By Carol Cain
CBS 62

Everyone wants to be a TJ Maxx “Fashionista” and thanks to the generosity of the retailer and Jackets for Jobs – a nonprofit helping women transition from unemployment to finding jobs – hundreds of women will be able to join the ranks of the employed after visiting a Detroit store and selecting the latest career fashions.

It’s part of the effort to help women in the Welfare to Work program find jobs. Jackets for Jobs, Inc. (JFJ) and TJX Company (parent company of T. J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods) teamed up in the endeavor which provides the clothing at no cost.

“One of the things that blew me away today was the clothing that TJ Maxx provided was geared specifically for JFJ and comes directly to TJX from the buyers,” said Karen Love, who was on hand observing volunteers from TJMaxx restocking the racks with career clothing on Wednesday.

Jackets for Jobs, Inc. (JFJ), a Detroit-based nonprofit founded by entrepreneur Alison Vaughn in 2000. She has received merchandise from T.J.Maxx four times a year – before the change of seasons. JFJ also provides employment etiquette, career skills training and professional clothes to low-income individuals. Since its founding the group has assisted over 11,000 people.

The TJX Company, a $17 billion company, formed the partnership with JFJ in 2008. It is part of the nationally recognized Welfare-to-Work program with the goal of educating and supporting individuals working toward independence. T.J. Maxx replenishes clothes several times a year to ensure that clothing needs are met from season-to-season.
TJX has been a trailblazer in the effort, having also hired over 18,000 individuals from the welfare rolls since 1997.

“We believe it is our obligation as a good corporate citizen to help place people into private sector jobs from welfare,” said Karen Hume, District Manager for TJX. “Most importantly, we have found these associates to be well qualified and extremely loyal. Our program has been so successful that we have held seminars to help other companies develop their own Welfare-to-Work programs,” she added.

As Detroit has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, Vaughn, CEO of JFJ, said: “This partnership has been a win-win for the City of Detroit, Jackets for Jobs and the TJX group.

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(Carol Cain is Senior Producer and Host of “Michigan Matters.” She writes a column on business and politics in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at 248-355-7126)


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