Barriers to Employment

By Alison Vaughn

When faced with challenges, we rise to meet them. However, when several challenges arise simultaneously, like looking for employment while managing children at home who have to attend school online, finding a win-win solution seems daunting.

Getting back to work during the COVID-19 pandemic puts many of us in a challenging situation. We need to support our families financially, but we have kids or vulnerable older people at home. With these strange times adding to existing employment barriers, to come out on top will require us to be resilient, flexible, and forward-looking.

Here are some resources and solutions to overcome employment barriers and lack of childcare during these challenging times.

Some Industries Have Increased Hiring

Limited social gatherings in restaurants, concerts, and sports events have quashed some job opportunities. However, there are industries under increased demand who are looking for people.

If you previously worked in a public venue or if your former employer downsized, open the scope of your search to include positions in the following industries:

  • Grocery stores
  • Health (support, maintenance, and office services)
  • Online retail (e-commerce)
  • Shipping and delivery
  • Sales
  • Childcare
  • Eldercare

Online Work Options Are Expanding

If kids or older adults at home make going away to work a burden or risk, online job options are growing. Even traditional employers are adapting to part of their workforce contributing from home.

Doing your job from home requires additional discipline and accountability. It is not for everyone. No one is watching you get the work done, but you still have to deliver. The kitchen or your favorite distraction is right there, taunting you. Your family may think they can interrupt and distract you and will have to learn to respect work-time boundaries. However, it can also be a lifesaver.

Here are four sources for online jobs:

  • co
  • Indeed(for location, use “remote” or “work from home”)
  • Monster(for location, use “work from home”)
  • SimplyHired(for location, use “remote”)

As with anything online, be wary of scams during your job search. If it seems fishy or too good to be true, investigate thoroughly before sharing your personal information. For example, there is almost never a reason to pay a subscription fee to find a job or start one.

You can always Google an employer name followed by “scam” or “reviews” to see if there have been complaints, or check with the Better Business Bureau. Glassdoor is another useful source of employer reviews.

Childcare During the Pandemic

You want your kids to be safe while you are working. If they are not at school and no adults can stay at home, you need childcare.

For many parents, childcare was a challenge before COVID-19. There are areas all around the country without available and affordable childcare centers. Families and communities have to get creative and find solutions.

With more family members and friends not working, you may have trustworthy support in the community if you look around or ask around. Another parent in your children’s school may be able to help and appreciate the opportunity to make a little money or make a trade.

The interruption of customary school attendance is an unexpected burden for those with kids who are getting back to work. Luckily, no one is alone. We are facing this pandemic together.

One Step at a Time

If you’ve ever been on a car ride with a little kid, you’ve probably heard, “Are we there yet?”

Overcoming the current barriers to employment is a journey of multiple steps. The only sure way to fail is to fail to try. Keep your focus on the solutions you are traveling toward and take daily actions to drive you there.

 

Alison Vaughn is founder of Detroit-based Jackets for Jobs, Inc., a nonprofit that provides career skills training and clothing to job seekers. Jackets for Jobs, Inc is recognized by ABC’s The View, NBC’s Today Show and NASDAQ  as a worthy organization to support. Vaughn is a sought after public speaker and community advocate. She is a Comcast Newsmaker, Goldman Sachs Scholar and honored as Crain’s Notable women in Non-Profits. She’s also been featured in Entrepreneur & Fortune Magazine.