WIOA Barriers to Employment (SiD term: NRS Tracking)

Under new WIOA regulations, the state must report outcomes for participants with certain "Barriers to Employment" at the time of ABE program entry. Below are simplified definitions for the barriers to employment. They are based on the official WIOA PIRL documents

All ABE students should be asked if they have any of these barriers. This data can be entered on the student intake screen, NRS Tracking section, at the time of initial data entry. If the data is not known at intake, this information can be collected at a later date and added as a history item. (See this help article about entering MFIP Expiration date as an example.)

As with all ongoing history items, barriers to employment should be updated on the student's history screen when they change. These items are part of the NRS Tracking history group. 

Barrier to Employment

Simplified Definition

English Language Learner, Basic Skills Deficient/Low Levels of Literacy or Cultural Barriers

ELL and low literacy levels are calculated based on student assessment results.
Cultural Barrier: Student 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. (Automatically applies to ALL ABE/ELL students.)

(Individual with
a Disability)

Includes people who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities.


Homemaker who is
(a) dependent on the income of another family member, but no longer supported by that income OR
(b) a military spouse with reduced income due to deployment, order to active duty, permanent change of station, or service-connected disability or death;

AND, in addition to (a) or (b),
(c) is unemployed/underemployed and having difficulty finding work.


A person who meets one of the following criteria:
(a) Has been subject to any stage of the criminal justice process for committing a status offense or delinquent act;
(b) Requires assistance in overcoming barriers to employment resulting from a record of arrest or conviction.

Exhausting TANF (MFIP)
Within 2 Years

Calculated from Public Assistance item: MFIP Expiration Date
Definition: Student is within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility for MFIP.

Foster Care
(Foster Care Youth)

A person who is currently in foster care or has aged out of the foster care system.

(Homeless Individual, Homeless Children and Youths, or Runaway Youth)

Homeless is defined as:
(a) Lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; this includes a person who meets one of the following critera:

(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;
(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;
(d) Runaway youth

Long-Term Unemployed

Calculated from Work Status item: Date of Unemployment.
Definition: A student who has been unemployed for 27 or more consecutive weeks.    

Low Income
(Further explanation of this item here.)

A person who meets one of the following criteria is considered low income:
(a) Receives one of the following: SNAP; TANF (MFIP); or SSI;
(b) Family income does not exceed the higher of the poverty line or 70% of the lower living standard income level (LLSIL);
(c) Homeless participant or runaway youth;
(d) Disabled with low income even if family is not low income.

Migrant Worker
(Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker)

A student who meets one of the following criteria:
(a) a low-income individual who

(i) for the 12 consecutive months out of prior 24 months 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.

(b) 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.

Single Parent

The student is a single, separated, divorced or widowed individual who has primary responsibility for one or more dependent children under age 18 (including single pregnant women).



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