Barriers to Employment
Along with the diverse experiences and needs of each population, there are barriers to employment that also arise among certain groups. For example, a barrier a family may face might be childcare. Another example of a barrier to employment a youth might face is inadequate education and/or experience. Below we have provided a list created by the National Alliance to End Homelessness that gives a few examples of barriers to employment experienced by diverse populations and ways to address them.
- Families with Children – provide access to affordable childcare, family management training, occupational skills training, and flexible employment options, in addition to income and housing supports;
- Youth – help develop leadership skills, engage in positive relationships with adults and practice appropriate workplace behavior, and choose a career pathway that works best for them;
- Older Adults – help them understand their employment potential, and tailor training and employment options to their needs;
- Veterans – draw from their previous military work experience and the occupational training, teamwork, and leadership skills they attained there, help manage trauma and the transition back to the civilian workforce;
- Individuals with a Criminal Record and People Leaving Prison – help participants navigate legal obstacles, tailor job search activities and consider employer incentives, and provide follow-along supports; and
- Individuals with Disabling Conditions, Substance Abuse Issues, and Health Issues – provide streamlined access to permanent supportive housing, quality health care, and benefits counseling, provide the necessary accommodations in both the employment program and the workplace, assist with anti-discrimination efforts, help participants navigate the demands of both work and health, integrate employment services with a treatment regimen including collaboration with addiction counselors and drug testing, foster social support, and work with participants to overcome substance use issues on the job.
Employment First is a framework for systems change that is centered on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life. Publicly finance systems are urged to align themselves with the employment first principles in order to created integrated employment. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) defines integrated employment as “work paid directly by employers at the greater of minimum or prevailing wages with commensurate benefits, occurring in a typical work setting where the employee with a disability interacts or has the opportunity to interact continuously with co-workers without disabilities, has an opportunity for advancement and job mobility, and is preferably engaged full-time.” During Connecticut’s 2018 Point-In-time Count, we learned that 9% of our total homeless population surveyed are chronically homeless, meaning they have been homeless for at least a year and are suffering from a disabling condition. Considering our state’s efforts to finish the job of ending chronic homelessness, we fully support the employment first and integrated employment principles as it promotes employment opportunities for all populations, especially people with a disabling condition. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s page on Employment First available here for more information.
54.8% of young adults between ages 18-24 surveyed in the 2018 CT Youth Count! reported unemployment while 73.5% of youth under 18 reported unemployment. Youth unemployment statistics indicate added barriers to seeking employment due to race, disability, sex, and other identities belonging to protected classes. Unemployment not only induces stress and anxiety but negatively impacts a youth’s ability to access and maintain housing. Fortunately, there are systems in place to address homeless and unstably housed youth unemployment. Youth initiatives under Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) target youth who are basic skills deficient, have dropped out of school, or are low-income. In Connecticut, the Department of Labor oversees WIOA and there are five regions, each with a Workforce Development Board, that administers WIOA funds (see below.) According to the CT Department of Labor website, “…the Boards assess regional employment and training needs and priorities, conduct planning for and coordinate programs that address those needs. In addition, the Boards create annual employment and training plans, and review regional grant proposals and plans submitted to state agencies by other organizations to assure that all regional planning is consistent with an overall statewide blueprint for workforce development.” For Board contacts, visit this web page.
Housing and Employment: A Cross-training on Coordinated Access and Employment Resources for Youth and Young Adults
In the North Central Region, Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) is the Workforce Development Board. As part of a new streamlined process coordinated by CWP and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, youth and young adults presenting to Coordinated Access Appointments (CAN Appointments) in the Hartford and Central CAN regions, who are in need of employment services, will be referred directly to CWP’s youth liaisons who will assess their employment needs and refer them to the appropriate program. This streamlined process is portrayed in the diagram below. For more information on the August 20, 2018 training where this process was debuted, please view the slides also provided below. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CT Department of Labor materials (Spanish)
- Employment for Youth/Workers Under Age 18
- Facilitating Workplace Success for Disconnected and Disadvantaged Youth (NAEH)
- Helping Youth in a Housing Crisis (Flyer)
- Guide To Resume Writing
- Employment of Families Experiencing Homelessness (PDF)
2018 US Department of Health & Human Services Article