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The Scarlet & Black

OUT@WORK series offers guidance for work world

Grinnell recently introduced a trio of presentations called OUT@WORK, which focuses on helping students understand their rights in respective areas of employment and possible obstacles they might face when identifying as a member of the LGBTQ community.

The program was co-developed by the Stonewall Resource Center (SRC), the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership and the Center for Careers, Life and Service (CLS). The first two of three events of the series took place this week in ARH 302 and in the Dining Hall’s Whale Room.

The first presentation outlined current laws, policies and resources available to individuals who choose to come out on a resume, in an interview and/or in the workplace. Students in attendance were provided with a variety of resources that specified their rights when being employed as well as possible obstacles they can anticipate facing.

CLS Career Counselor Kelly Guilbeau, the primary coordinator of the presentation series, explained how this project came into existence.

“Initially, I approached the Stonewall Resource Center and threw this idea at them. I asked them if they would like to participate in the first pilot of this series. They were all for it,” Guilbeau said. “Mainly, because of the ongoing discussion about what it means to be LGBTQ in general. It seemed like a good combination of resources.” 

Guilbeau also shared her hopes about what students will obtain in this particular meeting with regards to their confidence in the hiring process.

“Hopefully, students walk away feeling like knowledge is power, and they can advocate for both themselves and their colleagues as an LGBTQ person themselves or as an ally, [since] they know about the policies and laws regarding what is legal and illegal to be asked in an interview when applying for a job,” Guilbeau said.

After all, Guilbeau explained that the purpose of this series of meetings is to empower students to create a dialogue about acceptance of alternative sexual and gender identities in their workplace.

“I hope students will obtain a language and be able to talk about this topic with their peers, colleagues and even future supervisors,” she said.

Guilbeau wanted to clarify that the nature of the OUT@WORK series is the beginning of an extended series of presentations focused on assisting students with embracing their personal identities.

“These OUT@WORK meetings are part of a larger series called @WORK. This started as an idea to explore all the types of diversity in the workplace, whether that be coming out, disabilities, women or spirituality,” Guilbeau noted.

Students who attended the first of the series’ three presentations said that they found it to be very illuminating and beneficial.

“It was very informative. It covered important material in areas relevant to me being in a relationship with a woman,” said Olivia Queathem ’18. “This is something I have been concerned about. It is really nice seeing the College giving us opportunities to know what rights we have and what obstacles we might face in the workplace.”

Toby Baratta ’17 agreed that the speech was very informative and that she was inspired by what she heard from the presenters. 

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Baratta said. “It is all very useful. I have always had involvement in queer society in my resume … I would not like to work in a place where they will not want me because of that.”

The second event of the OUT@WORK series was a lunch panel organized by the SRC, which took place at noon on Thursday in the JRC Whale Room. The panel hosted Grinnell College faculty and staff members, who discussed their respective experiences with students in attendance.

The final event of the series, a roundtable discussion jointly organized by the CLS and the SRC, will take place Wednesday, Nov. 5 in Bucksbaum 269. Grinnellians will have the chance to voice their concerns and raise questions in a safe environment about coming out in the workplace.

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