The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


July 24, 2008

Clothing program provides men, women opportunity to ... Dress for success



Lajanda Byrd of Johnstown is flying high as she starts her job with a new wardrobe.

Like many in the area, Byrd couldn’t afford to dress for success on her own, but because of Pa. Working Wardrobe, a new program offered through a partnership with the Cambria County Assistance Office and Goodwill Industries, she was able to pick out a week’s worth of clothing suitable for the workplace at no charge.

Byrd started her job in the human resources department at MetLife Financial Services in Richland Township last week and was the first client to take advantage of the newly implemented clothing program.

She was so impressed with her experience that she wrote a letter to Ann Torledsky, vice president of work-force development at Goodwill, and sent a thank-you note to Linda Quinn, employment specialist at Goodwill in charge of the program.

“I found out about the program after I had an interview and was hired,” Byrd said.

“I wasn’t going to go because I thought it would be demeaning.”

Byrd found out that going to Pa. Working Wardrobe was like having a personal shopper.

“Linda was so sweet and personable,” Byrd said.

“She called me the day before and asked what times were good for me and what sizes and colors I preferred.”

When Byrd came into the Goodwill offices at 540-542 Central Ave. in the Moxham section of Johnstown, Quinn had a selection of clothing ready for her.

“I received slacks, shirts, blouses and jewelry,” Byrd said. “These were new clothes with the tags on. I can mix or match different outfits.”

Byrd, who is 35, has four children and shops for them first.

“I was able to pick out a signature necklace for her that will go with every outfit,” Quinn said.

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