Fort Wayne-based nonprofit Blue Jacket Inc. has expanded its operations with a second thrift-style business professional clothing store. A grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday, July 9, at 1 p.m.
Located at 5511B Coldwater Road on the same side of the Coldwater Crossing Plaza as Hobby Lobby, the ribbon-cutting kicked off a week of activities. The activities promoted Blue Jacket’s Fantasy of Lights, Career Academy and 2nd Chance Art Exhibit with prizes and drawings for Fantasy of Lights sponsorships.
The Blue Jacket Clothing Co. is an outgrowth of a clothing bank that launched simultaneously with the creation of Blue Jacket in October 2005 and its purpose was to outfit students that attend the rigorous Career Academy training. When Blue Jacket moved to its present location on South Calhoun Street, they amassed too many clothes to donate so subsequently launched the Blue Jacket Clothing Company in 2013 in the back of its office complex on Calhoun Street. The purpose of this store is to locate in a retail area that will help fund the store that not only hires Blue Jacket clients as a training ground but also gives free clothes to students. The internal clothing bank has donated over 43,233 clothes and transitionally hired over 17 clients since 2013 to launch clients into retail or service related fields.
Blue Jacket’s mission is to provide training and opportunity to any person with a barrier striving to earn gainful employment and spun out of county government fourteen years ago, serving thousands of people with barriers through soft skill training and job placement. Blue Jacket places an average of 80% of graduates into employment with 92% retaining employment one year later.