Jessie Garcia, Workforce Development Program Manager at St. John’s Transgender Health Program
More than 500 job seekers attended “Transcend,” billed as the first ever South Los Angeles Transgender Job Fair on March 13, 2019, held in partnership with the Vernon-Central/Los Angeles Trade Technical College WorkSource Center.

Approximately 74 employers from various fields ranging from film to food service conducted an estimated 150 interviews the day of the job fair, with Starbucks offering 15 jobs on the spot, said Rex Wilde, Program Director at TransCanWork, a job fair sponsor.

The Vernon-Central/LATTC WSC staff offered job fair organizers workforce development expertise and support that allowed the transgender community to show their authentic selves, they said.

“It was phenomenal,” Rex said, adding that the WSC staff is comprised of “incredible individuals.” “Anything that we wanted to do, they had a solution to help us. It was wonderful to be able to call on them for their expertise.”

While most job seekers traveled to the job fair from the Southern California region, some came from as far from Sacramento, and two individuals flew in from Boston.

“We are making history right now. This population is so underserved,” said Jessie Garcia, Workforce Development Program Manager at St. John’s Transgender Health Program, which was the main sponsor of the event.

The goal of the job fair was to be as inclusive as possible by providing a wide range of employment opportunities, from entry level to people who may have transitioned later in life with degrees and more work experience.

“The times are changing,” Jessie said. “Trans people have always been here. Right now is the time. As we show visibility this allows people to be out more as well.”

The Transgender Job Fair received press coverage from local media outlets, including a story from NBCLA 4, which called the event “The Largest Transgender Job Fair Ever!”

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This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of March 18, 2019. Read this issue and more.