Do you feel stuck at your low-income job? Are you struggling financially and worried about the effect on your children?
The barriers to a quality job that pays the bills often seem insurmountable.
But don’t give up!
There is hope! In this blog, our team at RaiseUp Families discusses common obstacles to transitioning from low-income employment and offers strategies to surmount them.
If you’re ready to move on to a sustainable future, keep reading!
Therapists have a saying that the first step to change is awareness. The same is true for financial or job change.
You can know you're struggling but will feel powerless to do anything about it without an awareness of the hang-ups. So, let’s start by naming some of the common barriers you’re likely to encounter when trying to move out of a low-income job or situation.
Many people lack the education or credentials needed to hold a decently paying job that would support their family. This takes shape in at least two ways.
Youth from low-income communities are especially at risk for low educational attainment, even at grade and high school levels. College is out of the question for many. Lack of funding, stress, housing insecurity, and other systemic and personal challenges affect this outcome.
Poor education affects basic skills needed for career success, including a good vocabulary, math skills, and reading comprehension. The lack of hard skills training opportunities also means individuals often need more skills to obtain a well-paying practical job such as an electrician.
On the other hand, middle-class and wealthy families tend to have significantly greater access to quality education and skill training.
There are many unspoken rules for getting into college, securing internships, getting a good job, and navigating the educational and career worlds. This is also true of developing new skill sets.
If you come from a family of welders, for example, but have aspirations to be an investment banker, your family will likely not have the knowledge to be able to coach you on how to go about achieving that goal.
Many people from under-resourced communities don’t have connections to people in positions of influence (e.g., business owners) that could help them get a job or the training they need. This can create significant barriers to entry for anyone seeking to move out of a low-income job or enter a good college or a technical school.
People may not have access to transportation. This can be due to a lack of access to public transportation, not having a driver's license, or the inability to afford a car. Sometimes, a family may own one vehicle that needs to be shared among two or more people or cannot afford repairs, gas, or car insurance.
This issue is twofold. First, disadvantaged families face greater instability and lack resources. The disruption of moving often or needing to work long hours often keeps parents from spending time with their children. This can hinder quality parenting and leave parents feeling guilty and children at greater risk of continuing the poverty cycle.
Second, many parents can’t have jobs because they lack access to affordable, quality childcare. This is especially problematic in single-parent families where lack of childcare means no income. Finding and affording childcare is difficult, even for middle-class families, and often completely out of reach for low-income or disadvantaged families. Just take a look at these stats.
Persons with a criminal record will likely struggle to find work at a living wage. Many job applications ask applicants to identify if they have a record, and few provide an opportunity for the applicant to provide context or a story of change. Because of this, the national nonprofit United Way advocates for the expungement of records for nonviolent offenders.
This is a daunting list.
But take a deep breath. There are ways to overcome these obstacles, which we’ll discuss next.
Naming the obstacles can feel overwhelming. But there is hope and resources available for overcoming them!
Let's look at a few.
If you’re from the Houston area, RaiseUp Families is here for you. We care deeply about helping families overcome the obstacles keeping them from financial stability and sustainability. Here’s how we do it.
We offer two programs to help families move toward financial stability.
Two aspects that set these programs apart are our book club and the one-to-one mentoring.
Does it all really make a difference?
Yes! Just take a look at our latest impact report.
Finding resources can feel overwhelming, but it's possible! Here are a few ways to locate resources.
For more detailed information on these resources, see our blog, 7 Contributing Factors to Financial Insecurity in Families (Plus 8 Ways to Find Resources).
Other resources include:
If you’re an employer, you can help support families from disadvantaged communities and situations in many ways. The key is to be creative!
Identifying and overcoming obstacles to career growth and financial stability can seem daunting. But it’s possible, and resources are available to help you reach your goals!
We hope you found this blog helpful! If you did, you might also enjoy the posts linked below:
At RaiseUp Families, we support families with school-aged children struggling financially. If you’re from the Huston area and you or someone you love is in this situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to help!
Here’s to hope and a brighter future!