June is Pride month. Pride is a month-long celebration of advocacy, liberation and self-expression for the LGBTQIA+ community. In 1970 the initial Pride celebrations were started to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, charting a path forward that centered equity.
Similarly in 2023, Pride marks a time to uplift diverse voices, celebrate a vibrant culture and demonstrate authentic support for LGBTQIA+ rights. This is particularly poignant as LGBTQIA+ people are continuing to experience bias and discrimination, particularly in the workplace. This summer, the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) will launch SYEP Pride. SYEP Pride places young people who identify as LGBTQIA+ with supportive, safe, and affirming work and career exploration experiences. The program will allow employer partners to provide unique employment and learning opportunities that support and empower LGBTQIA+ youth. High-profile employers, including Louis Vuitton and ABC News are supporting this pivotal program.
New programs like SYEP Pride and those offered by providers are needed more than ever. A 2022 study by the Center for American Progress, found that 50% of LGBTQI+ adults reported experiencing some form of workplace discrimination or harassment in the previous year because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status. Bias and discrimination in the workplace can result in many negative outcomes, including: being fired; being denied a promotion; having their work hours cut; or experiencing verbal, physical, or sexual harassment. Furthermore, researchers found that nearly 80% of LGBTQI+ adults reported that they took at least one action to avoid experiencing discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status, including hiding a personal relationship, avoiding law enforcement, avoiding medical offices, or changing the way they dressed.
Recognizing the impact of these staggering statistics, allies and advocates have joined together to promote and foster workplaces that are not only equitable, and safe, but also welcoming and affirming; creating lasting change at an organizational level.
NYCETC Members are committed to advancing equity and inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community by providing support services and cultivating a vast network of affirming workplaces. In a recent report, 36 NYCETC members said that LGBTQIA+ talent were among the primary populations served by their programming which predominantly focuses on tech, construction, and healthcare training; along with a suite of wraparound services. Working in tandem, government leaders, workforce development providers, and employers are designing innovative solutions that ensure New York City is a thriving mecca for all New Yorkers.
Advocates at City Hall in support of Pride at Work
Launched in Fiscal Year 2023, the New York City Council’s Pride at Work initiative partnered with NYCETC members, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and Nontraditional Employment for Women, to provide supportive spaces for LGBTQIA+ talent to participate in training programs that lead to union jobs. This initiative creates opportunities for LGBTQIA+ workers to earn living wages and have access to long-term benefits. On average, workers represented by labor unions earn 10.2% higher wages and have better benefits than their non-union peers, according to an Economic Policy Institute report.
“We believe that a union contract is the best way to ensure equality in the workplace, and this initiative will help make that a reality for countless LGBTQ+ workers in New York City,” said Brittani Murray co-president of the AFL-CIO’s Pride at Work program in an interview with Gay City News.
- Gay City News: City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus unveils comprehensive policy plan – New York City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus unveils comprehensive policy agenda with legislative goals and recommendations on how the city can better serve LGBTQ constituents across the five boroughs.
- The NYC Unity Project: Work It, NYC: A Guide To LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity – A manual for workforce development professionals to effectively deliver the resources and services needed to support LGBTQI+ people.
- NYATEP: How Hard are We Really Working – An Initial Analysis of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the NYS Workforce Sector.
- McKinsey & Company: How the LGBTQ+ community fares in the workplace – What steps companies can take right now to create inclusive workplaces.