Dress for Success awarded funds for workforce development program

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Margaret Tantillo, Sen. Lesser, Sen. Gomez, Rep. Gonzalez, Rep. Ramos, and Dress for Success staff (Courtesy: Office of Senator Eric P. Lesser)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – State officials announced funding for a workforce development program at Dress for Success Western Massachusetts.

Senator Eric Lesser was joined by Senator Adam Gomez, Representative Carlos Gonzalez, and Representative Orlando Ramos, and Margaret Tantillo, Executive Director of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts to announce $25,000 in funding on Friday. The funding was passed by by the Senate and House and signed into law by Governor Baker in July for the FY22 budget.

The program is designed to help women who are unemployed that are looking to enter or re-enter the workforce. According to a news release sent to 22News from the Office of Senator Eric Lesser, the funding will aid their workforce development programs that include:

  • Employment suitings to provide applicants and newly-employed women with professional attire
  • Career coaching and digital mentoring programs that are designed to bridge access and knowledge gaps for each individual woman served based on her specific needs and obstacles preventing her from joining the workforce
  • Workforce readiness curriculum that includes soft skill development, professional and personal brand, social media presence, task management, and goal setting, interviewing techniques, and more.

“The pandemic has had a massive economic impact on women, and in particular, women of color. This past year, female workforce participation dropped to 56%—the lowest it’s been in over 30 years,” said Senator Lesser. “Dress for Success Western Mass helps women prepare for interviews, outfits them in professional attire, trains in digital literacy, and develops soft skills—things that we take for granted. The demand has never been greater. This funding will help them continue their mission, a mission that has never been more urgent.”

“Dress for Success helps women in our community who are unemployed or looking to enter or re-enter the workforce. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve shifted to a virtual format and added innovative ways to help our women gain access to technology and connectivity so they can succeed in our new digital world,” said Margaret Tantillo, Executive Director of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts. “We are grateful for Senator Lesser’s continued support and for championing our women and helping to secure state funding to support for our programs.” 

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