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Teens Learn How To 'Dress for Success' In 'Ideal Candidate' Classes

 Kevin Davenport, right, gives Matthew White a laptop for college.
Kevin Davenport, right, gives Matthew White a laptop for college.
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Photo courtesy of Kevin Davenport

CHATHAM — The new Ideal Candidate program, geared to helping young adults successfully succeed after high school, has already made a difference for one young man.

Matthew White, 19, of Chatham, graduated from Olive Harvey Middle College High School this year. He will be attending Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss., in the fall. White completed the 14-hour program last month. He said it showed him how to dress professionally and helped him sharpen his leadership skills.

“It was a good experience,” he said. “I learned a lot of stuff that I didn’t think I was going to need in my life.”

Kevin Davenport, founder of the Ideal Candidate, launched the program in February. Once high school juniors and seniors complete the program, organizers follow up with them through college. It’s $15 an hour or $210 for the full program.

 Kevin Davenport created the
Kevin Davenport created the "Ideal Candidate" program in February.
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Photo courtesy of Kevin Davenport

The program focuses on behavior modification, dressing for success, leadership skills, table manners, interviewing and resume skills, and communication strengthening. Each class is two hours long and the program is customized to fit the client. Davenport, a Loop resident, just completed a partnership with the Rotary Internationals job program for Chicago Public Schools students.

“We bring them into our program [and focus] basically anything needed to excel in the corporate world, that’s not taught in the school system,” Davenport said.

“We help to polish students and once they graduate from the program, we support them over the next four years with job placement, as well as scholarships for post secondary education,” he said.

The “Dress for Success” class teaches students about the difference between casual, business casual and business professional. They learn the importance of dressing the part and do’s and don’ts in the business environment.

Davenport said he tells the students to “dress like the person you want to become.”

White said that before the program he thought wearing his tuxedo jacket was professional. He would see his father wearing dress pants and shirts, but he said he thought he was “cool” by doing something a little different.

“I had no idea,” he said. “Now I know that you have to learn to adjust if you want to be successful. It’s not that bad. It’s a basically a color scheme.”

To learn more about the Ideal Candidate or to register, visit www.theidealcandidate.org.

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