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Five States Chosen to Receive Technical Assistance in Developing New Career Apparel


Washington, D. C.--The U.S. Department of Education has contracted with Maria Pinto to provide technical assistance to five states in developing success-focused apparel for Schools in Need of Improvement in their historic Race to the Top.®

Maria Pinto, a Chicago native, and favored designer of Michelle Obama, has made her reputation on fabric and fit as the key components in creating "inspirational and aspirational fashions."

"It has always been important for Maria to design clothing that empowers women to be the very best they can be--and feel invincible while doing so," confirms Laura Verdugo, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Maria Pinto.

A longtime Pino client has said, "Maria's clothes make me look and feel like the best version of myself."

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan confirms, "That's what we want for the staff of every school in America--from secretaries to math teachers--clothes than help them be their best."
States receiving a share of the initial Race to the Top® pilot grant of $800 million for clothing makeovers are: Illinois, Colorado, Florida, Maine, and Oregon.

"Aspirational Fashions mean successful learning environments for students and adults, which mean a stronger economy for America," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Aspirational Fashions support the Administration's goal of expanding a can-do workforce by preparing students for high-skill, high-wage jobs in a Race to the Top® school."

Following are the areas that the states will focus on:

  • Illinois--slacks, skirts

  • Colorado-- Jackets, sweaters

  • Florida--sheaths, suits

  • Maine--accessories

  • Oregon--Tops, blouses, shirts

  • Maria Pinto and her staff will engage the five participating states in a 14-month process to develop Aspirational-focused Fashions. Each state will work with a facilitator to provide ongoing assistance along with consultation from fabric experts.

    State teams will participate in a three-day technical assistance academy in winter 2009 in Washington, D.C. At the conclusion of this initiative, the selected states will work with Maria Pinto to share their best and most promising practices.

    For national implementation, five garments will be selected for women's wear, three for men. A sixth option will be available for schools that offer services on Saturdays.

    Under this nifty initiative, schools will have until 2012 to have 100% college acceptance for all students. Female staff in schools not meeting this all-American goal will wear the burqa, available in three colors. Male staff will wear the Saudi style dishadasha. In a special alliance forged in the spirit of leading American students back to global dominance, staff clothing regulations will be enforced by Homeland Security, whose "overriding and urgent mission is to lead the unified national effort to secure the country and preserve our freedoms." And get those kids into college.

    Secretary Duncan, said, "I will be able to go into any school in America and know what to expect: navy blue suit on Monday, sweater and pearls on Tuesday. Or, sadly, in the case of those who have not yet led our students to their full potential, the burqa every day. It is great to leave nothing to chance!"

    — Susan Ohanian
    The Eggplant



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