Campus Pride is an organization dedicated to creating a safer and more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students on college campuses. They provide resources and support to students, faculty, and administrators, as well as offering a variety of programs and initiatives designed to foster an inclusive atmosphere for everyone. They also strive to provide a space for LGBTQ+ students to find community and resources that can help them reach their academic and personal goals.
I sat down and spoke with Shane Windemyer, the founder and executive director of Campus Pride, to discuss the new platform Campus Pride Career Connect. A platform focused on facilitating connections for LGBTQ+ youth and professionals.
Matthew: What is Campus Pride Career Connect?
Shane: It is important to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ communities - including in the career journey. The Campus Pride Career Connect provides that safe space for LGBTQ+ students to explore careers and find support from employees who work for LGBTQ-friendly companies. The CPCC is a place where student leaders can ask questions, find support and connect to mentors to build authentic relationships that can positively impact their career path. It is free to any students and employees. Companies are able to partner with Campus Pride to create profiles for their businesses along with Career Centers doing the same.
Matthew: When did it launch?
Shane: November 2, 2022
Matthew: Why is this an important tool for LGBTQ+ young professionals?
Shane: Today LGBTQ+ people still encounter workplace harassment and discrimination. Despite corporate LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices to be more supportive, there remains systemic cultural disparities and bias on the job and in hiring, especially toward transgender people, trans people of color and LGBTQ+ people of color. In addition, Campus Pride has found that 87% of LGBTQ+ youth surveyed considered "corporate America" to be "inhospitable and not welcoming." Seventy-one percent responded to Campus Pride that they “feared the interview process” in applying for their prospective career. This number was higher for transgender youth and the LGBTQ+ youth of color.
The CPCC addresses the fears and trepidation that LGBTQ+ youth (particularly for trans youth and LGBTQ+ youth of color) by fostering connections and building deepened authentic relationships. This will lead to higher diversity recruitment of LGBTQ+ youth, access to a diversity of professions/careers, higher retention of LGBTQ+ employees and an investment in future LGBTQ+ & ally leaders.
Matthew: How can an organization's involvement in CPCC help their recruitment brand of LGBTQ+ people?
Shane: Campus Pride Career Connect goes beyond traditional recruitment practices. It does more than promote your LGBTQ+ inclusive policies, a sponsorship or participation in a parade/marketing campaign for Pride Month. Instead, the CPCC is more intentional in the outreach for LGBTQ+ talent. It enables your employees to volunteer time and actively build individual deepened, authentic relationships with LGBTQ+ youth for career prep and job readiness. This is important to do with any marginalized communities, where there are obstacles to outreach and inclusion.
Matthew: What is a connector? What is a mentor?
Shane: An employee may volunteer and choose to be a Connector or a Mentor in the CPCC. Connectors are individuals who wish to help with a job prep skill like interviewing or resume building; however, may not have time to be a Mentor. You can always change your designation later.
Mentors are individuals who wish to be more involved developing job prep skills, career readiness as well as willing to serve as an ongoing career guide and professional support for Career Candidate(s).
Research has shown positive outcomes and a desire for specific types of psychosocial support in mentoring programs for LGBTQ+ mentees. (Carolyn, et. al, 2009) Your org can join this work! Join Campus Pride Career Connect as an individual or employer and start making a positive impact on the lives of LGBTQ+ people today.