Event moving to Cox School of Business at SMU for 1st time; organizers say recession should bring in more job seekers
Organizers of the 2009 GLBT Job Expo expect higher attendance this year given the downturn in the economy.
The expo, in its fourth year, gives LGBT jobseekers an opportunity to meet with gay-friendly employers, and to hone their skills in career-enhancing workshops such as resume writing, interviewing, and networking.
The Job Expo, hosted by the Resource Center of Dallas and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 1 in the Cox School of Business’ Fincher Building at Southern Methodist University.
This year’s expanded event, the first held on the SMU campus, will conclude with a GLBT Chamber mixer from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at SMU’s Collin Executive Education Center.
The mixer will include free food and beverages.
Cece Cox, associate executive director for GLBT programs at the Resource Center, said even in a good economy, the gay community faces challenges in securing and holding onto employment.
"We can be fired simply for being GLBT," Cox said. "The GLBT Expo is the perfect opportunity to bring together employers who are already committed to diversity in their workplaces with applicants who are looking to work in a GLBT-friendly environment."
Tony Vedda, president of the North Texas GLBT Chamber, said, "Even if an employer is not hiring immediately, they have the opportunity to collect jobseekers’ resumes."
Cox said participating employers come from an array of industries and will include the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, McKesson Pharmaceuticals, Raytheon, Southwest Airlines and Texas Instruments.
"In addition to employment issues, companies have the ability to market and show their commitment to diversity," she said. "This is a package deal."
Cox said the Resource Center partnered with SMU because "the Cox School of Business is one of the leading schools in the U.S.," and the center has a strong relationship with the university.
Karen Click, director of the Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives at SMU, called the Job Expo "a great resource and a way to support our LGBT friendly organizations."
The Women’s Center is home to Spectrum, SMU’s LGBT organization.
SMU junior Kyle Spencer, a member of Spectrum, said, "Anyone who is ready to enter the job market would definitely want to take advantage of this opportunity especially in such a dire financial market."
Cox said last year’s expo had between 100 and 150 attendees but due to the downturn in the economy she is expecting bigger numbers this year.
She said if companies are interested in participating there is still space available.
"Any company interested in becoming involved can go to our Web site and fill out an application and secure a space at the event," Cox said.
The GLBT Expo is free and parking is available on Bishop Boulevard.
"We are trying to make this event as accessible as possible," Cox said. "I think it’s important with the economy being so challenging that we stick together as a community, network and offer skills to each other."
For additional information on the job expo visit the Resource Center’s Web site at www.rcdallas.org, or call 214-528-0144.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 20, 2009.