opp for chen TRAINING.crtr

Thrift Store Provides Job Training
in Sherburne
There is a common misunderstanding about Back on The
Rack Thrift Store in Sherburne. The store was designed
as a job training center for individuals who need to
learn, or brush up, on job skills to compete in the market
and secure a paid position. The training site could have
been established as any business that dealt with
customers and held trainees to a strict schedule - a cafe,
a used furniture store, or a dollar store; but it was
decided that a thrift store was the best option.
“I refer to Back on the Rack as Sherburne’s department
store,” says manager and training director Donna WoodCraig. “We’ve arranged the store into departments,
including clothing for all ages, sleepwear, shoes, purses,
exercise clothes, household and decorative items, books,
music, and movies. We also have new merchandise with
tags still attached that we put on our new rack or in our
gift department.”
Store trainees come from a number of referral sources
including CDO Workforce, BOCES Leading Edge
Program, and Chenango County’s Probation
Department and Drug Rehabilitation Court. Individuals
typically work between fifteen and twenty-five hours
per week. They are working for financial benefits or in
some cases as an alternative to serving jail time
Wood-Craig says that many customers are unaware that
Back on The Rack is owned by Opportunities for
Chenango and is supported by the federal grant known
as CSBG – Community Service Block Grant. CSBG’s
purpose is to provide financial assistance working
through a network of Community Action Agencies
(CAA). Opportunities for Chenango (OFC) is one of
fifty-six CAAs in New York State. CAAs aim to reduce
poverty, revitalize low-income communities, and
empower low-income families and individuals in rural
and urban areas to become fully self-sufficient.
“That matches our mission at Back on the Rack,” says
Wood-Craig who’s held her position for eighteen
months, having previously been the Development and
Community Relations Coordinator at Hospice of
Chenango County for eighteen years. “My passion is to
help as many Chenango County residents as possible,
whether it was families and patients who needed end of
life support, or now, assisting people who have hit a
rough patch in life and require training, accountability,
and my recommendation to secure a job.”
During her short tenure at Opportunities for Chenango,
Wood-Craig has trained seven individuals, six who have
graduated to paid employment in local businesses. She
has also worked with BOCES Leading Edge Program
conducting half day workshops for those seeking jobs.
Back on the Rack relies on the in-kind donations from
those wishing to support the store. “Without donors we
would quickly be out of business,” says Wood-Craig.
“We accept only clean, current clothing and housewares
because we want to stay relevant. I like to stock the store
with items that you might find in any department store,
but at substantially lower prices.” At Back on the Rack
one can put together a professional work outfit for under
$15.00 including shoes, and a weekend look for under
$10.00. Dresses fly off the rack at an average of $7.50.
Quality name brands can be found at on the racks
including Chicos, Talbots, Coldwater Creek,
Worthington, LL Bean, Eddie Bauer and Victoria Secret.
Trendier labels for pre-teens and teens include Volcom,
Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale.
Back on the Rack is located at 12 West Main Street, in
Sherburne right in front of the post office with plenty of
parking available. Weekday hours are 9:30-4:00 and
Saturday 9:30-12:00. Donations may be dropped off 24
hours a day on the back porch in a donation bin; or can
be left at Opportunities for Chenango on West Main
Street in Norwich. For more information, call 674-5028.