April 13, 2022
Houston, TX – In honor of Black History Month, members of HCA Houston Healthcare’s The Voice Black Colleague Network organized a professional clothing drive in February to support students attending Texas Southern University (TSU), one of the nation’s largest historically black universities.
All 13 HCA Houston Healthcare hospitals participated in the donation drive for new or gently used professional business attire that could be placed in TSU’s Dress for Success Clothing Closet, which allows students to shop for interview attire at no cost, easing the financial burden that might be felt by some to look and feel their best for internship and job interviews.
Over 1,000 new or gently used items were donated by HCA Houston Healthcare colleagues from across the Greater Houston area from Conroe to Pearland, including suits, ties, dress shirts, slacks, skirts, shoes and other accessories. Several members of The Voice Black Colleague Network collected and sorted the donations and assisted in hand-delivering the items to the university on March 9. Items that did not fit the business attire requirement were donated to other local agencies.
“We are so proud of the numerous colleagues who rallied behind this effort and I sincerely thank The Voice committee leaders and volunteers for coordinating such a successful drive,” said Shannon Bradley, assistant vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at HCA Houston Healthcare. “Community engagement, mentorship and workforce development are key focus areas for HCA Houston Healthcare and this initiative allows us to address multiple goals. These types of resources are essential to students’ overall success and I’m glad we can play a role in their professional development.”
“We are ecstatic about our partnership with HCA Houston Healthcare, which gives our students access, exposure and internship and career opportunities,” said Andreaus Boise, TSU’s director of career and professional development. “TSU offers numerous healthcare-related programs including the College of Pharmacy and Health Services and our students get an opportunity to interact with HCA Houston Healthcare professionals through speaking engagements, resume-writing sessions and interviewing skills workshops. Students also learn about career pathways and are better prepared to apply for jobs with our partners because of the exposure to professionals and opportunities within their fields of study.”
TSU offers the Dress for Success Clothing Closet along with a Food Pantry in their Tiger Market, supported by the Dean of Students Office. The Dress for Success program launched right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, but quickly closed for nearly a year and a half due to the social distancing and other safety precautions put into place. TSU is located in Houston’s Third Ward, which has been classified as a food desert. Additionally, many students are limited on resources to purchase new attire for internship and job interviews, which is why the Clothing Closet is such a helpful resource.
“TSU also partners with Dress for Success Houston and Career Gear Houston, but the on-campus store is extremely convenient for students who don’t have the time or the means to travel to those locations. This generous donation from HCA Houston Healthcare employees, helps keep the Clothing Closet well-stocked with a variety of items,” Boise added.
In 2019, HCA Houston Healthcare placed a renewed focus on DEI initiatives and implemented a long-term strategy around six key areas: patients, colleagues, suppliers, boards, community partnerships and sustainability. Since that time, eight employee-led colleague networks have emerged to include networks geared toward Asian, Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ+, Mental Health and Wellness, Women, Young Professionals and Veteran colleagues. All colleague networks are open to all HCA Houston Healthcare colleagues regardless of how they identify. Community engagement is an integral part of each group’s mission and The Voice Black Colleague Network is taking a proactive approach to working with historically black colleges and universities, hoping to make a positive and lasting impact within the communities HCA Houston Healthcare facilities serve.
For more information about TSU’s Dress for Success Clothing Closet or the TSU Food Pantry, visit http://www.tsu.edu/students-services.