In April, five representatives from Santander Bank delivered more than 120 professional outfits to the young people in CASES’ Jobs for America’s Graduates New York (JAG NY)  employment and education program. CASES was one of three organizations chosen by Santander staff to receive the donated clothing, collected through a Suit Drive in Santander branches across the New York City metropolitan area. Along with their generous donation of men’s and women’s suits, shoes, and other professional attire, members of Santander’s Black Employee Network offered professional and financial advice to JAG youth in a Q&A session at CASES’ Downtown Brooklyn office. The afternoon concluded with a demonstration on how to properly tie a tie and a résumé workshop to help JAG participants make their best impression when walking into a job interview.
The event was organized by CASES’ JAG Specialist Aleks Filkoski and Santander Community Partnerships Manager Toby Singh Baba. Santander employees Shaun Asbury, Nadia Joseph, Paul B. Smith, Fred Korets, and Tranisha Wharton attended the event and drew from their broad professional knowledge and experiences to answer questions from JAG participants ranging from “What was your first job?” to “How can I start building credit?” Santander employees offered a mix of personal and professional advice along with sharing their own résumés and describing their best interviews—from both sides of the interview process.
Since CASES implemented the program in 2016, JAG NY has enrolled more than 170 young people age 17-24 who are out-of-school, do not have a high school diploma, and have been involved in the criminal justice, foster care, and/or shelter system(s). While engaged in the 18-month JAG NY program, participants attend classes at CASES’ Downtown Brooklyn or Central Harlem offices in preparation for the high school equivalency (HSE) exam, complete 20 modules of the JAG employment-readiness curriculum, and participate in community service and/or entrepreneurial projects organized by the youth-led JAG Professional Association. JAG NY staff also connect participants with paid internship and employment opportunities.
Thanks to Santander, CASES staff will now be able to offer professional clothing to JAG participants who are preparing for a last-minute interview or do not have professional attire of their own.
“We are grateful to our partners at Santander for their enthusiasm and generosity in organizing the Suit Drive,” Mr. Filkoski, the JAG Specialist who helped organize the event, said. “They not only donated clothing but also offered our participants their time and advice. We look forward to future workshops and mentoring opportunities with the Santander Black Employee Network.”
CASES is pleased to recognize the Santander Bank Charitable Contributions Program  for its recent $10,000 grant to support the JAG NY program. Thanks also to the six Santander employees who generously donated their time and expertise along with the many more Santander employees who donated more than 120 suits to JAG NY youth.