Barriers to Employment

Who Are Milwaukee's Unemployed Jobseekers?

October 2015


Unemployment remains a persistent problem in Milwaukee — particularly in central city neighborhoods where poverty has been heavily concentrated for many years. In this analysis, we seek to understand the factors preventing unemployed jobseekers from filling open jobs as they become available. The key research questions driving our analysis are the following:

What are the characteristics of the population served by major workforce development programs in Milwaukee? Aside from the potential lack of specific occupational skills, are certain barriers to employment particularly common among unemployed jobseekers?

We consider the characteristics of individuals who participate in six major workforce development programs in Milwaukee, and quantify the prevalence of employment barriers, including low levels of educational attainment, lack of valid driver’s licenses, and criminal backgrounds. We present our research findings from this analysis via this web page, rather than our usual report format. To review our findings, simply scroll through the tabs below.

While this analysis illuminates the pervasiveness of several common employment barriers, we plan to conduct future research that will delve more deeply into those barriers and present policy options to help more individuals overcome them.