FSU’s Suitable Solutions program will run in the spring for the first time because of a $6,555 grant from the MutualOne Charitable Foundation.
According to Wendy Davis, office manager of Career Services and Employer Relations (CSER), Suitable Solutions usually only runs in the fall, but with the grant from MutualOne, awarded Jan. 29, the office can run the program again in the spring without the need for funding from other sources.
Suitable Solutions is an initiative founded in 2015 by the CSER office to assist students with acquiring professional attire and perfecting soft skills for future careers.
According to the office’s director, Dawn Ross, the program supports 50 students during the fall and will be able to support 25 students this spring semester.
Davis said Ross started the program after noticing many students coming into CSER were having trouble with interviewing skills and dressing the part.
“She took notice that students didn’t always have the professional attire to go on interviews, so she created a fund,” Davis said.
The program provides students with a $50 check they can use at TJX brand companies, which also foots part of the cost of clothing.
This spring, Ross and Davis said they partnered with Macy’s, which will give students a higher allowance of $100 for clothes.
“It’s been a huge success,” Davis said, “thanks to Dawn.”
Davis added despite the benefits of the program, it’s “costly” to run at a price tag of $6,500 – which includes money for workplace attire and a “Mocktail Mixer,” an event where students and company representatives can interact in a professional setting.
“Some students have gotten jobs just because of the mixer,” she said.
There is also a STEM Fair that students are required to attend, regardless of major, according to Davis. “It’s not only science-based – there are people from human resources, accounting departments. It’s science-based companies, but all different jobs are represented.”
She added, “It’s like speed dating! They’ll go from table to table, talking to many different employers.”
Davis said students are also required to attend the Spring Job and Internship Fair, which occurred on March 26.
CSER incorporates part of the cost of running the program in the fall into its budget, while the rest comes from Enterprise Holdings and TJX.
Davis said Ross and other members of CSER sat down with Mark Haranas, the president of MutualOne, who is also an alum of Framingham State.
“She [Dawn] found out MutualOne – an amazing community partner – does charitable grants. So, Dawn filled out the grant application, and we got it!” Davis said.
She added, “The result was just thrilling!”
Junior Kiara Davis, employed by CSER through a work-study program, said this semester will be her third time participating in Suitable Solutions.
“It’s definitely given me a jump start on networking and the career path in general,” Kiara Davis said.
She added, “It’s a program that really directs you on how to do everything that you need to do – resumes, interviewing, everything. It’s kind of like a career coach for a lot of people, and that’s really supportive as well.”
Ross said Suitable Solutions is “an outstanding program that helps students develop valuable networking and professional skills that are important for landing a good job or internship.”
She added, “I’m so glad we are able to offer these types of services to our community through [CSER], and I’m grateful to MutualOne for its generous support of the effort.”