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New Economic Program Aims To Help Palm Beach County's Transgender Community

A non-binary person using a laptop at work.
Photo by Zackary Drucker
The Gender Spectrum Collection
Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly's Gender Spectrum Collection. Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection. Made available to media outlets via Creative Commons. No derivatives, no commercial use. See guidelines here: broadlygenderphotos.vice.com/guidelines

The Compass Center in Lake Worth Beach teamed up with the Jewish Women's Federation for the new Transgender Economic Empowerment Program in Palm Beach County.

Adrienne Percival, the director of development and outreach at Compass, says the program is designed to help the transgender community navigate the workforce — especially trans women of color.

"We’ve been having conversations as a country in the last year about some of the impacts of systemic racism," Percival said. "One of the places where that is felt, particularly acutely, is within the transgender, women of color, community."

Percival says trans women of color are usually at the intersection of many issues, including “misunderstanding or outright bias.”

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The program will help trans job seekers develop their resumes, cover letters, and overall work profiles.

But the challenges of finding and keeping a job still remain.

“There are many anecdotal stories about people walking in to fill out an application only to be met with laughters and mockery and watch the application just be tossed into the trash cause they’re not even being considered,” Percival said.

The program will also work with businesses to offer inclusivity training — a checklist of things to consider, potential changes to staff policies and procedures.

It’s also an attempt to help teach employers about gender identity and expression because, Percival says, in some cases "the business owners themselves are not intending to be biased. They simply don't have the information.”

Percival says Jackie Brown, the coordinator for the Transgender Economic Empowerment Program, is the person who works one on one with the clients who are looking to to find jobs.

“And she has been able to leverage that [passion] for this community in a way that's just amazing," Percival said.

Compass announced the program Wednesday, March 31, the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

“It's important to have people take a moment to recognize the things that may not be on their radar all the time,” Percival said. “This is a community that is sincerely and severely marginalized.”