OC nonprofit organization Working Wardrobes helps veterans find career after service

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Monday, December 2, 2019
Local organization Working Wardrobes helps veterans find career after service
For some veterans, finding a career after service can be a difficult task. But local organization Working Wardrobes is trying to change that with wisdom and wardrobes.

Army Veteran Seung Kang is celebrating his new career as a relationship banker at Chase bank. It's been challenging to find steady work since leaving the military 14 years ago.

"I've had trouble transitioning to the civilian work force. For me the hardest thing was holding a civilian job for a long time," Kang said.

While Kang went through counseling for an anxiety disorder, he was referred to Orange County non-profit Working Wardrobes and its VetNet program.

"This is about helping people enter the workforce. This is all around giving people the tools so that they can be successful," said Jerri Rosen, founder and CEO of Working Wardrobes.

From resume help to job coaching and interview skills, the program eventually leads the veterans to a new wardrobe thanks to partnerships with donors like Men's Wearhouse.

"We want to make sure that they're empowered and dressed for success, to walk into that interview proud, confident, with ultimate purpose to achieve and ultimately be selected for that employment," said Michael Barrett, director of VetNet.

Barrett is a veteran himself. Serving fellow veterans in this way gives him joy.

"It's an empowering process. You can see huge smiles. You can see the confidence just growing after they're putting on that suit," Barrett said.

It's something the organization has been doing for nearly 30 years.

"Working Wardrobes is much more than clothing. This organization is really around workforce development and getting people back to work," Rosen said.

"They gave me that confidence I needed and that extra motivation I needed when I got discouraged from many failed attempts," Kang said.