JCPenney helps grads with wardrobes

June 19, 2018 by Anonymous

One usually does not find the Show Low JCPenney store open for business early on a Sunday morning, but on June 10, it was open, exclusively for two deserving Northland Pioneer College graduates.

Janet Lann at JCPenney
NPC Cosmetology graduate Janet Lann, center, holds her new job interview wardrobe purchased thanks to a $100 gift card scholarship from the Show Low JCPenney store. She is shown with JCPenney Store Manager Chris Yervasi, NPC Friends & Family Executive Director Betsyann Wilson, Store Associate Dorothy Fischer (also an NPC student) and NPC Career Services Manager John Spadaccini.

Janet Lann, who completed the Cosmetology program at NPC's St. Johns Center, and Justine Cluff, who earned her Associate Degree in Nursing at the White Mountain Campus in Show Low, each received a $100 JCPenney gift card to purchase attire appropriate for a professional job interview.

Justine Cluff at JCPenney
NPC Nursing graduate Justine Cluff, holding 14-month-old son Jackson, with her shopping cart of job interview wardrobe items selected thanks to a generous donation from JCPenney Show Low Store Manager Chris Yervasi, third from left, who donated five $100 gift cards to recent NPC graduates to acquire appropriate attire for a job interview. The store hosted a special shopping spree for two of the recipients, accompanied by NPC's Career Services Manager John Spadaccini, Betsyann Wilson, executive director of NPC Friends and Family. JCPenney Associate Dorothy Fischer, far right, also an NPC student, assisted Cluff in making her selections.

The idea behind providing a gift card scholarship to NPC graduates was the brainchild of Chris Yervasi, Show Low JCPenney General Manager. “I approached Mr. Yervasi early in the spring about sponsoring an event,” recalls Betsyann Wilson, NPC Friends and Family executive director. “Chris really wanted to know how he and JCPenney could give back to the community by directly supporting NPC students. With commencement approaching, I told him we always have graduates who have to be prepared for the job search process, and he immediately thought of the gift cards.”

Yervasi made the gift card scholarship into a special event. He invited Wilson and NPC Career Services Manager John Spadaccini to join him and his staff on a Sunday morning when the gift card recipients could shop before the store was open to the general public. After treating the group to breakfast in the store, he and his associates personally assisted the awardees in selecting appropriate attire, and even provided them with tips for shopping sales and clearance sections, as well as money-saving coupons to optimize their buying power. Both awardees came away ready to look their professional best with impressive business wardrobes.

A total of five students will receive the $100 gift cards. They are referred for the awards by NPC faculty members and academic advisers in recognition of their academic performance and desire to prepare for job seeking.

In April, Janet Lann took the gold medal in Job Demonstration in the Arizona SkillsUSA competition and will compete at the national level in Louisville, Kentucky later this month. Upon her return, she will seek employment in her field where she aspires to pursue her passion for esthetics by working in a spa setting.

Justine Cluff will take the NCLEX – the national exam for board certification as a registered nurse – and pursue employment while continuing her education. She aspires to enter the residency program at Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center and begin her Bachelor of Science in Nursing/Master of Science in Nursing degree program in the fall. Justine's ultimate career goal is to become a Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Each recipient of the JCPenney Gift Card scholarship will work with NPC Career Services Manager John Spadaccini to perfect their résumé, prepare to respond to interview questions, and actually take part in a mock interview to promote their success in the job seeking process. “The professional apparel from JCPenney is the icing on the cake,” notes Spadaccini. “It assures our graduates will feel confident, polished and prepared.”

“Mr. Yervasi's spirit of community service really touched my heart,” Wilson says. “The JCPenney gift cards are so much more than a way for our graduates to afford nice interview apparel. They are a validation of all the hard work they put into earning their degrees. Mr. Yervasi and his associates, through their attention and caring, showed the awardees that someone recognized their efforts and believed in their ability to continue to succeed. Chris Yervasi has created such a culture of community at the Show Low JCPenney!”

To learn more about NPC Career Services, including free classes and workshops for job seekers, and one-on-one assistance with résumé writing and interview preparation, please contact John Spadaccini at (928) 536-6246, email or visit

All donations to NPC Friends and Family, a 501 (c) (3) organization, are tax deductible. NPC Friends & Family is organized exclusively to support the mission and goals of Northland Pioneer College through advancement of college programs and services, establishment and growth of student scholarships and positive promotion of NPC. For more information about fundraising events or creating or donating to a scholarship, please contact Betsyann Wilson at (928) 536-6245, email, or consider making a gift today by visiting