HOPE Week: Career Gear

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Hiroki Kuroda, Alfonso Soriano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Roberts and Derek Jeter pose with Career Gear participant Leon Clarke Jr. after fitting him with a suit from DKNY.

The Yankees held the second day of HOPE Week 2014 (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) Tuesday by celebrating Career Gear, an organization that helps promote the economic independence of low-income men by providing financial literacy training, professional attire and career development tools.

Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hiroki Kuroda, Brian Roberts and Alfonso Soriano visited Career Gear’s office in lower Manhattan, where they helped measure and outfit men with suits provided by DKNY.

Career Gear participants then shared their respective success stories. These men and their families, along with administrators from Career Gear, were guests of the Yankees for Tuesday night’s game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

With the help of more than 80 referral agencies in the New York City area, Career Gear has helped more than 35,000 men transition from poverty to employment and financial self-sufficiency. Providing these men with a business suit is just the first step. Through weekly peer workshops, one-on-one mentoring and a supportive environment, clients make the connections and build the confidence to find employment and continue down the path of personal development.

“Our philosophy is that everyone deserves a second, third or fourth chance,” Career Gear executive director Gary Field said. “Sometimes just a first chance is what they need. We help men redefine themselves by providing them with the tools to get where they want to go.”

All participants are invited to take part in job and life-readiness programs. The curriculum resembles a typical school semester. Classes take place from August through December and January through June, covering topics critical to professional and personal success. Diverse offerings include résumé writing, financial investment, social skills and family health.

Frequently, the same men that have reaped the benefits of Career Gear’s programs return to serve as mentors to first-time participants.

“What I want to do is make a difference in people’s lives,” Field said. “I would like to help pass the skills that I have learned to the next generation of people that are dedicated to helping our world move forward.”

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Clarke, Soriano and Jeter

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