Preparing youth for the future

Teaching young people to dress for success during the 2014 Edward Lowe Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Day event.

Held in Berrien County, the annual Edward Lowe Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Day celebrates the achievements of southwest Michigan’s youngest entrepreneurs, as well as recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of area high school students through portfolio presentations. According to Michigan State University Extension, participants also have the opportunity to present business plans and attend educational seminars. The 2014 event was held May 6 on the Benton Harbor campus of Lake Michigan College; where I taught a seminar called Dress for Success.

So, what is the dress code for the job or career field of your interest? Think about your current wardrobe. If you were starting your dream job or internship tomorrow, what would you need to add to your closet? Dress for success was a topic that was identified as a need by past participants. Forty-two students attended the Dress for Success seminar which focused on:

  • Clothes at work
  • Traditional business attire
  • Business casual attire in the workplace
  • Details matter

I incorporated materials from the MSU Extension Career Preparation resources for Interviews for Success mixed with the 2013 Learning Seed curriculum entitled “Clothes at Work - Decoding Office Dress Codes.” In addition to creating a PowerPoint presentation, I used short Learning Seed DVD, and students participated in small group discussion and a miniature quiz bowl game that I created to be interactive and hands-on (the 4-H way!). Students were engaged in the seminar and teacher feedback was positive. Dress for Success even made the top 10 list of “your favorite part” of Young Entrepreneurs Day based on student evaluations. 

In addition to learning about how to dress for work, this seminar also enhanced life skills such as teamwork, communications, decision-making and listening skills.

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