Mayor de Blasio Release New Work-It Guide To Better Serve LGBTQI+ Clients From Harlem To Hollis

June 30, 2021

On the final day of Pride Month, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the release of “Work It, NYC: A Guide to LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity.”

A new resource to help provider organizations deliver higher quality services to LGBTQI+ seekers of education and employment services.

This manual, created through a partnership between the NYC Unity Project and the NYC Center for Youth Employment, addresses the distinct barriers to high-quality employment opportunities that many LGBTQI+ people face.

These obstacles often are a direct result of stigma, discrimination, and violence experienced in work and educational settings.

With awareness, preparation, and strategic interventions targeted to LGBTQI+ peoples’ unique needs, workforce providers can deliver the resources and services needed to support LGBTQI+ people.

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“LGBTQI+ New Yorkers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, period,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The ‘Work It, NYC’ manual will give our providers and local organizations the tools to better serve LGBTQI+ jobseekers as we emerge from the pandemic and create an economy that works for everyone. I thank the Unity Project, the Center for Youth Employment and all our partners for their collaboration on this critical project. Visit to check it out today!”

“People who identify as LGBTQI+ want what everyone wants when it comes to employment and education: a safe environment where they are valued and respected,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “The ‘Work it, NYC’ guide to workplace inclusivity further secures our city’s reputation as a welcoming place for the LGBTQI+ community. New York is the city where you are accepted, no matter who you love or how you identify. And for anyone unaware of the barriers to inclusivity, ‘Work it, NYC’ is a guide to knowledge and resources.”

“All jobseekers and workers deserve to enter spaces where they will be treated with dignity and respect,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “LGBTQI+ young adults in particular face acute pressures when they seek services from workforce programs that historically haven’t always affirmed their identities. The resources in this manual will help providers and employers reevaluate and revise their policies and practices to be inclusive of this community. It stands alongside the historic legal protections this administration has put in place for LGBTQI+ workers, and the newly launched Unity Works program to provide customized and comprehensive program services for LGBTQI+ youth, as a symbol of our commitment to helping these young New Yorkers reach their full potential as their authentic selves.”

“LGBTQI+ communities—particularly trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people of color—have been interpersonally and systemically excluded from accessing meaningful job opportunities for far too long,” said Ashe McGovern, Executive Director of the NYC Unity Project and Senior LGBTQ Policy Advisor in the Office of the Mayor. “This comprehensive guide describes the complex context of intersecting forms of injustice that our communities face and creates concrete, actionable guidance so that all workforce providers and employers can more easily create intentional and affirming work spaces for LGBTQI+ community members. This collaborative manual draws upon the expertise of so many and is one key piece of our larger efforts, including our recent launch of the NYC Unity Project, to ensure that our communities are free to show up in every single space, including at work, as their most full and authentic selves, without facing discrimination or mistreatment.”

“Too often, LGBTQI+ young adults entering education and workforce training programs find that those spaces, intentionally or not, are not culturally competent in using best practices to serve LGBTQI+ clients,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “This manual will help providers and employers create safe and supportive spaces, programs, and worksites for LGBTQI+ young adults–both affirming our values of equity and inclusion as a City, and delivering better outcomes for those young adults as well as the employers who will hire them.”

“Creating a supportive, respectful and inclusive work environment that addresses the needs of the LGBTQI+ community is imperative for the success of any organization and the New Yorkers they serve. DYCD values diversity and respect across our agency and funded programs, so I am thrilled that this new guide will give our providers even more tools to foster welcoming, safe and accepting spaces for our City’s LGBTQI+ community,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.

“An inclusive workforce is a stronger workforce, and the ‘Work It, NYC’ guide will give provider organizations and partners a helpful toolkit for developing strategies and best practices that foster a more welcoming workplace for the LGBTQI+ community,” said HRA Administrator Gary Jenkins. “Diversity and inclusion are core tenets of DSS-HRA’s workplace culture, and this comprehensive, culturally responsive resource will ensure we continue to address barriers that have historically prevented the LGBTQI+ community from accessing employment – and ultimately lead to better career outcomes for even more LGBTQI+ New Yorkers.”

The manual articulates the specific employment and training-related needs of the LGBTQI+ community for workforce professionals.

It offers an in-depth overview of how workforce practitioners can create affirming services for LGBTQI+ people of various ages—and why it matters that they do so.

Although the manual includes specific information about disparities that face LGBTQI+ youth, and targeted resources to support them, it is intended to support LGBTQI+ people of all ages.

Highlights include:

  • Key Concepts and Vocabulary. To serve the LGBTQI+ community well, it is imperative to understand different LGBTQI+ identities and be familiar with and appropriately use LGBTQI+ terminology and the most respectful language.
  • Obligations Under the Law. A guide to the legal obligations that organizations and employers have to LGBTQI+ people, as well as resources available to LGBTQI+ individuals
  • Building a Safe(r) Space. How to center the importance of maintaining a trauma-informed lens in work with LGBTQI+ communities, information for supporting transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary (TGNCNB) program participants, and tips on establishing an LGBTQI+-friendly environment within workforce programs.
  • Making Affirming Placements and Referrals. How to get information from employers and other referral sites, which includes asking pointed questions about an employer’s experiences with LGBTQI+ people and cultural competency training.

