Trans Can Work (TCW), the workforce development organization, recently held a Meet and Greet here at the ACLU office in Hillcrest.
Executive Board members in attendance included Toni Newman (Board Chair), Dr. Andrea Cubitt (Treasurer), Celia Daniels (Secretary), and Dr. Alexandra Jacqueline Annala (Board Member). Staff members Lexi Adsit (Director) and Jovan Wolf (Workforce Development) were also on hand, to talk about the organizations challenges, goals and achievements.
Jovan emphasized TCW’s role in working with trans, intersex, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming employment applicants. He asked rhetorically “How can we upskill our community?” The organization does this by providing services for job seekers including counseling, training, access to job networks, and career support. TCW is continually outreaching to digital platforms as well, and has developed new collaborations with Glassdoor, the employer review website, and Grindr, the gay mobile social app.
Lexi spoke of the traditional difficulties transpeople face in the job market. 75% of the community has suffered workforce discrimination, which includes not only refusals to hire, but denied promotions or wage increases. TCW actively works with employers to change current policies and mindsets through workshops and diversity trainings. The organization has also recently coordinated several virtual career fairs in the states of Texas and New York.
But, as Toni reminded the audience, “You can only have power at the table”. And to get a seat at the table, it takes financial assistance from city, county, and private donors. She urged attendees to “show their love” with this support.
Andrea spoke about the challenges of the labor market in an increasingly digital world. “The biggest challenge is for the people who are left behind…those who don’t have Information Technology skills”. TCW identifies transpeople with an aptitude for software development, and helps get them the necessary training. To this end, the organization works with Catalyte, a Baltimore based technology career development business. Andrea noted, “This is the kind of game changer we are looking for”.
One attendee, Kara J, noted San Diego’s special opportunities for employment. A number of biotech and defense industries are based here, and they need a diverse work staff when negotiating for government contracts. In addition, San Diego is a major tourism center with a large hospitality industry, now bouncing back from Covid restrictions. Several strong Universities are located here, including UCSD, SDSU, as well as many community colleges. These institutions can serve as both job trainers and potential employers. And San Diego hosts many US military bases for the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Many open and closeted LGBT service personnel are stationed here, and will be seeking post service employment.
Veronica Zerrer, President of Neutral Corner, thanked TCW for their visit. She said that the importance of their work for the transcommunity is that “We stay visible through employment and career”.
For more information about the group, please see www.transcanwork.org
(Above photo credit: Michelle Dungan)