Indy Pride leaders are helping to make employment opportunities more inclusive

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indy Pride, Inc. is kicking off a series of career support events on Wednesday ahead of their Oct. 6 annual career fair.

The goal of the fair, now in its third year, is to help make employment opportunities more inclusive.

“A lot of LGBTQ+ people have to make the choice of when they come out to their employers or risk not getting the job,” said Tiffany Hanson, director of marketing at Indy Pride, Inc.

Hanson says Indianapolis is making progress when it comes to inclusive hiring practices. The fair jumped from 20 companies to 35 in just a few years and both organizers and employers say it’s a sign of changing times.

“This past year we were really excited that the Supreme Court ruled LGBTQ+ people are protected under the civil rights act,” said Hanson.

The landmark June ruling offers protections to millions of workers nationwide.

Workers at companies like GEICO, which has been part of the career fair since the beginning, say inclusion matters and helps people be more productive.

“At the end of the day, you spend more time at work than at home, if you’re going to be productive you need to be yourself,” said Loren Baran, who runs the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group at GEICO Indianapolis.

The group was formed three months ago after an employee survey made it clear the resource was needed.

“To put up a picture of my wife and not feel like someone is going to be like, ‘why’ or ‘that’s not appropriate,'” said Baran, who married her wife in January of this year.

Hanson said the career fair and events leading up to it, help companies not only hire fairly but remain inclusive.

“Benefits. So if I am in a same-sex couple and my wife has a baby, do I get the same amount of maternity leave as someone else would?” said Hanson.

It’s questions like this that led Indy Pride, Inc. to start the career fair in the first place, and while this year is virtual, Hanson says it’s never been more important.

“A lot of people have lost jobs and have had to pivot career paths because of the pandemic, so we need to make sure they have new skills to succeed,” Hanson added.

People do have to register for both the career support events and the career fair, which will have one-on-one interviews with several Indianapolis companies like GEICO, Delta Faucet Company, and Fifth Third Bank.

For a full list of patriating companies and to register for any of the events, click here.