It has been about a year since Gap Inc. called classes in session as part of the White House Skills for America’s Future initiative. The idea was for companies like Gap Inc. to offer skills and resources to help empower the American workforce. One of the programs that does this is the Gap for Community Colleges program.
Employees like Gap store general manager Shannon Valvano helped launch job and career skills training courses at the University of DC Community College campus. And recently, the graduates put their skills to test on the runway.
Their fashion show was the grand finale to a training program that improved students’ communication, time management and teamwork skills. With the work out of the way, students hit the catwalk, creating and producing a fashion show. They also produced a behind the scenes video, showing some of the work that went into the show and - of course - the looks that made the runway.
Students were responsible for the entire production, with Ashley Hylton taking the lead. Ashley says the Gap for Community Colleges program taught her how to be an effective manager, and that she got some immediate on the job training, by going from student, to Fashion Show Producer. She also says she found a passion for inspiring others. “The best part about the fashion show,” she writes, “was being able to do what I love and that's style. Yes I had other responsibilities… however, when it came down to styling the show that's where I shined. It felt good to have people say ‘I never thought about putting those patterns together,’ or ‘wow I loved that pale pink monochromatic outfit. I'm going to the Gap tomorrow to buy that.’”
Her professor, Stephany Greene mentored with extra special insight – she used to be a Gap designer. (Yes, it’s a small world after all.) Greene says working with Gap again in her role as a teacher brought her life full circle.
They’ve got style. They’ve got skills. They’re ready to go from this runway to the workforce.