Vickie Randall was homeless six years ago.
She was staying at a downtown Sioux Falls shelter, trying to find a job and find her way.
Eventually, she landed a job in housekeeping management, where she still leads a team today.
Dress for Success helped her get there. The nonprofit helped her find clothes for interviews, update her resume and encourage her in her job search.
“It was such a blessing at the time to have that assistance and support,” Randall said at the Embe women’s programming open house Wednesday, which celebrated a recent renovation of the first floor to include the Dress for Success boutique and professional development center.
Now, with the renovation completed, such programming will be able to reach and help more women, said Megan Bartel, EmBe Executive Director of Women’s Programming.
In addition to its closet of donated professional clothes, Dress for Success and Embe offers programming to prepare women with resources and tools to enter or re-enter the workforce.
“EmBe women’s programming helps the community by filling in gaps of support resources and networks to find out where women are and need to be,” Bartel said. “It better aids our community in providing support services to those who need it, helps our workforce and makes the community better because it helps people living here become their best selves.”
Such programs include a financial basics course, a leadership course and a Co.Starters course starting later this year, which helps aspiring or early entrepreneurs build their businesses. Both programs are free, and the Co.Starters program will also offer free childcare during its evening classes.
The renovation itself, which is where GreatLife used to be housed on EmBe’s main level, also includes a new lobby area, networking space and a private office where women can conduct online interviews. Computers are also available to apply for jobs or update resumes.
Bartel also stressed that EmBe is hoping to meet women where they are and “remove barrier to accessing support, education and connections.” For example, she plans to meet with women at downtown shelters to offer resources and connections, instead of requiring them to attend a seven-week course at EmBe.
“When you think of needing support and aren’t sure where to turn or go next, we want you to think of EmBe,” Bartel said. “And if we can’t provide information or a program to help, we’ll find someone who can.”
In addition to donated clothes, EmBe and Dress for Success are looking for volunteers and financial donations.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Embe professional development center, Dress for Success boutique