The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s annual Transgender Job and Resources Fair aims to make the path to employment a bit easier for transgender and gender non-conforming people.
This year’s event on November 9 will have approximately 50 participating companies, agencies and non-profit organizations including the Center, Hulu, 20th Century Fox, LA County Sheriffs Department, Los Angeles Police Department and Marriot International.
The fair is presented by the Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project (TEEP) and sponsored by the City of West Hollywood, Gracias Madre, Netflix and UCLA’s Department of Education.
“The job fair is really like the training ground for a lot of our clients,” said Drian Juarez, the TEEP project manager. “For many of them, this is the first job fair they’ve ever attended.”
Juarez explains that transgender or gender non-conforming people may not go to job fairs because they are early in their transition and afraid of how people are going to treat them. Job seekers also don’t want to go where potential employers might struggle with things like their preferred pronouns.
“This is sort of their testing ground to try out a job fair, to practice talking to employers and hopefully it’s something that builds their confidence,” says Juarez who organized the first job fair in 2008. “It really becomes an opportunity to connect with employers that participants know are friendly and who they know will welcome trans people. ”
Not just for job seekers
The fair not only benefits job seekers, it provides valuable training for employers who receive diversity training prior to the start of the event. This training includes how to address people, what questions are appropriate, information on the challenges transgender people face in seeking employment and an update on the latest employment laws in California.
“When they go to other job fairs, employers meet predominantly cisgender, hetero identified people,” Juarez says. “This is targeting a population that they don’t usually get in contact with. They get to diversify in a way that they don’t normally get to and they get all this great information that will help them be good employers to all communities.”
For the third consecutive year, the job fair has reached full employer capacity. Among the returning companies is the Los Angeles-based advertising agency Team One.
“We jumped at the chance to participate several years ago and have been back every year since," says Michael Nnadi, the company's Director of Interactive Production. "The speakers from the community, the organizers and the candidates of the fair itself continue to inspire us."
Other participants include APLA Health, Aviva Family and Children’s Services, Bank of the West, Blue Shield of CA, Farmers Insurance, Grindr, HBO, Hospitality Training Center, Housing Rights Center, LA Family Housing, Los Angeles Transportation Authority, Los Angeles Probation Department, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures/Viacom, UCLA Health, Southern California Gas Co., TransLatina Coalition, Trans Can Work, US Customs and Border Protection, Verdugo Jobs Center and Disability Rights California.
The event includes a variety of job training resources, a mock interview clinic, and a photo booth for professional headshots.
High unemployment rate
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly one-third of trans people are living in poverty, compounded by the statistic that they experience a 15% unemployment rate which is three times higher than the unemployment rate in the U.S. population (5%). The unemployment rate among trans people of color is worse—four times higher than the nation’s unemployment rate.
Throughout the year, the Center’s TEEP offers a wide range of services to help transgender people find employment and to help make workplaces more welcoming to trans people. Among the services are legal name and gender change assistance, career development support and counseling, resume preparation, leads on jobs with trans-welcoming employers, and access to interview appropriate-attire.
The fair is from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at West Hollywood Park Auditorium, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. Parking is available at the five-story West Hollywood Park Municipal Parking Structure located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Guests will receive a parking validation ticket at the fair.