October 24th, 2023
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced $588,820 in American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA) to Dress For Success Rochester (DFSR) to renovate their DFS Express mobile boutique and career center. The funding is part of the County Executive’s Bring Monroe Back initiative to use the federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars awarded to the county to invest in transformative projects that address critical community needs.
The newly renovated mobile boutique provides free professional clothing and accessories, coaching and interview training to low-income, job-ready women of all ages to help them take the next step in their professional journey. The mobile boutique allows Dress for Success Rochester to serve more women in Monroe County and eliminates barriers such as access to business attire and transportation that some women face when seeking employment services.
“First impressions are lasting impressions. This innovative mobile boutique will be transformative, as it meets women where they live and provides the services they need to look and feel confident as they pursue life-changing career opportunities,” said County Executive Bello. “Thank you Dress for Success Rochester for all you do to serve women in our county. Thanks to the Monroe County Legislature for approving this grant and Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer and Congressman Morelle for securing the American Rescue Plan Act funds to make this happen.”
"Thanks to organizations like Dress for Success Rochester, we have an incredible opportunity to shape and uplift the next generation of young women in the workforce. We aim to empower them with the confidence and knowledge necessary not just to excel during interviews but also to foster a profound sense of belonging in professional settings - the DFS Express Mobile Boutique will do just that," said Monroe County Legislator Jackie Smith. "The significance of this ARPA money will help this program thrive and is poised to be a game-changer for all young women across the Finger Lakes region and right here in Monroe County to offer free professional attire, workforce training and interview training for low-income women."
“The Dress for Success Rochester Express mobile boutique and career center brings services directly to their clients. This will ensure that whether in a job interview, at a business meeting, or attending a networking event, clients can establish themselves without the financial barriers involved in purchasing professional work attire. I am proud to support their efforts,” said Monroe County Legislator Linda Hasman.
This project was selected as part of Bring Monroe Back, Monroe County’s plan that will utilize federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Through the efforts of Congressman Joseph D. Morelle, and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Monroe County is the recipient of $144,080,127 in local fiscal recovery funds.
“Reaching the goal of economic independence can be challenging for women emerging from difficult situations such as poverty or abuse,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “Our area is blessed to have Dress for Success working to prepare women for not just new careers, but also promising futures. I’m proud to have delivered this federal funding, and grateful to County Executive Bello for his commitment to ensuring everyone in our community has the chance to thrive.”
“Dress For Success Rochester ensures that low-income women in the community have equal opportunities to pursue job opportunities and make a great first impression,” said US Senator Charles Schumer. “County Executive Bello has set the standard high for distributing the American Rescue Plan funds that I secured for local governments, and this mobile boutique is yet another example of the County listening to the needs of the community and providing them with resources to not only succeed, but thrive.”
“For nearly a decade, Dress for Success Rochester has worked to support the needs of women entering the workforce, with an array of services designed to support them at every step of the process,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “With the support of County Executive Bello and the Monroe County Legislature, DFSR has renovated its mobile boutique and career center to bring free professional clothing and job skills training to individuals throughout the region. I’m proud to have fought for this funding through the American Rescue Plan, and look forward to seeing the positive impact this boutique will have for our community members.”
Since opening its doors in 2015, DFSR has provided hundreds of women with coaching, professional attire, soft skills and computer skills training to make their job search and entry into the workforce a success. DFSR directly addresses the impact of women out of work, those facing employment change and those with reduced access to tools and opportunities needed to improve their employable skills.
“Monroe County awarding us this substantial funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is like giving a small seed the nourishment it needs to grow into a towering tree. It symbolizes the belief in the transformative power of empowerment and self-sufficiency,” said Dress for Success Rochester CEO, Alyssa Whitfield. “With this support, Dress for Success Rochester can magnify our impact, helping even more unemployed and underemployed women overcome adversity, achieve economic independence, and thrive in work and life.”
The mobile boutique renovations are complete and will be seen at public and community events throughout the county.
To learn more about DFSR, go to movewomenforward.org.