Human Rights Campaign and Verizon Foundation Announce Professional Development & Training Initiative in Support of LGBTQ Workers

by Aryn Fields

HRC’s Workplace Equality Program Will Develop Innovative, Comprehensive eLearning Resources on LGBTQ Inclusion

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced that the Verizon Foundation is committing $1 million over two years to launch a new professional development and training initiative to help drive transformational change for LGBTQ workers. In partnership with the Verizon Foundation, HRC will create eLearning resources and training that would deliver evidence-based professional development designed to change the daily lives of LGBTQ workers.

One year ago, the historic Supreme Court Bostock decision ensured that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is unlawful, and while that was powerful landmark in our movement for equality, policies alone do not usher in meaningful change. Far too many of us experience homophobia, transphobia, racism and gender bias in the workplace despite policies prohibiting it. We must change hearts and minds for these policies to be truly effective—with the support from the Verizon Foundation, this training institute will transform workplace culture, going beyond mere policies.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

HRC’s Workplace Equality Program trains tens of thousands of professionals on the fundamentals of creating inclusive environments for LGBTQ workers. However, the program is limited in its ability to reach broader audiences by the in-person nature of its offering. With the support from the Verizon Foundation, for a new digital approach to training, the Workplace Equality Program can reach millions of professionals and make a defining difference in the lives of LGBTQ people domestically and globally.

Due to the multi-year contribution from the Verizon Foundation, the HRC Foundation will develop eLearning modules for corporate audiences to dramatically shift the level of competency around LGBTQ people and the challenges facing the community. The shift to a more virtual training climate is not only necessary in the new COVID-19 environment, but it is also the best way to reach people where they are, in urban, suburban and rural communities from coast to coast and globally.

HRC’s Workplace Equality Program has a long track record of driving LGBTQ-inclusive policies in workplaces through its Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which has been administered for 20 years and is the national benchmarking survey.

In order to breathe life into the policies outlined in the Corporate Equality Index, workplaces must provide comprehensive training to their employees. From helping HR managers understand how to support an employee who is transitioning on the job to ensuring workers understand the ways unconscious bias impacts multiply marginalized co-workers, training can be an essential tool for culture change. We are thrilled to be able to develop new resources to meet these critical needs.

Jay Brown, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Programs, Research and Training

Despite incredible progress in terms of broad public support for LGBTQ equality and in great strides being made across sectors adopting LGBTQ-inclusive policies, millions of people still do not feel comfortable being out at work. In A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, HRC Foundation sought to uncover the prevalence of LGBTQ workers feeling pressure to hide their sexual orientation and gender identity on the job and the cost of that hiding both to individuals and employers writ large. Approximately 80 percent of non-LGBTQ people report that they feel LGBTQ people “should not have to hide who they are at work,” however, 36 percent of non-LGBTQ people would feel uncomfortable hearing an LGBTQ coworker talk about their social lives, dating or related subjects.

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ community.

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