Publish Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2018 08:30:33 -0700

Trinette Barrie in Career Closet

Trinette Barrie, a career counselor at Crafton Hills College, shows off an item of clothing inside the newly opened CHC Career Closet. Barrie opened the space to helps students in need successfully build confidence in their appearance while on job interviews. There will be an open house for the Career Closet on Thursday, Oct. 11 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Photo credit: Kristina Hernandez

Confidence is key in any job interview. And – often – that confidence is built on appearance.

For some students at Crafton Hills College, being able to afford interview-appropriate attire is often considered a luxury. So, Trinette Barrie, a CHC career counselor, decided to do something about it and established a Career Closet on campus to address that need.

Situated in the Crafton Assessment Office, the closet is a specially designed space that feels more like a mini pop-up store housing clothing suitable for all shapes, sizes and genders. Some items come with a price tag still attached, while others are gently used. The best part: all pieces of clothing have been donated by CHC faculty, staff and students.

Having worked in higher education prior to arriving at Crafton, Barrie knew first-hand the struggles some students face when readying themselves to enter the workforce.

“Half the battle of any interview is someone feeling good about themselves,” she said. “And why should someone have to hinder themselves from their own success because they don’t have money to purchase anything to wear?”

Each item in the Career Closet is free for the taking – but there are a few rules to follow.

First, students must contact the Career Center to schedule an appointment. From there, students are escorted to the closet where they can browse its racks and select up to two complete outfits to take home and keep. However, students will only be able to access the closet only once during a semester to allow others the chance to benefit from it, said Barrie.

The closet has already seen a bit of success even though it is currently in its soft opening phrase. In a few weeks, the closet will celebrate its formal introduction to the Crafton community during a scheduled open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11.

From there, Barrie plans on marketing the space as much as she can. An idea she is toying around with is having a rack of clothing on display during Club Rush to show the quality of items available.

But one of the biggest struggles the space will face in the future is donations. Barrie hopes the open house will encourage others in the CHC community and beyond to goods to the space, such as professional blouses, suits, undergarments, shoes and jewelry. Donated items must not have any holes or stains.

Barrie said she does not have a target number in mind for how many students could utilize the space in its first year. However, a handful of students have already benefitted from it, including Rafael “Eddie” Machado, a 20-year-old engineering major from Redlands.

Machado said stepping into the space helped boost his confidence because it gave him an idea of the type of attire employers are looking for. And, he said, “as long as more people start hearing about it, I’m sure there will be more donations for the closet in there and a wider array of clothing that will help boost the confidence in other students not only in a job interview but what they wear in public.”

Arrangements for donations or appointments may be made by contacting the Career Center by email at careercenter@craftonhills.edu or by phone at 909-389-3399.

To learn more about the open house – which is free and open to the public - contact Barrie by email at tbarrie@sbccd.cc.ca.us