The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) recently trained staff from Job Centers on how to make their services transgender friendly and transgender competent.
What is a Job Center? State and local governments, with U.S. Department of Labor funding, run these Job Centers all over the United States where people can get help with finding and applying for jobs and getting job training, which is often free. Known sometimes as One-Stop Centers or Career Centers, they are all designed to help people get work. There are nearly 3000 centers throughout the U.S.; you can find one in your area here.
NCTE was invited by the Department of Labor to give a presentation to officials from Job Centers on how to appropriately, respectfully and competently serve transgender job-seekers. Our curriculum included basic transgender terminology and cultural competency, and information about how transgender people are often locked out of the traditional workforce due to discrimination. We covered why trans people may have gaps in employment or education, why many have criminal records from survival work they have done on the streets, and how to work around these issues when trying to assist a transgender job-seeker to get employed.
Though there is much to be done, this training was a great first step with the Job Center system. NCTE has been pushing for Department of Labor to create a clear policy that all Job Centers and their affiliated training programs must not discriminate on the basis of gender identity.
Anyone who encounters discrimination in a job center should file a complaint. For more information on how to file a complaint, download NCTE’s resource on Employment Discrimination and Transgender People.