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People with Barriers to Employment

Do you think you have a situation preventing you from accessing employment?

Career seekers with barriers to employment have access to support through American Job Centers which are designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services needed to succeed in the labor market. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation governs these services. Career seekers with unique circumstances, or barriers to employment include justice-involved individuals, and people experiencing homelessness. You can learn more about what qualifies as a unique circumstance, or barrier, by visiting the U.S. Department of Labor's WIOA resources. Below you can find out more about how career seekers with a criminal record, and who are experiencing homelessness have found success in apprenticeship as a career pathway, along with resources for people with these specific considerations.

Overcoming circumstances by accessing apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is a way to help you get back on your feet by providing reliable means of gaining marketable skills and work experience all while earning a living wage. Despite having an incarceration record, or experiencing homelessness apprenticeship can jumpstart your career by helping you gain a valued skillset and a portable credential, paving the path to a sustainable future.

Get Started in Apprenticeship

Find an apprenticeship

Ready to Explore

If you have some understanding of apprenticeship and want to get started immediately, visit our Apprenticeship Job Finder to search for jobs in your area.

Get Help

Need additional support

Locate an American Job Center to access career exploration assistance and other services to help steer you in the right direction. 

“People with felonies aren’t just felons, but are people who need training to be successful after prison. The Apprenticeship program provided me with the frame work and the staff provided me the encouragement to succeed.”

Andrew Hardieck, Indiana Department of Corrections Apprentice Graduate (2016)

How apprenticeship can help ease the transition for people returning from incarceration

Apprenticeship provides the necessary training and skill development for justice-involved individuals. While having a record can make obtaining full time employment challenging, the U.S. Department of Labor provides support for this transition in several ways:

  • Clean Slate Clearinghouse provides state statutory information related to criminal record clearance policies across the U.S., and help remove your criminal record from easy public access, in addition to other services.
  • Under the WIOA and Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program, DOL provides funding to communities and organizations looking to support justice-involved youth, young adults, and formerly incarcerated adults to develop skills and find relevant employment opportunities. While REO programs are not all apprenticeships or pre-apprenticeships, REO programs can connect individuals to these opportunities. REO is available in some - but not all cities - and aims to support people across all available DOL programs and services. To learn more about how your community is supporting reentry transitions, contact your local American Job Center by using our Partner Finder tool.

“Through the U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship program I was trained on the inside to do what I was hired to do on the outside. I did not waste time while incarcerated, but earned a B.S. degree and worked hard to be ‘ready to go to work’ upon release. I am grateful for the Apprenticeship program and to the staff for this program.”

Steve Johns, Indiana Department of Corrections Apprentice Graduate (2016) and current administrative assistant in a sales department of a local manufacturing company in Indiana

How individuals overcame challenges and found success

Tiffany Holland first started working in hospitality as a Front Desk Agent because of her love of travel and meeting people. Later, while working to support her four young children and recover from losing her home during Hurricane Michael, she was selected by Aimbridge to be a Lodging Manager apprentice with the AHLA Foundation in 2019. Here she quickly discovered the value of her training. 

Read Tiffany's Story

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Before Erica DeRosier became a graduate of the Step Up for Women Advanced Manufacturing Program, she had multiple barriers to overcome including transportation access and lack of employment history due to a criminal record.

Read Erica's Story

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Look for an apprenticeship today!

Visit our Apprenticeship Job Finder to see if there is an open Apprenticeship Job that's right for you, or to explore current Apprenticeship Programs.

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