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Employment success is a critical aspect of individual and community well-being. However, a variety of barriers can prevent people from accessing employment opportunities, leaving them without access to the resources they need to support themselves and their families. Identifying these barriers is an essential step in developing strategies to overcome them.

One of the most significant barriers to employment is a lack of education and training. Many employers require specific skills and knowledge, and those without them are often unable to compete for these jobs. This problem is particularly acute in today’s rapidly changing economy, where technological advancements are rendering many traditional skills obsolete. Access to education and training programs can help individuals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to secure gainful employment.

Discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, and other factors can also create significant barriers to employment. This discrimination can take many forms, including implicit biases, hiring practices that favor certain groups, and workplace cultures that exclude or marginalize certain individuals. To overcome these barriers, employers must be proactive in creating inclusive workplaces that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Many individuals face barriers to employment due to a lack of reliable transportation. This issue is particularly acute in rural areas, where public transportation is limited, and many jobs are located far from residential areas. Providing affordable transportation options, such as carpooling, ride-sharing services, or subsidized public transportation, can help address this problem.

For many individuals, childcare responsibilities can create significant barriers to employment. Without access to affordable and high-quality childcare services, parents may be unable to work outside the home, limiting their earning potential and career opportunities. Providing affordable and flexible childcare options can help parents balance their work and family responsibilities, increasing their access to employment opportunities.

Individuals with criminal records may face significant barriers to employment, as many employers are reluctant to hire individuals with past convictions. These individuals may require additional support, such as job training programs and assistance with expunging their criminal records, to access gainful employment.

Individuals with health issues and disabilities may also face barriers to employment, as many jobs may not be accessible to them or may require accommodations that are not provided by the employer. Providing accommodations, such as modified work schedules, assistive technology, and accessible facilities, can help individuals with health issues and disabilities access employment opportunities.

Identifying barriers to employment success is an essential step in developing strategies to overcome them. By identifying potential barriers, individuals can take proactive steps to improve their employment prospects, such as seeking education and training, gaining work experience, accessing transportation resources, seeking support for personal or emotional barriers, and addressing legal issues.

The Barriers to Employment Success Inventory (BESI), by John J. Liptak is a widely used tool used to identify and address the various barriers that prevent an individual from achieving employment success. The BESI is designed to identify specific barriers to employment, provide information on the severity of those barriers, and assist in the development of an action plan to overcome those barriers. It consists of 50 items, which are divided into five categories: Personal & Financial, Educational & Physical, Career Decision-Making & Planning, Job-Seeking Knowledge, Education & Training. Each item is rated on a four-point scale, ranging from “no concern” to ” great concern.”

The BESI is an essential resource for Career Development Practitioners, Occupational Therapists, Caseworkers, Vocational Rehab Professionals, and community-based organizations that are committed to helping individuals achieve employment success. Addressing employment barriers requires a multifaceted approach, that starts with identifying what they are, and creating a plan to overcome them.