SMU again hosts LGBT job expo

Posted on 22 Apr 2010 at 5:09pm
By DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

TABC, FWPD among the employers looking to find diverse workforce at upcoming job fair

A BETTER VIEW | Rafael McDonnel with Resource Center Dallas says the LGBT Job Expo gives job seekers a chance to see a bigger variety of employers looking for workers, and a better idea of what jobs those employers are looking to fill.

he Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission and the Fort Worth Police Department might not be among the first places members of the LGBT community would turn for a job. But both are committed to diversity and will be looking for applicants at next week’s LGBT Job Expo.

The three area police departments with LGBT liaisons will all be represented at the fifth annual job fair, set for Wednesday afternoon, April 28, on the Southern Methodist University campus. In addition to Fort Worth, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff’s departments will also be recruiting.

Last year the expo drew more than 300 job seekers. This year, the event has attracted more companies and government agencies seeking employees, so it was moved from Cox School of Business to the larger lobby of the Meadows School of the Arts.

Cox is one of the event sponsors, along with Resource Center Dallas and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.

Rafael McDonnell, spokesperson for Resource Center Dallas, said a job expo is a great way to see the variety of jobs available at a variety of companies.

Best Buy needs more than store salespeople, McDonnell said. They’re looking for people to work in their regional office in Carrollton as well.

"Bank of America is sending folks from various divisions — Merrill Lynch, the mortgage division, banking," he said. "AT&T needs people in everything from service to their corporate offices downtown."

He said the job expo is a way to learn about companies you didn’t know were in the area.

"McKesson is a pharmaceutical company with regional offices in Carrollton," he said.

McDonnell said the event gets applicants face-to-face with people who make personnel decisions.

"You actually have people hiring there," he said. "If you go to the website, someone may look at your application, but here you can make your case."

He suggested that even people who aren’t necessarily looking or currently unemployed might benefit from the expo.

"I went to the first expo for that reason," he said. "Just to see what’s out there."
Two federal agencies will send representatives from Washington. While the Environmental Protection Agency seems like a good fit for this type of employment fair, the National Security Agency is more surprising.

McDonnell said he reached out to them after meeting Defense Intelligence Agency employees at the Out & Equal conference last year. Not that long ago, security clearances were routinely denied to gays and lesbians using the excuse that they could be bribed in exchange for hiding their sexual orientation. Now the CIA has an LGBT employee group and is recruiting in Dallas.

Chamber executive director Tony Vedda noted that past surveys evaluating the expo "have come back very positive. What I’ve heard from the companies is that they are extremely impressed by the quality of the applicants."

He said recruiters from several companies that have returned to the Job Expo several times have told him that people applying for jobs at the expo have the right skills.

Vedda mentioned TABC and Fort Worth police participation. He noted that both have started diversity training.

Their participation indicates both the quality of the diversity training the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and the Resource Center are providing, Vedda said, and also demonstrates that the two agencies’ commitment to diversity goes beyond sitting through a training session.

The fair will be held in the lobby of the Meadows School of the Arts on the Southern Methodist University campus on Wednesday, April 28. The expo takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.   

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 23, 2010.

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