So what happens once you graduate from college? You’ve completed a significant milestone in your life—you’ve achieved something you’ve long dreamed of. Now comes the harder part: finding that perfect job in the career field of your choice. Now you hit the real world. To help prepare you for the rigors of career life, you need guidance and direction. That’s precisely how Out for Work can help. Out for Work originally began in 2004 as a career fair for LGBT students looking for help in their post-college job searches. Today, it is an educational nonprofit partnering with other companies and career fairs. Specifically, Out for Work caters to LGBT students and the challenges they face. Out for Work brings awareness to diversity and promotes empowerment. There are a number of opportunities throughout the year with Out for Work for LGBT students to network and learn the skills they will need to thrive in the working world.
Few things are more frustrating to a college student than working vigorously for four years or more to earn a degree, only to find that landing an ideal job is far from easy. In some cases, it almost seems out of range. A graduate needs certain resources and models to follow as they hunt for career opportunities. LGBT students, particularly, face unique challenges in a sometimes still-intolerant world. But with Out for Work, such students can find tremendous help.
- Support. Few educational groups can provide the individualized support that Out for Work is devoted to giving. Indeed, the nonprofit’s mission is to make sure your post-college experience is positive, rewarding and fulfilling. Out for Work will give you the resources you need to hone your skills and talents and to cultivate the competencies you need to achieve your goals. The group will discuss your career plans and aspirations and arm you with opportunities that fit who you are. And Out for Work understands your specific needs and challenges as an LGBT graduate.
- Partnerships. Out for Work doesn’t do this for you alone. The organization has garnered impressive support from reputable companies, all of whom are in your corner to provide all the support you need. Partner companies include well-known large companies Boeing, Nordstrom, Marriott, Northrop Grumman, Verizon and Walgreens. Even giants such as Google, Toyota and GE have lent their partnership support in the past.
- Financial obligations. Without question, you’ll get your money’s worth with Out for Work conferences. The 2015 National Conference in Dallas, Texas, for example, is just $75 per person. The value gets better for students or graduates from an LGBT Career Center Certified college, as such pay just $55. Groups of 10 pay just $60 (with groups of 10 from LGBT Career Center Certified Colleges pay just 480). Similar values are available for groups of 20.
- Certifications. Out for Work provides certifications for career centers, assigning ratings of A+ Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These are based on quality and quantity of materials available to LGBT students, as well as willingness to hold LGBT events and centers’ tools to help LGBT students learn to “come out” in the workplace.
Obviously, with any organization, Out for Work is not perfect and has things it lacks and in which it falls short. As you search for educational resources—regardless of your persuasion—consider the following cons:
- Not for everyone. Simply put, Out for Work is not ideal for every college student or graduate. This is because the organization caters to the LGBT student or graduate. Therefore, if you are not LGBT, you will either not find the information helpful or may even find the organization and its ideals uncomfortable. You may not agree with its ideals, which is certainly your prerogative. While anyone could certainly benefit from the information Out for Work provides or from the resources it can give, it’s no secret that its focus in LGBT students—not that non-LGBT students would be neglected at all.
- Not accredited. While as an LGBT student you will love the specialized help Out for Work will give you, it is not accredited by any national body. This isn’t as crucial in the type of organization Out for Work is as it is for an actual college or university. Still, an accreditation does attach a great deal of legitimacy to any organization. Form the outside looking in, it’s always better to have certification behind your product.
- Lack of educational opportunities. Out for Work is an excellent resource for graduates to find work in their desired career field. As far as current students, though, it offers no courses in any field of study. It would be nice if current students could have transferable credits from classes it offers, specifically for LGBT issues.