WASHINGTON (AP) — Arriel Michelle Williams is in the early stages of a painstaking physical transformation from man to woman, and the clanging dissonance between her masculine voice and high heels, earrings and fashionable ladies' tops risks disquieting potential employers.

She left high school before graduation, so her bare-bones resume is limited to stints in a Burger King kitchen, as a parking attendant, volunteering at a drug addiction center and fetching food orders at an Atlanta sports arena.

Even with those obstacles — not to mention a poor economy — the 26-year-old is pursuing a social work career, and the government's helping her get ready. Williams and 16 other transgender men and women are graduating Friday from a month-long, city-funded job training and life skills pilot program in the District of Columbia that aims to find jobs for an often-marginalized population.

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