Illinois State is once again a key player for the OutforWork National Career Conference and PRIDE Career Fair. This is the University’s fifth year helping to organize the conference and fair, which are geared toward providing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students with career development.

“The conference provides a safe environment for students with a shared commonality to network and build confidence,” said Maureen Roach, senior assistant director of Illinois State’s Career Center. She serves on the OutforWork steering committee along with representatives from the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northern Illinois University and DePaul University.

The goal of the conference, which will be held in Chicago from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29, is to educate, prepare and empower students during the transition from academia into the workplace. The three-day event includes breakout sessions, workshops and keynote speakers, such as Mona Noriega, the commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. “There are challenges LGBT people face when entering any new environment,” said Roach. “They have to ask, ‘Will I be accepted? How much can I share about myself?’ The conference brings them in contact with successful professionals who have faced those challenges and can inspire and guide them.”

The Career Fair holds special importance for LGBT students entering the workforce, who may be hesitant to list leadership roles or activities on a resume that are LGBT based. “At the OutforWork fair, students and alumni can be open about themselves and the work they have done with potential employers,” Roach said.

As the University is a member of the OutforWork Network, Roach hopes faculty and staff will encourage students to attend the conference. “It’s important for us to show support and help our LGBT students with the challenges they may encounter with exploring career options and workplace inclusion,” she said.

For additional information on the conference, or to help a student register, contact Roach at 438-2200.