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.
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