This manual also can serve as a complement to in-person training sessions, and as a resource brought back to workforce programs by people who have undergone training, to digestibly summarize their training to those who were not able to attend. The manual can be accessed at

“For centuries, people have flocked to New York City to create better lives for themselves and their families. A large portion of these dream-seekers have always been and will continue to be LGBTQI+, who have made our city’s economy prosper and more resilient,” said Daniele Baierlein and Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Co-Executive Directors of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “This new manual will help build a workforce that is more inclusive and will make our city stronger than ever before.”

“LGBTQI+ people deserve a supportive, inclusive and healthy working environment,” said Dr. Torian Easterling, First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer of the Department of Health. “DOHMH is proud to have contributed to this manual, as we continue to advance anti-racist public health practice with an intersectional lens to address systemic inequities.”

“The ‘Work It, NYC: A Guide To LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity’ manual will help to support the evolution of a more inclusive workplace,” said Nathifa Forde, Deputy Executive Director of the NYC Young Men’s Initiative. “Everyone should feel affirmed and safe in the workplace. The Young Men’s Initiative understands the complexity of identity and its importance in creating and sustaining a diverse workforce and a just society at large. YMI supports and eagerly anticipates the utility of the manual to work towards eliminating the obstacles that LGBTQI+ individuals face within the workforce.”

“LGBTQI+ people still face barriers in the job market. Resources to help understand and overcome these hurdles should be easy to find, access, and share,” said John Paul Farmer, Chief Technology Officer for the City of New York. “Our team is incredibly proud to partner with the NYC Unity Project to create a digital landing page for a comprehensive resource guide on LGBTQI+ workplace inclusion. This partnership underscores how modern digital services can amplify critical information — such as this resource guide — to better serve all New Yorkers.”

“When LGBTQ+ New Yorkers are able to be 100% their true selves in the workforce, they are able to contribute 100% of themselves to their employers. This manual will allow for organizations and employers to support their employees and constituents allowing for a positive and productive work environment for all,” said Jayson Littman, Senior Advisor for LGBTQ Community Affairs in the Office of the Mayor.

“LGBTQI+ New Yorkers deserve to feel welcome and supported in all workspaces. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for launching ‘Work It, NYC: A Guide to LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity’,” to make sure employers have resources at their disposal to learn how to meet the needs of LGBTQI+ New Yorkers and create inclusive and affirming workplaces,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.

“From subtle jabs to blatant bigotry, LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers have unjustly experienced hostility in the workforce for far too long. Queens is confident that ‘Work It, NYC’ will help break down any barriers separating LGBTQIA+ residents from the services they seek, as we move toward creating a fairer city for all,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “A just society is one that treats all its people with the dignity and respect they deserve, and that is what we all working toward building here in New York City.”

“Despite significant progress that our city has made in recent years, LGBTQI+ youth often encounter significant barriers to finding secure employment and services. The new ‘Work It, NYC’ manual is a critical resource for providers who work with this vulnerable community. As someone who has worked closely with providers in our borough, including the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, I am proud to see the City taking proactive steps to ensure equity and inclusivity for all New Yorkers,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Following the release of the manual, the DYCD, CYE, and the Unity Project will plan a series of trainings for the provider community on how to best utilize the lessons learned to their programming.

“We can’t be sure that LGBTQ+ youth are protected in their jobs unless we’re working to ensure employers are understanding of and respectful toward LGBTQ+ communities,” said Andrea Bowen, Principal of Bowen Public Affairs Consulting, and lead author of the manual. “This manual is a guide for the City’s employers and workforce professionals, to be a comprehensive and accessible resource to that big goal of truly protecting youth in jobs. And thus building economic power for LGBTQ+ youth.”

“The Hetrick-Martin Institute is elated about the launch of ‘Work It, NYC!’ We know this manual will undoubtedly support workforce development professionals as they build their capacities to assist LGBTQIA+ youth in the career exploration and readiness space,” said Bryson Rose, Director of Advocacy & Capacity Building at The Hetrick-Martin Institute. “It was such an honor to have been invited to share our decades of expertise in the initial phases of this work, so thanks to the NYC Unity Project and Center for Youth Employment for choosing us to be thought partners. We intend to use this manual as one of many tools moving forward to ensure LGBTQIA+ youth see equity and inclusion in the labor market.”

“The subject is very much relevant and of the utmost importance to the success of young LGBTQI+ New Yorkers beginning or already in a career path,” said Mitch Draizin, President of Concordia Philanthropic Fund and the CUNY LGBT Advisory Council. “The manual is equally as relevant and important to the thousands of middle and small sized companies who want to recruit qualified employees, but in many cases are inhibited from reaching out to the LGBTQI community because of a lack of understanding and knowledge of how to engage and communicate its members.”

