Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award




Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Malcolm Scott

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Thomas Winter

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Amelia Reeves


ABSTRACT The purpose of this research study is to explore the perceived influence, potential impact, and benefits that upskilling, and reskilling have on the employed, underemployed, and unemployed worker. In addition, this study seeks to explore whether the perceived benefits of upskilling and reskilling include moving above the poverty line and therefore, out of poverty in real and sustainable ways. This resulting new position and potential increase in pay could have the positive impact of moving them and their families above the poverty line. The results of this study indicate that participants perceive upskilling and reskilling to be an option that is available but only for the select few. It is perceived that employers look to a certain employee(s) for upskilling/reskilling and exclude others. It is also perceived the opportunities are limited. The results of this study further highlight several themes that participants perceived as barriers. These themes included such barriers as mental health, criminal background, daycare issues, lack of education, time/procrastination, transportation, not enough income, knowledge/skills, age, fear, language barrier, lack of technology skills, and disabilities. The implications from the findings of this research include more community awareness of employment barriers to those with prior criminal history and experiencing reentry to help combat recidivism. There is also a need for social work education on the micro and macro levels to assist individuals experiencing mental disorders that lead to barriers to employment for the underserved and overlooked populations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Included in

Social Work Commons



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