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B. Barriers to Employment at Entry Definitions

WIOA requires programs to ask adult learners about barriers to employment. This information is student self-reported, so while staff may have opinions on what barriers a student may have to obtaining or retaining a job or otherwise improving their employment status, this reporting is left up to the student.

WIOA has specific definitions of these 13 barriers to employment. Program staff working with students during intake can help students better understand these barriers by familiarizing themselves with these definitions and simplifying the definitions for use with students. The table below includes these WIOA definitions. It also provides a crosswalk between these reporting categories in LACES and the barriers as federally defined.

LACES Intake Form WIOA Definition (as defined in WIOA Section 3)
INDIVIDUAL WITH A BARRIER TO EMPLOYMENT.—The term ‘‘individual with a barrier to employment’’ means a member of 1 or more of the following populations:

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Displaced Homemaker

(A) Displaced homemakers.

Record YES if the participant has been providing unpaid services to family members in the home and who— (A)(i) has been dependent on the income of another family member but is no longer supported by that income; or (ii) is the dependent spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty (as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10, United States Code) and whose family income is significantly reduced because of a deployment (as defined in section 991(b) of title 10, United States Code, or pursuant to paragraph (4) of such section), a call or order to active duty pursuant to a provision of law referred to in section 101(a)(13)(B) of title 10, United States Code, a permanent change of station, or the service-connected (as defined in section 101(16) of title 38, United States Code) death or disability of the member; and (B) is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment. Record NO if the participant does not meet the conditions described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Economic Disadvantage

(B) Low-income individuals.

Record YES if the participant is a person who: (a) Receives, or in the 6 months prior to application to the program has received, or is a member of a family that is receiving or in the past 6 months prior to application to the program has received: (i) Assistance through the supplemental nutrition assistance program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 USC 2011 et seq.); (ii) Assistance through the temporary assistance for needy families program under part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 USC 601 et seq.); (iii) Assistance through the supplemental security income program under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 USC 1381); or (iv) State or local income-based public assistance. (b) Is in a family with total family income that does not exceed the higher of the poverty line or 70% of the lower living standard income level; (c) Is a youth who receives, or is eligible to receive a free or reduced price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 USC 1751 et seq.); (d) Is a foster child on behalf of whom State or local government payments are made; (e) Is an individual with a disability whose own income is the poverty line but who is a member of a family whose income does not meet this requirement; (f) Is a homeless individual or a homeless child or youth or runaway youth (see No. 700 of this chart); or (g) Is a youth living in a high-poverty area. Record NO if the individual does not meet the criteria presented above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

What is this person's race?

Choose one or more:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black/African American
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • White

(C) Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, as such terms are defined in section 166.

Record YES if the participant indicates that he/she is a member of an Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) [43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.], which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians. Record NO if the participant indicates that he/she does not meet any of these conditions. Record PARTICIPANT DID NOT SELF IDENTIFY if the participant does not self-identify his/her race.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Disabled

(D) Individuals with disabilities, including youth who are individuals with disabilities.

(25) INDIVIDUAL WITH A DISABILITY.— (A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘‘individual with a disability’’ means an individual with a disability as defined in section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102). (B) INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES.—The term ‘‘individuals with disabilities’’ means more than 1 individual with a disability.

Birthdate & Intake Date:

MM DD YYYY

(E) Older individuals.

(39) OLDER INDIVIDUAL.—The term ‘‘older individual’’ means an individual age 55 or older.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Ex Offender

(F) Ex-offenders.

Record YES if the participant is a person who either (a) has been subject to any stage of the criminal justice process for committing a status offense or delinquent act, or (b) requires assistance in overcoming artificial barriers to employment resulting from a record of arrest or conviction for committing delinquent acts, such as crimes against persons, crimes against property, status offenses, or other crimes. Record NO if the participant does not meet any one of the conditions described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Homeless

(G) Homeless individuals (as defined in section 41403(6) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14043e–2(6))), or homeless children and youths (as defined in section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a(2))).

Record YES if the individual: (a) Lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; this includes an individual who: (i) is sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; (ii) is living in a motel, hotel, trailer park, or campground due to a lack of alternative adequate accommodations; (iii) is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; (iv) is abandoned in a hospital; or (v) is awaiting foster care placement; (b) Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, such as a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground; (c) Is a migratory child who in the preceding 36 months was required to move from one school district to another due to changes in the parent’s or parent’s spouse’s seasonal employment in agriculture, dairy, or fishing work; or (d) Is under 18 years of age and absents himself or herself from home or place of legal residence without the permission of his or her family (i.e., runaway youth). This definition does not include an individual imprisoned or detained under an Act of Congress or State law. An individual who may be sleeping in a temporary accommodation while away from home should not, as a result of that alone, be recorded as homeless.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Foster Care Youth

(H) Youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system.

Record YES if the participant is a person who is currently in foster care or has aged out of the foster care system. Record NO if the participant does not meet the conditions described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

English Language Learner
Low Literacy Levels
Cultural Barriers

(I) Individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers.

English Language Learner

Record YES if the participant is a person who has limited ability in speaking, reading, writing or understanding the English language and also meets at least one of the following two conditions (a) his or her native language is a language other than English, or (b) he or she lives in a family or community environment where a language other than English is the dominant language. Record NO if the participant does not meet the conditions described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Low Levels of Literacy

Record YES if the participant is unable to read, write, and speak in English; compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the participant, or in society. Record NO if the participant does not meet the conditions described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Cultural Barriers

Record YES if the participant perceives him or herself as possessing attitudes, beliefs, customs or practices that influence a way of thinking, acting or working that may serve as a hindrance to employment. Record NO if the participant does not meet the conditions described above. Leave blank if the data is not available

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Migrant Farmworker
Seasonal Farmworker

(J) Eligible migrant and seasonal farmworkers, as defined in section 167(i).

Record YES if (A) the participant is a low-income individual (i) who for the 12 consecutive months out of the 24 months prior to application for the program involved, has been primarily employed in agriculture or fish farming labor that is characterized by chronic unemployment or underemployment; and (ii) faces multiple barriers to economic self-sufficiency; or (B) a dependent of the person described above. Record YES if the participant is a seasonal farmworker and whose agricultural labor requires travel to a job site such that the farmworker is unable to return to a permanent place of residence within the same day; and (B) a dependent of the person described above. Record NO if the participant does not meet any one of the conditions described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Exhausting TANF Within Two Years

(K) Individuals within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

Record YES if the participant is within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Record NO if the participant does not meet the condition described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Single Parent or Guardian

(L) Single parents (including single pregnant women).

Record YES if the participant is single, separated, divorced or a widowed individual who has primary responsibility for one or more dependent children under age 18 (including single pregnant women). Record NO if the participant does not meet the condition described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

Does this person have barriers to employment?

Long Term Unemployed

(M) Long-term unemployed individuals.

Record YES if the participant has been unemployed for 27 or more consecutive weeks at program entry. Record NO if the participant does not meet the condition described above. Leave blank if this data is not available.

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