“It takes continuous, conscious effort to ensure that LGBTQ people are respected and affirmed in their professional lives,” said Trevon Mayers, Senior Director of Advocacy & Community Engagement at NYC’s LGBT Community Center. “For workforce practitioners, equipping themselves with the knowledge and skills to work with LGBTQ New Yorkers in a way that does not expose them to stigma and discrimination will undoubtedly result in better support for our community.”

“At the Ali Forney Center, we applaud the city’s work to not only develop programs and services to meet the unique needs of homeless LGBTQ+ youth in our city, but also to develop program designs and best practices to help others in taking on this very important and necessary work. LGBTQ+ youth make up a disproportionate part of the homeless population across the country and there is a dearth of services designed to help them, this is a monumental step in helping them,” said Alexander Roque, President and Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center.

“Housing justice for LGBTQ+ youth means more than ensuring every young person has a safe, stable place to live,” said Dylan Waguespack, Public Policy and External Affairs Director at True Colors United. “Real economic opportunity for young people is a critical piece of the puzzle. That’s why we’re thrilled to support the work of so many stakeholders who’ve come together to achieve that vision for New York City.”

“As an organization that works to build the capacity of workforce development service providers and strengthen workforce programming for unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers, WPTI applauds the City of New York for the launch of Unity Works and the development of ‘Work It, NYC: A Guide to LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity’,” said Sabeen Pirani, Senior Director of Learning and Consulting at the Workforce Professionals Training Institute. “These important resources will enable workforce providers to more effectively support LGBTQI+ jobseekers, provide more culturally-competent programming, and help build more equitable, inclusive, and welcoming workplaces for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, they will ensure that LGBTQI+ individuals, who have suffered higher-than-average job losses over the past year, have greater access to career pathways and opportunities for economic advancement.”

Michelle Yanche, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services, said, “As we mark the end of Pride and this special time to celebrate the contributions of the LGBTQI+ community, we must also acknowledge the educational, career, and health obstacles our LGBTQI+ neighbors still experience in our society. It is only by accepting and taking actionable steps to rectify this truth in our community, our programs, our activism, our neighborhoods, and our workplaces that we will be able to enact real change – starting by committing to stand in solidarity with, and act in advocacy on behalf of, LGBTQI+ youth in New York City. That’s why we welcome the release of the ‘Work It, NYC’ guide to address the much-needed support that the LGBTQI+ community – including many of the young people we work with each day – deserve in the workplace and beyond to improve their livelihoods and make sure they are set up for success.”

“The true story of our city’s recovery will be measured by how inclusive and equitable it is for all New Yorkers, and ‘Work It, NYC’ will be a critical resource for making it a reality,” said Jose Ortiz, Jr., CEO of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. “Workforce development providers have and will continue to play an integral part in improving the livelihoods of LGBTQI+ people as they continue to break down systemic barriers to employment and foster safe, welcoming workplaces for all.”

“The Door is proud to partner with the Mayor’s Office, DYCD, HRA, and the Center for Youth Employment on the ‘Work It NYC: A Guide to LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity’,” said Kelsey Louie, CEO of The Door/Broome Street Academy. “We are grateful to live in a city that has invested resources to support LGBTQI youth through a comprehensive workforce development initiative like NYC Unity Works. Participating in the creation of this manual has allowed us to document best practices so that providers in the city and across the country can better support LGBTQI youth.”

Founded in September 2017 by First Lady Chirlane McCray, the NYC Unity Project is the City’s first-ever, multi-agency project focused on developing innovative policy and program interventions to support and empower LGBTQI+ communities.

With multi-year commitments already totaling over $10 million to ensure LGBTQI+ communities are safe, supported, and healthy, the NYC Unity Project takes an intersectional and multifaceted approach that focuses on tackling the root causes of systemic inequities while also building programs and services to address urgent community needs right now.

Currently the NYC Unity Project supports LGBTQI+ communities with programs and services focused on: building workforce opportunities and job access, building permanent housing and homelessness prevention services, facilitating family acceptance to prevent youth homelessness, and promoting health equity across systems, among other programs.

The NYC Center for Youth Employment (CYE) serves to expand, improve, and align publicly funded programs that help young New Yorkers build skills, gain experience, explore potential career paths, and prepare for success in the world of work.

In partnership with stakeholders in City government, the private sector, philanthropy, and the provider community, CYE provides subject matter expertise and capacity and resource support within New York City’s youth workforce ecosystem.

CYE coordinates classroom education, career exploration, work readiness, and personal development to provide young New Yorkers with the tools they need to build the lives they want.

In order to ensure every New York City taxpayer dollar went to serving LGBTQI+ youth, the New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) leveraged free, open-source technology released by the U.S. Digital Service and 18F to rapidly create an accessible, mobile-friendly, and user-centric website that houses and promotes this important City resource.

This approach ensures that the “Work it, NYC: A Guide to LGBTQI+ Workplace Inclusivity” manual can always be found and downloaded by those who need it.

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