BY Monice Maurice
Wareham High School
The Viking Career Closet is a project to serve our entire high school. It will be the creation of a GREATLY reduced professional clothing retail outlet where students will feel comfortable to find clothing for career and college interviews, as well as, DECA and Leadership conferences throughout the year.
According to DESE- over 43% of our students are classified as economically disadvantaged, many of our students do not have the financial resources to purchase professional attire for those special events in their high school lives. Whether it is an athletic banquet, a scholastic reception, a leadership conference, a job interview, a college visit or their first semi-formal dance- every high school student should feel confident walking into that room knowing that they have dressed the part.
Through press releases, social/digital media and community outreach- we will solicit professional clothing, shoes, belts and jewelry for donation. We will clean and ticket these items for sale with a goal of providing the student with a professional outfit for a cost of $25.00 or less head to toe.
The Viking Career Closet will be open 3 days per week during Advisory Period (10:30 -10:50), During Lunch Period (10:50-11:17 and 12:17 – 12:44) and 3 days afterschool (2:15 -3:00). The retail outlet will be staffed by marketing and management students who will earn scholarship dollars that will be deposited into their individual student accounts. These monies may be used for their competition fees, membership dues, and any school related activities.
How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
The success of the Viking Career Closet will be measured in a multiple of ways.
First- through foot traffic. Store “employees” will keep a tally of customers during each open shift and record that number on our daily retail sheet.
Second- through merchandise inventory. The amount of purchasing volume will be a clear indicator of the success of the program.
Third- through community partnership and donation of professional items.
Fourth- through revenue generated , which will be reinvested to fill inventory holes and provide the “scholarship pay ” to the “employees” of The Viking Career Closet.
Benefit to the students and the school
The benefit to the school
This project will be inclusive of all students but particularly to those in the 43% of the economically disadvantaged. By providing clean, professionally appropriate attire at a VERY reasonable price- our students can not only feel confident in their appearance when they address some of those anxiety-ridden events, but also it may remove one of the barriers of participation. This can result in the sense of belonging in a club, organization, and school.
The student “employees” will enjoy real world application of their marketing and management content objectives. They will develop transferable skills that will be utilized in their future career and college endeavors.
The next anticipated phase of the Viking Career Closet would be the Viking Career/College Conference. This would be a partnership with our community professionals, businesses and individuals. We would like to provide mentoring, inquiry interviews, job shadowing, and college and career counselling in a conference room that is a professional setting. This allows our students the opportunity to interact with our community partners in a comfortable, professional setting.
The DECA program (marketing, management, finance, hospitality and entrepreneurial) is self funded. We do offer “scholarship pay” to all of our students in our many fundraising/ applied learning activities. This however does not cover all the costs for participation in our many leadership conferences, social events, and academic competitions.
Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
We are currently in the process of securing a location within the high school and not our current storage location closet.
We (the students and teachers in the marketing ed program) are in a continual process of accepting, logging, sorting, cleaning and “displaying ” items.
If we were to receive the grant, the timeline would look like this…
October 15-November 1 : Move to an appropriate location within the school. Secure vendors of equipment as approved vendors with the town of Wareham.
December 1: Set up current inventory on the make shift equipment, program the register, organize electronically all record keeping needs. Run a public relations outreach campaign to generate donations.
January 1: If funds received, order the equipment.
February 1: Renovate the Viking Career Closet retail outlet. Create and distribute press releases announcing the new opening. Host a school-wide fashion show of our merchandise to generate interest and to showcase the quality and selection.
March 1: Re-open for Business. Begin summer employment outreach/local partnerships.
April 1: Run a “Prom Special” with our collection of currently donated formal wear (approximately 50 dresses/gowns). Solidify summer employment partners.
May 1: Run a “Credit for Life” promotion for our seniors attending the financial workshop.
June 1: Host a “Summer Employment Job Fair”.
July and August: Clean, Re-stock, Evaluate Policies/Procedures, Develop a Promotional Plan for the Upcoming Year.