The United States’ unemployment rate in August 2019 was at 3.7%. In the CNMI, that rate is at a staggering 11%, with over 1,000 unemployed.
To help address this, the Women’s Affairs Office partnered with other government and community partners for the “Dress for Success” event last Friday at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center.
Felicidad Ogumoro, administrator of the Commonwealth Women’s Association program, said the event gives women the opportunity to meet with different businesses, as well as see other community opportunities that women can turn to for help.
Gently-used business and work clothes and fashion accessories were also given away at the event.
“Our job is to assist women in their quest to be placed in jobs that they are interested in, and that they could succeed,” Ogumoro said.
The event brought together 20 organizations to help address the challenges faced by women in terms of employment, like child care, health, fashion, and education. These included Karidat Social Services, the Northern Marianas College, Lady Diann Torres Foundation, Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, Commonwealth Health Care Corp.’s Division of Public Health, Department of Labor, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Pena House, and T-Galleria DFS, among others.
One of the participants, NMC student Eloise Lopez, said the event not only helps in getting a job, but also helps women develop skills and confidence.
“I’m here to learn so I could share [what I would learn] with the youth, like creating a résumé or how to look professional wearing a business suit,” said Lopez.
The participants were each given goody bags and were provided access to career counseling, child care services, violence in the workplace advice., and even fashion consultations and makeup sessions.
First lady Diann Torres also gamely mixed and matched a couple of business suits to show the participants how quickly it takes to shift from casual to professional. Torres, however, also emphasized that character and attitude are what matter most.
“Character and your attitude, no matter how you look, is what really matter,” Torres said. “Dressing for success is being comfortable with yourself, your beliefs, the people around you. It means going out and seeking for what will bring out the best in you. Give it your best.”
The U.S. Labor Department says that August’s national unemployment rate has been near the lowest level in five decades, for the third straight month.