Three years ago, low-income women – and particularly women of color – found themselves at the epicenter of New York City’s job destruction as the industries where they worked crumbled overnight. While economic recovery in the city is evident, disparities in employment remain along gender, racial and educational attainment lines. It is not surprising that in this environment, our clients need help and support to rebound.
Demand for Bottomless Closet services is up 80% from last year as more women in need are ready to re-enter the workforce. Operation Hope will raise vital funds to meet this increased demand for our services and the influx of new clients we anticipate in the fall.
Whether it’s interview preparation and coaching, professional outfitting, financial management advice or learning new digital literacy skills, by coming to Bottomless Closet each client will get access to the programs she needs to get back to work. Apart from these tangible services, each client who walks through our doors will receive something even more important – HOPE.
Even as the New York City Labor Market continues to recover, this recovery remains unbalanced. In fact, many industries where Bottomless Closet clients were heavily employed pre-pandemic such as foodservice, hospitality and retail are not predicted to make a full recovery until 2027.
A recent report showed that while employment for women with 4-year college degrees is up from 2019 levels, for women without college degrees, employment in January 2023 was 4.4% less than February 2020 – representing 1.6 million fewer women in the workforce nationally. Racial disparities also are evident and today in New York City the Black unemployment rate remains nearly four times higher than White unemployment.
In this environment Bottomless Closet clients – 83% of whom identify as women of color and 53% who report High School as their highest level of education – find themselves falling victim to this disparity in employment recovery among gender, racial and educational attainment lines.
At Bottomless Closet, we have over two decades of experience working with disadvantaged women seeking to enter the workforce. We help our clients to build their confidence and open their minds to new opportunities through 1:1 coaching, resume review and preparation and professional outfitting. In addition, we provide ongoing workshops for our clients to learn financial management, professional development and digital skills.
We know our programs work and typically 58% of our clients are hired after using our services. In 2022, we supported over 2,500 women on their journeys back to employment and financial independence.
So far in 2023, demand for our services has increased by 80% above 2022 levels as more women become ready to re-enter the workforce. At the same time, we are offering the most expansive range of programs in our history at our new 34th Street Location. By Labor Day, we will launch our first ever Computer Lab where clients can enhance their digital literacy skills and work on their job search. All funds raised by Operation Hope will support these vital programs and enable us to meet this growing demand.
In 2020, we first launched Operation Hope at a critical time when a staggering 70% of Bottomless Closet clients had lost their jobs almost overnight.
Since then, recovery from the lasting effects of the pandemic has taken time as the women we serve overcome not only job losses but loss of confidence and in many cases loss of their homes and even family members as well.
This year, as demand for our services increases, our goal for Operation Hope is to raise $65,000 by Labor Day which will fund our expanded range of interview and job readiness services at our new, enhanced 34th Street location.
We know so many of you have been there for us before and we appreciate your commitment to New York City women in need. Please consider supporting our efforts once again to empower the strong, resilient women we serve to get back to work and support their families.
Any donation you can make today, no matter how small (or big!), will be put to immediate use to provide a New York City woman in need with hope for a better future.