Job training efforts grow for transgender workers

WASHINGTON - Nearly 20 transgender men and women are graduating from a jobs training program in the District of Columbia.

The month-long program is entirely funded and organized by the city government. It's one of several classes, workshops and job fairs geared toward transgender people that have sprouted around the country. But D.C. officials say their program stands out because it's operated by the government.

The programs reflect a growing acknowledgement of the obstacles transgender men and women face in finding jobs. They frequently endure harassment and discrimination, struggle with unemployment, and turn in disproportionate numbers to drug dealing and sex work.

One participant in the D.C. program is Arriel Michelle Williams, who says the classes have prepared her for the mundane rituals of a working life.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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