Finding work is often an unpleasant challenge for people who identify as transgender. That’s why, NPR reports, the unemployment rate of individuals who identify as such is currently at twice that of the general population. Finding work is hard for everyone, yes, but it’s especially difficult when you’re a member of a minority group that’s historically been subjected to heavy employment discrimination to begin with. In light of all of this, California is becoming the first state to formally create a “large-scale” program to help transpeople secure jobs.
The California Trans Workplace Project, founded by Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman, activist, and business leader, aims to connect transpeople to full-time employment and “increase trans inclusivity in the workplace” in the hospitality industry and beyond. Moreover, the project hopes to promote the state of California as “a truly transgender positive workplace” and provide a blueprint for the rest of the country to follow in order to make all American workplaces as inclusive, educated, and welcoming as possible. That’s especially important in The Golden State where more than 220,000 transgender people live. Mendelsohn has made it a point to hire transpeople at the El Pollo Loco franchises she owns and says that between 8 to 10 percent of the people who work for her are transgender.