Optimists learn about suit project

As men of all ages begin to enter or re-enter the working world, the job interview becomes a passage most, if not all, will have to make. However, not all of these men have or can afford appropriate clothing – for the most part suits – for those all-important interviews.

Paul McKeon, founder of Columbia Suit Project, has recognized the need. He was the featured speaker at St. Andrews Optimists’ April 23 meeting where he spoke about the project.

McKeon has been in the custom clothing business for many years, representing the Tom James Company. Tom James specializes in custom-tailored suits for which McKeon personally measures the client and then works with tailors to render a perfect finished product.

The project maintains a central collecting closet where suits and sport coats are catalogued, dry cleaned, and given any minor repairs necessary.

The future interviewee then meets with project personnel and selects well-matched outfits. The interviewee’s name is embroidered in the coat and it becomes his own suit at that point. Donors can also bring dress shirts and ties to the closet.

To make the venture more holistic, the project also sponsors an interview readiness program that includes resume composition, verbal skills, and job retention coaching. The interview coaching is a six week program.

Interested people—either job applicants or potential donors—can do online research on the project at columbiasuitproject.org.

Pictured are Alan Taylor, Optimist Club President, Paul McKeon, and speaker host Brandon Poyner. McKeon is a Past President of St Andrews Optimists.