Aug 10, 2023

85 Years of Reducing Employment Barriers: Why DI's Job Training Program Matters

A female DI associate smiles next to the store shelves she has been organizing.

One of the primary reasons Deseret Industries was established was to provide work and work training in the aftermath of the Great Depression. But in today’s often competitive job market, it can be difficult to secure work. These difficulties are even more pronounced for the numerous individuals who face significant employment barriers due to limited work experience or education, physical or mental health struggles, or other challenges.

Addressing these employment obstacles is vital to helping those who face barriers to employment—and it helps businesses within the community to build a more inclusive, diverse workforce. This diversity strengthens businesses, bringing people into the fold whose experiences are different from others.

DI’s job training program is a powerful means to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to overcome employment barriers and thrive in the workforce. In the 85 years since Deseret Industries was formed, job training program has been a key component of building our employees’ self-reliance and preparing them to move on to gainful employment in the community.

So how exactly do job training programs help? And how does DI use job training programs to build brighter futures for its associates?

Understanding Employment Barriers
The Role of Job Training Programs
Deseret Industries' Job Training Program
Personal Growth and Community Impact
Your Support Makes a Difference


Understanding Employment Barriers

A male DI associate flashes a thumbs up as he goes about his work in the clothing section.
DI associates experiencing barriers to employment can gain skills and build confidence through DI’s job training program.

There are many reasons why a person may struggle to secure employment. Some common barriers to employment include lack of practical or higher education, limited work experience, physical or mental disability, and criminal work history—to name a few.

These barriers are surprisingly common in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for example, persons with a disability account for nearly 12% of the general population. Of that group, roughly 1 in 5 is employed.1 More than 60% of the 80 million Americans with a criminal history are still unemployed a year after their release.2

Individuals experiencing barriers to employment have a lot to offer the workforce. These individuals bring a unique perspective to their work that can strengthen businesses and improve their products, their messaging, and more. These individuals are more than the challenges they face, and they have a lot to offer.


The Role of Job Training Programs

A female DI associate smiles as she talks to a development counselor.
DI associates receive individual development counseling as part of Deseret Industries’ job training program.

The idea behind job training is to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to find and maintain gainful employment. This goal is often accomplished through a combination of coaching, on-the-job training, educational opportunities, and vocational skills workshops.

Through these efforts, individuals facing employment barriers can build their employment history, develop vital skills, and receive necessary education and certification for their future careers. Perhaps the most important thing to come from DI’s job training program is that it helps build participants’ capacity, as well as their confidence and self-reliance.


Deseret Industries' Job Training Program

A DI job coach shows an associate a manual as part of his coaching.
A job coach provides on-the-job feedback to an associate as part of DI’s job training program.

Deseret Industries’ job training program is designed to help our associates build the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. We offer on-the-job training, where associates can learn valuable retail, production, manufacturing, and janitorial skills. Our job coaches work with associates to set goals, provide feedback, and make reasonable accommodations for employees facing physical or mental challenges.

Deseret Industries also offers workshops and one-on-one development counseling. DI will even help pay for associates to receive schooling or vocational training that will prepare them for their future careers.

And the best part is, DI’s job training program allows associates to earn a wage while they receive this valuable training. This allows associates to take care of their immediate needs while building confidence and skills for the future.


Personal Growth and Community Impact

A male DI associate smiles as he steps down from a forklift.
Deseret Industries provides associates with the opportunity to learn practical skills—and even helps cover the costs of education and professional training (like forklift certification).

Deseret Industries’ job training program offers associates more than just the chance to build skills, education, and experience. It also helps to foster personal growth among associates, build their resilience, and give participants greater confidence and purpose. This better equips them to overcome their employment barriers and secure stable employment outside of DI.

DI’s job training program strengthens the community, as well. By providing necessary training and skill development to individuals who struggle to secure employment, DI helps to decrease unemployment rates, which means a stronger local economy. Businesses also benefit from the contributions of hard-working, resilient employees.

The proof can be found in all the stories of individuals whose lives were changed thanks to the skills and experiences they developed through DI’s job training program. Check out these videos to hear former DI associates share how their time at Deseret Industries changed their lives.


Your Support Makes a Difference

Two female DI associates smile at the camera as they embrace. They are working in the back room, sorting clothing donations.
Two Deseret Industries associates smile as they work.

For the past 85 years, Deseret Industries has been changing lives and serving the community. And DI customers make it all happen.

Through your donations and purchases, you directly support the vital work of the DI job training program, helping hundreds of individuals gain the skills, confidence, and experience they need to become self-reliant and reach new heights of personal achievement and professional success.

Thank you for your continued support!



  1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics—2022. U.S. Department of Labor. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  2. The Sentencing Project. "Poverty and Opportunity Profile: Americans with Criminal Records." The Sentencing Project. Accessed July 27, 2023.