Stitches Technology began over 25 years ago exploring a way to improve technical skills for operators who had a desire to advance in the field of apparel manufacturing. The organization has gone though a series of name changes and upgrades since then, but the mission has remained the same--so to has the need for highly skilled workers, who represent the backbone of the exciting fashion industry.
Southern California Edison Company recognized the importance of supporting the apparel industry and invested in developing a comprehensive Implementation Guide for the program. It outlined the path forward for integrating the trained workers into private industry and paved the way for a demonstration grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to test the concept . Stitches officially opened its doors in 1998 with amazing support from apparel industry partners who donated more than $1.5 million in equipment and in-kind services to set up a state of the art factory in 18,000 square feet of space.
The program kicked off with an open house followed by a benefit concert co-chaired by GUESS? CEO, Maurice Marciano and Macys West CEO, Michael Steinberg. The legendary Stevie Wonder headlined the event as the musical guest and major benefactor of the program. "I have been to a lot of benefit concerts but nothing like I experienced last night. It was an amazing event," said Maurice Marciano, CEO of Guess? An informational video was developed to present the Stitches Program to industry leaders in the City of Los Angeles and to the community at large. See Video Clips below. The demonstration project was successfully completed in August 2001. The need for a skilled labor force remains as does the need for viable careers and jobs for at risk youth and emancipated foster care teens.