Employment Barriers (EB)
Various economic and philosophical models and theories have been set forth in
attempts to explain the causes, consequences, and solutions to the issue of
unemployment. What most agree on is that the repercussions of unemployment are
varied and far-reaching: Unemployed individuals are not able to earn money to
provide food, housing, or meet financial obligations are damaging costs
to families and society. In fact, unemployment also increases mental stress, and can
play a role in substance abuse, loss of self-esteem and other emotional and
mental health problems.
Unemployment is, generally, defined as occurring when an individual is
actively seeking work for at least four weeks, but is still not employed.
Many countries, including the United States, are currently experiencing high
unemployment rates. The struggling economy puts hard-to-employ individuals at
an even greater disadvantage. Some unemployed individuals who are at a
disadvantage in the job market, can benefit from early detection of employment
barriers and prompt intervention, which increases the likelihood of their
becoming and remaining employed. These clients may have impaired self-esteem,
unmanaged/mismanaged stress, work-related attitude/motivational problems,
substance use disorders, or other challenges that lower their odds of gaining
successful employment. An accurate and meaningful assessment instrument is key
to proper identification of employment barriers. Identification of occupational
barriers is a prerequisite to positive change, and for developing effective
courses of action.
Employment Barriers (EB) is an assessment, or test, developed to allow
professionals, working with hard-to-employ individuals, to pinpoint barriers to
employment, while classifying their employment barriers (problems) in terms of
their severity. Employment Barriers (EB), concurrently, measures multiple
barriers to employment, which facilitates referral to appropriate
counseling/intervention, or treatment programs. The EB test and its six scales
are described below.
Employment Barriers (EB) is a 116-item, self-report test that is written at a
low sixth grade reading level. The EB test can be completed in 25 minutes. EB
answer sheets are computer-scored, with typed reports available on-site, within 2
½ minutes of data entry. The Employment Barriers (EB) facilitates early
employment problem identification, which speeds up problem intervention,
remediation, and help. EB scales represent the test’s areas of inquiry. The six
Employment Barriers (EB) scales include: Degree of Confidence Scale, Work
Orientation Scale, Self-Esteem Scale, Alcohol Scale, Drug Scale, and the Stress
Management Scale. Additional Employment Barriers (EB) information and research
is set forth on www.vocational-barriers.com and on
www.vocational-barriers.com and on
www.employment-barriers.com. The Employment Barriers (EB) assessment
can be administered in two ways: on Windows diskettes or USB flash drive (www.bdsltd.com),
or over the internet (www.online-testing.com).
This enables test users to select the test modality that best meets their
Six (6) Employment Barriers Scales (Measures)
1. Degree of Confidence Scale: Measures how truthful the client was
while completing the Employment Barriers (EB) test. This scale identifies and
measures the severity of denial, problem minimization, and attempts to “look
good.” The Degree of Confidence Scale determines the trustworthiness,
dependability, honesty, or truthfulness of the client while they completed the
EB. It would be naïve to think that everybody completing a self-report is
truthful. The Degree of Confidence Scale is similar to the Minnesota
Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L, F and K-scale methodology.
Evaluators can be confident in using EB reports, because they know when the
client was truthful while completing the Employment Barriers (EB).
When the Degree of Confidence Scale is at or below the 89th percentile, all EB
scale scores are accurate. In contrast, when a Degree of Confidence Scale score
is at or above the 90th percentile, all EB scale scores are inaccurate, due to
client denial, problem minimization, and attempts to “fake good.” A rule of
thumb is, the higher the Degree of Confidence Scale score, the more defensive
and guarded the client.
2. Work Orientation Scale: Measures the client’s work-related attitude,
mind-set, and motivation to work. To a large extent, these factors influence job
application outcomes and, when hired, the period of time employed. For example,
how does a person perceive, value, or accept work? Child care, transportation,
expenses, clothes, familial emotional support (or the lack thereof) can all
influence a person’s commitment to work.
The problem threshold for the Work Orientation Scale is the 70th percentile. Work
Orientation Scale scores, in the 70th to 89th percentile, are indicative of
problems. Interventions might range from talking with the client, showing a
sincere interest in their well-being, and providing emotional support of
endeavor. Clients scoring at or above the 90th percentile often benefit from
group counseling with peers. Co-occurring disorders often complicate the
client’s counseling and/or treatment needs, particularly if they involve
substance (alcohol and other drugs) use or abuse. It would be a mistake to
underestimate the importance of work attitudes, when identifying barriers to
3. Self-Esteem Scale: Reflects a person’s explicit valuing and appraisal
of self. Self-Esteem incorporates an attitude of acceptance-approval versus
rejection-disapproval of self. Self-Esteem is a person’s perception of himself,
or herself. Self-Esteem refers to recognition of one’s personal abilities and
achievements, together with acknowledgment and acceptance of personal
limitations. Self-Esteem reflects feelings of self-worth or the lack thereof.
