Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It’s All About Jobs

And there is a restaurant out in California that is doing something about it.
California Restaurants Launch Nation's First Transgender Jobs Program
NPR
By Leo Duran
October 19, 2016

The unemployment rate for transgender people is double that of the general population. Now, California has set up the nation's first ever large-scale program to help transgender people find jobs.

And it's all because of Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman who's employed trans people at her restaurants for years.
[…]
In 1988, before she transitioned, Mendelsohn bought her first El Pollo Loco franchise. She just happened to like their menu. "I didn't go to college to figure out which restaurant!" she says, laughing.

She acquired several more stores by the time she transitioned in 2004. Now she owns a total of six El Pollo Locos in Southern California.

But it wasn't until 2012 that she hired her first trans employee. That person told her how hard it was to get a job.

Mendelsohn was moved, and she started to reach out to other trans people looking for work.
"Currently, we have 8 to 10 percent of our total workforce is transgender, out of about 150 employees," she says.
Then she had a thought: Is there a way to get other restaurants to follow her lead?

Earlier this year, at a conference of the California Restaurant Association, Mendelsohn was chatting with other association members at a hotel bar — including her longtime friend Jot Condie, who heads the group.
[…]
Condie says he was convinced to have the Restaurant Association back Mendelsohn's big idea. "To me it wasn't like, 'Whoa are you serious?' To me it made sense," he says.

The idea was this: Mendelsohn would start a program connecting trans people looking for jobs with restaurants looking for workers.

The association has 22,000 members, large enough that it could make a real difference.
And thus was started the California Transgender Workplace Project.

For many trans people they already have the skills needed for jobs, what they do need is a foot in the door. Many trans people find that when they submit their resumes they are invited in for an interview and once HR sees them they job is mysteriously filled already, or they are over qualified, or under qualified and that type of discrimination is hard to prove. Or if they answered a job ad their employment applicate ends up in the circular file after they walk out the door.

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