LONG ISLAND - A first-of-its-kind annual job fair was held in Hauppauge Wednesday, aimed at supporting the LGBTQ+ community, helping them connect with employers, and adding diversity to the workforce.
Jason Freeman was one of the first to arrive. The bartender by night said he is looking for work during the day and hopes this job fair catered to the LGBT community will lead to opportunities.
"It’s a great day to be alive," he said. "Twenty years ago when I came out this sort of thing was unheard of and kind of frowned upon."
Some 200 job seekers registered for the event, with more than 30 employers in attendance, ready to recruit and diversify their workforces.
David Kilmnick with the LGBT Network stressed the importance of a welcoming, inclusive environment for all job seekers to show off their skills.
"From legal to corporate, to nonprofit, government, both county police departments and US Army," he said.
A study from the Human Rights Campaign found nearly 50% of LGBT people are not out at work and 30% of those not out fear losing their connections or jobs if they do come out.
"The workforce is down, it’s hard to find people for work, the LGBT community is looking for jobs, they’re looking for places that will be safe workplaces where they feel they belong, and today that marriage is happening," Kilmnick said.
Staci Weinsheimer jumped at the unique opportunity offered to her and her community.
"It’s about time it shouldn’t be so separate as it was in the past," Weinsheimer said.