than 65,000 per year and has helped more than 650,000 women so far, according to the website.

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