J.C. Penney helps Rattlers look their best

Assistant Director of Career Center Marie Smallwood and JCPenney Store Manager
Photo Submitted by Loren Lyons

The J.C. Penney Suit-Up Event allows students at FAMU to purchase professional attire at a discounted price in advance of upcoming career fairs.

The store offered up to 60 percent off on name-brand business wear Sunday evening. This occasion is in preparation for the career fair that happens once every fall and spring semester.

The career center hopes the suit up-event will prepare students for the real-world job experience and eliminate excuses of not attending the career fair.

 The partnership started three years ago when the director of the career center,Shereada Harrell, noticed FAMU had not participated in the suit-up program for career centers. She reached out to J.C. Penney’s corporate office to organize the event with the local store. This made FAMU the first historically black university to collaborate with J.C. Penney’s suit-up project.

The event included refreshments, music, giveaways of J.C. Penney’s gift cards and suits, and Sephora mini makeovers.

 “I think this event will help students better connect to our faculty members, because the faculty members are always stressing the importance of business professional and how to speak and dress. It puts students in a better position to get what we need,” said volunteer and student Tabitha Jewell.

Assistant director of the Career and Professional and Development Center, Marie Smallwood, hopes that students gain knowledge on what professional attire looks like. To do this, handouts of professional attire do’s and don’ts were provided, as well as assigning volunteers in both the women’s and men’s clothing sections to aid the students as personal shoppers.

 “For my first year, I did not really have much business attire, and now I do,” said Chanel Carter, a freshman business major.

 Administrators at FAMU also got involved this year. “The upper administration is doing their giveaway as well. That was not planned it was an extra bonus. The good thing about it is that with them doing these suits, they have personally committed, like this is personally coming out of their own bank account and that is awesome,” said Smallwood.

More students are taking advantage of the J.C. Penney suit-up event. The number of participants and volunteers is steadily growing each year, Smallwood said. The suit-up event kicks off Career Expo week followed with the network gathering on Tuesday and the career and internship expo at the Lawson Center.