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(L-R) Hibriten High Exceptional Children's teacher Ashley Briscoe joins in the festive celebration with Hibriten students Loni Vinitsky and Trip Rash, along with Dakota Coffey of South Caldwell High School

Dress for Success Event Guides Students Towards Excellence in Caldwell County

An initiative to successfully prepare graduates to navigate the workplace, the “Dress for Success” event is held annually at the Education Center to empower students with essential skills while building confidence and fostering career development. Dress for Success provides seniors in Caldwell County with the opportunity to gain real-world employment skills with support and encouragement from community partners,” said Angela Brown, Exceptional Children’s Transition Coordinator. “It is very rewarding to see the students showcase their skills and demonstrate to employers that they are ready for employment after high school.”

Students participating in the event have completed the pre-employment transition services training. The interactive workshops at “Dress for Success” cover topics such as appropriate workplace attire, effective communication, and self-advocacy that align with the school to work transition efforts. Students also receive valuable insights into job interview skills and the importance of presenting oneself with confidence and professionalism. One of the initiative’s components highlights peer mentoring sessions, which invites experienced professionals and school administration to share their career journeys and provide guidance to students. These peer mentors encourage and offer students real-world perspectives and valuable advice on shaping their futures.

A special luncheon is held to celebrate the students’ accomplishments and the school’s collaborative efforts. Representatives from partnering agencies, including Vocational Rehabilitation, Watauga Opportunities, and Family Support Network/HOPE, are involved in the day’s activities and offer networking and insights into career development.

“We believe in empowering our students with the skills and confidence they need to thrive in their future careers,” said Robert Semple, Executive Director of Student Support Services. “The Dress for Success” event is not just about dressing well; it’s about equipping our students with the knowledge and mindset to excel in the world of work.”

This year’s event, in December, received overwhelming support from partnering agencies, the school community and local businesses, including Food Lion, McDonald’s, Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, Bo’s Family Entertainment and the Great and Fleet Genius. Zack Arrington, a recent graduate employed with MDI (leading wholesale food distributor) as a truck driver said, “It’s encouraging for businesses to see such proactive initiatives that go beyond the scope of traditional education in preparing students for success after graduation”.