Jayden Gutierrez (he/him/él), one of the 2022 Dinah F.B. Cohen DREAM Fellows, interviewed the Trans* Employment Project: an organization which provides resources for trans* and gender nonconforming people to find affirming employment. The below article is written by him.
Please describe your organization and signature transition support programs.
The Trans* Employment Project is committed to uplifting Trans* job seekers. This project was started to address the growing needs of Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming individuals in the U.S. by not only identifying new job opportunities, but also providing resources and training to employers to address the obstacles and barriers that our community faces while seeking employment.
The intentions of the project are not only to address the immediate needs of Trans* job seekers but to also work with our communities to collaborate on solutions for these issues.
What are key experiences that assist young people in accessing quality and impactful transition support?
The key experiences that assists young people in accessing quality and impactful transition support are based in the creation of inclusive culture, creation of affirming workplace policies and equal access to the same dignity, respect, and resources as our cisgender counterparts.
What lessons or tips do you have to share with other service providers to learn your innovative ways?
For many of us, we are excited to join a team and find a place where we can belong for nearly 8 hours a day. When we have the ability to join a welcoming team, we are able to take pride in the contributions that we bring to the table, even though sometimes it may feel difficult to find a seat at the tables where we belong. At Trans* Employment Project, we provide many resources regarding tips on self-advocacy, empowerment, and reclamation in the job searching and opportunity seeking processes. We offer one-to-one services regarding job searching tools, resume tips, and cover letter assistance to Trans* job seekers.
In 2023, we intend on collaborating with employers and providing affirming training opportunities for them to take back to their companies, businesses, etc. For those interested in learning more, they can reach out to our Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does your programming include elements of self-advocacy, self-determination or mentoring? If so, describe the significance of this content for the participants.
Our programming includes all elements of self-advocacy, self-determination, and mentoring!
As far as self-advocacy, we recently offered a webinar on “Self-Advocation in the Workplace” which addressed many resources available for Trans* folks in the workplace; including procedures to follow if there are discriminatory issues in the workplace. This event also focused on informing individuals about personal boundaries regarding affirmation in the workplace, and how to deescalate discrimination through appropriate channels in the workplace.
In regards to self-determination, we focus a lot of our time on empowering our community. We have created a Job Readiness Workbook for Trans* job seekers, which we are working to publish in the near future. This workbook was developed based on the needs of Trans* job seekers. It is a series designed to educate Trans* job seekers of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and body types to revel in self-discover, job readiness, job-seeking, and job-keeping.
In regards to mentoring, we offer one-to-one job seeker assistance as well as individualized assistance to employment seeking. This includes cover letter help, resume building, and overall advice on employment. There are no limits to our mentoring help at Trans* Employment Project. For employers, we are also open to collaborating in training programs for 2023.
What is a key attribute your programming offers to help young people find community? Describe how relationship building is centered in your model.
A key attribute Trans* Employment Project offers to help young people find community is our ability to offer services virtually. This meaning, we are on many social media platforms; Facebook, Discord, and Google Groups. There are many ways that resources are readily available for our community. We also collaborate with other facets of the Trans* Empowerment Project; specifically inTRANSitions (connecting with grocery needs) and Inmate Advocacy Project (connecting incarcerated individuals with employment opportunities). Youth are the pillar of the work that we do at Trans* Employment Project, and offering many resources, as mentioned previously, in guiding youth who are new to employment with affirming employer information.
How does your organization center multiple-marginalized populations? Does your organization intentionally make space for intersectional identities?
At Trans* Employment Project, we have a solid understanding of anti-racism and community organizing. We are committed to being anti-racist and dismantling white supremacist systems that keep Trans* lives oppressed. Our project does intentionally make space for all individuals, especially those that are between the intersections of Queer, Trans*, Disabled, Indigenous, Black, and Brown.
Does your organization help participants learn about civil rights and the disability rights laws? Accommodations?
Trans* Employment Project does help participants learn about civil rights and the disability rights laws and accommodations that are present on state, local, and federal levels. We implement the breakdown of these rights during events, as well as a part of the resources that we send to our participants.
Do you feel you are part of a larger pipeline helping youth/young adults move more to success forward toward careers?
Yes. I do feel that I am part of a larger pipeline helping youth/young adults move more to success forward toward careers. I think that the work that we are doing here at Trans* Employment Project is expanding on a daily basis; especially since we live in a capitalist society that is very career-focused. Providing access to resources for youth/young adults is at the center of our work at Trans* Employment Project and we are looking to continue the expansion and assist Trans* youth in their processes of what their success looks like! It feels so wonderful to be part of this community in so many ways.