Charlotte-based retailer, Belk, provided professional work attire for students at Johnson C. Smith University Friday. With the help of the university’s business advisory board, Belk donated enough clothing to help dozens of students.

Items included ties, shoes, dresses, skirts, and shirts. The professional clothes will be kept inside a closet located in the Center for Career Development on campus.

Sonia Youngblood, Assistant Director of Career Readiness said, “It’s one of the largest programs we have, other than work-study that students utilize.” 

According to Youngblood, the closet benefits about one-third of the student body; providing the proper professional attire for students during internships, job interviews and career fairs.

“Students want these clothes, they are very fashionable, they make them feel good in the classroom and job interviews,” said Dr. Lucinda Blue, Assistant Professor of Business. 

Dr. Blue, a member of the business advisory board, has encouraged her business students, who dress professionally every Wednesday, to visit the closet. 

Youngblood added, “This gives us here in the center an opportunity to talk about the other services we provide.” Students can learn of new internships, jobs and work-study opportunities while shopping for professional attire.

In addition to the donation by Belk, American Dry Cleaners on North Graham Street has provided free cleaning services to the university with help from Dr. Blue.

“We give students quality and we make sure the clothes are clean,” Dr. Blue said.

Senior, Donnell Thompson said, "I like dressing up. There's a lot of people that will walk up to you because you look professional."

Thompson said wearing new clothing gives him added confidence for any interview or presentation.

Quick facts provided by the University:

  • Provides professional wear for students in classrooms, internships, and jobs
  • Educates student on professional work image
  • Located in our center for career and professional development, the career closet begins dialogue for services provided by the center including: internships, job opportunities, career fair and programming to develop career readiness
  • According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), professionalism is one of the top four competencies employers value most