An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Self-Esteem Scale score indicates a self-rejection disapproving attitude. Such a client has a poor or negative attitude
toward self. A severe problem (90th to 100th percentile) Self-Esteem Scale
score reflects extreme self-alienation. As with all Employment Barriers (EB)
scales - the higher the score, the more problematic or severe the problem. A
concurrently, elevated, Alcohol Scale and/or Drug Scale score is a malignant
sign. With an alcohol and/or drug abuse overlaying impaired self-esteem, the
question becomes: “Where to begin?” Many clinicians would stabilize the
substance abuse, hoping that as the client comes to terms with their substance
abuse, their self-esteem will also improve.
4. Alcohol Scale: Measures alcohol use and the severity of abuse.
Alcohol refers to beer, wine, and other liquors. It is a legal or licit
substance. Alcohol is, all too often, associated with absenteeism and
work-related injuries. Alcohol Scale scores at or below the 69th percentile are,
invariably, not problematic. The alcohol problem threshold is the 70th
percentile. Alcohol Scale scores in the 70th to 89th percentile are indicative
of drinking problems. Also, an elevated (70th percentile or higher) Alcohol
Scale score, in conjunction with other elevated EB scale scores, magnifies or
exacerbates the severity of the areas of concern, represented by co-occurring
elevated scale scores.
In situations in which the Alcohol Scale and Drug Scale scores are both
elevated, the higher scale scores represent the client’s substance of choice.
And, when both the Alcohol Scale and Drugs Scale score are in the severe problem
(90th to 100th percentile) range, explore polysubstance abuse. To prevent
miscategorization of “recovering” alcoholics, a “recovering” question (item
#112) has been incorporated into the EB. The client’s response to the
“recovering” question is printed in the Alcohol Scale "significant items" section,
of the EB report.
In assessment, intervention and treatment settings, the client’s Alcohol Scale
score often helps staff work through client denial. Most people accept the
objective, and standardized Alcohol Scale score as accurate and relevant, in
comparison to a person’s subjective opinion. This is particularly true, when it
is explained that elevated scores do not occur by chance. Indeed, the client
must answer a definitive pattern of alcohol-related admissions, for an elevated
scale score to occur. And, scale scores are based upon thousands of clients’
Alcohol Scale scores.
5. Drug Scale: Measures drug use and the severity of abuse. The Drug
Scale is independent of the Alcohol Scale. Drugs refer to marijuana,
crack, ice, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, ecstasy, heroin, etc. This
scale also incorporates prescription drug abuse. Polysubstance abuse is also
detected. To ensure that ‘recovering’ drug abusers are not misidentified as
drug abusers, the ‘recovering’ question (item # 112) has been included in the
EB. The client’s answer to the ‘recovering’ question is presented in the Drug
Scale "significant items" section, in the EB report.
Drug Scale scores at or below the 69th percentile are not problematic. The
drug problem threshold is at the 70th percentile. Drug Scale scores in the
70th to 89th percentile range are indicative of drug problems. In contrast,
Drug Scale scores in the severe problem (90th to 100th percentile) range
identify established and severe drug abuse problems. An elevated (70th
percentile or higher) range Drug Scale score identifies severe, established,
drug abuse problems. An elevated (70th percentile or higher) Drug Scale score,
in conjunction with other elevated EB scale scores, exacerbates or magnifies the
severity of the co-occurring disorders. Experienced staff members, usually, agree
that drug use has become a major employment barrier for many
6. Stress Management Scale: Measures how effectively people handle or
manage the stress (pressure, anxiety) experienced in their lives. Poor stress
management is often identified as an alcohol and/or drugs trigger. It also has
been linked to a variety of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
The Stress Management Scale does not simply recognize or measure experienced
stress. This scale measures how well the individual manages or copes with
stress. Two people can be in the same stressful situation, and one
person might handle or manage the stress well, whereas the other person might
be overwhelmed by the stress. Stress management strategies and techniques are
learned. That is why people with poorly-learned or impaired stress management
skills, are often referred to stress management classes. People with extremely
impaired stress management skills, might be referred to group counseling
sessions that incorporate stress management methodologies.
Stress Management Scale scores in the zero to 69th percentile range reflect
average to good stress management skills. Stress Management Scale scorers, in
the problematic (70th to 89th percentile) range, are usually referred to stress
management classes. And, people who score in the severe problem (90th to 100th
percentile) range are usually referred to group therapy sessions that
incorporate stress management strategies and techniques. When other EB scale
scores are elevated (70th percentile or higher) their treatment usually
incorporates stress management.
Employment Barriers (EB) identifies employment problems that are known as employment
barriers. Early problem identification enables prompt intervention and
problem reduction, which increases the probability of successful job placement
and subsequent employment. The Employment Barriers (EB) report provides
valuable information regarding a client’s specific occupational barriers.
Ongoing research and continued standardization of the EB ensures that the EB
will remain a valuable and accurate tool for employment barriers assessment.
The nominal Employment Barriers (EB) test unit fee, which includes a multitude
of complimentary test-related services, is $9.95 per test. EB test booklets,
manuals, staff training at our Phoenix offices, ongoing database research,
online chat, Human Voice Audio for reading impaired clients, and annual EB
summary reports (testing program summaries that incorporate demographic
information as well as EB test statistics) are a few examples of the free
services utilized by EB test users. Our support staff is available during
normal business hours by telephone, 1(800) 231-2401 and email:
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