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Grant Helps SF Women Gain Career Skills

A grant worth more than $12,000 is helping an area organization that empowers women. Dress for Success Sioux Falls is preparing to host an eight-week program that helps women who are unemployed or underemployed prepare for career opportunities.

Dress for Success is known globally for its mission to provide women who are economically disadvantaged professional attire so they are physically prepared for the job search. But Lori Strasburg says people don’t always realize the program is about more than blazers and dress pants.

"First get them in that interview suit but then also giving them those skills that they need to obtain that job and to retain that job and to give them more than just the outfit or the suiting," Strasburg says.

Strasburg is the Going Places Network coordinator in Sioux Falls. She says $12,400 in grant money is expanding career services to include weekly meetings for two months. Strasburg says the Going Places Network program concentrates on helping women develop career skills, resume enhancements, interview skills, and even branches into understanding social media and digital networking.

Strasburg says Dress for Success has helped hundreds of women who are unemployed or underemployed.

"I have all kinds of stories of ladies that have come here, anywhere from young women who maybe have a child who are trying to advance themselves all the way to people who have just been displaced from a job with a master’s degree and are just trying to find a new path, so we meet them all where they are and try to address all of those needs," Strasburg says.

Strasburg says the summer program puts women in line with mentors, and it helps people connect with professional peers. She says the goal is to find 15 to 20 woman for the July and August program. Strasburg says local leaders are in talks with the national Dress for Success organization to host another similar workshop.

The grant money comes through the national organization from a donation from Walmart.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).