SATURDAY, MARCH 25
11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
HILTONS AT MCCORMICK PLACE
The Workforce Development Conference (WDC) will convene Black LGBTQ+ nonprofit staff and unemployed people from across Illinois for a keynote by an award-winning speaker, panel discussions with industry professionals, workshops geared towards subcommunities such as trans people and seniors, mock interviews, and more.
Janel Bailey is a campaigner who has devoted their time to organizing to improve the lives of working people, with an emphasis on queer and Black workers. Bailey is currently the Co-Executive Director of Organizing and Programs at the LA Black Worker Center, where Black workers come together to address the Black jobs crisis in California and improve their working and living conditions. Prior to joining the L.A. Black Worker Center, Bailey led canvasses in Chicago neighborhoods to build a base of people to address over-policing in housing, and helped to establish the Chicago Black Worker Center’s first membership. Throughout their entire career, Bailey organized to build worker power to raise standards in industries, and facilitated and witnessed organizers’ leadership development and victories.
The Black unemployment rate is almost three times the rate for white people, and has been exacerbated by COVID-19. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Black unemployment rate is higher in IL than in any other state, and even higher in Chicago than the rest of IL. IL nonprofits employ 1 million people. Black LGBTQ+ folks are disproportionately impacted by most of the issues these organizations seek to address – HIV, housing, poverty, etc. –
so hiring Black LGBTQ+ people addresses the wage gap while fostering leadership and leveraging community insight to address the root causes of structural inequality.
02. Develop Nonprofit Leaders
100% of Black LGBTQ+ board members and staff who responded to the Black Queer Equity Index reported experiencing marginality even after securing a position,
and emphasized the need for culturally-responsive professional development opportunities. Many staff were hired so that organizations could qualify for grants, but then felt tokenized because employers did not invest in their development through mentorship, employee support, professional training, or leadership opportunities. WDC arose from this feedback to fulfill this need.
03. Develop Professional Networks
WDC helps develop relationships between Black LGBTQ+ nonprofit professionals. Research shows that when people from marginalized communities develop professional networks with one another,
it improves their job performance, mental health and retention rates.
By fostering relationship building among Black LGBTQ+ nonprofit professionals, we are strengthening institutions while also strengthening communities and supporting individuals.