These campus resources help connect LGBTQ students with the right workplace

By Giovanna Paz

LGBT Center Director Erin Cross/ Photo: Julio Sosa

The job search is a major concern for students at Penn, but for those who are LGBTQ, looking for the right workplace can be even more complicated.

Director of Career Services Patricia Rose said the department tries to ensure that students who identify as LGBTQ are connected to people and organizations that provide adequate help.

At Career Services, staff members are trained to be aware of the needs of different types of students, Rose said. LGBTQ students can expect to receive targeted help when it comes to finding jobs and internships that are specifically known for welcoming students of various sexualities and genders. Rose added that this also applies to students looking to apply to graduate schools that provide resources for LGBTQ students.

Engineering sophomore Jack Lanzi said he utilized the resources at Career Services this past summer to find and pursue a semester-long internship at the LGBTQ-friendly company Tesla. 

Lanzi said his experience so far working at Tesla's office in Fremont, Calif. has helped him change his own perception of what it could be like to work in the tech industry.

"[This internship] definitely has shown me that I should never take an industry as a place that will be inherently homophobic, where people will inherently ignorant," Lanzi said. "That has been a really valuable lens for me.”

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The Career Services website provides other information on networking opportunities and employers that are known to be LGBTQ-friendly. The department encourages students to look into the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, which rates different workplaces based on their "LGBT Equality" standards.

Rose also said that each semester, Career Services hosts “Wandering Walk-ins” at the LGBT Center and works to promote the professional opportunities that LGBTQ student groups such as Wharton Alliance can offer for others, including those outside of Wharton.

College senior and President of Wharton Alliance Jackson Burke said the initiatives that the group runs can help students identify and connect to LGBTQ-friendly professionals. 

“We have our corporate sponsors,” Burke said. “Part of the agreement with that is we’ll market for them, we’ll provide them with a resume book and also that we’ll host joint events with them specifically for LGBT students.”

Burke said once businesses show interest in Penn students, the group works to invite them to small gatherings with students, where the ratio of professionals to students is around five to one. This allows students to meet the industry professionals in a more personal setting than they would usually be able to. 

Burke added that Wharton Alliance offers information about businesses that have employee resource groups or business resource groups that focus on gender and sexuality or serve as a space for LGBTQ employees. They also help connect students to businesses that have mentorship groups for their LGBTQ employees. 

“For me it has provided a ton of personal and professional development from people who have shared similar identities and shared similar struggles,” Burke said about the group. 

“To the point where they are that much more invested in my development and my success as a gay man and as an eventual young professional.”

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