WorkFirst HandBook

Paid & Unpaid Employment

8.5 Community Job Connection/Career Jump Program (Job Connection or JC)

Legal References:

The Job Connection section includes:

The Department of Commerce contracts with local community-based organizations to provide and manage the Community Job Connection (known as Job Connection) and Career Jump Programs for WorkFirst participants.

8.5.1 What is Job Connection?

The Job Connection Program provides TANF participants with opportunities to build references, develop networking connections, and demonstrate their work skills directly through employment by performing jobs within their chosen field. The Job Connection Program consists of up to three (3) months of paid employment at a worksite (20 hours per week in a temporary subsidized job), paired with 15 hours of targeted job hunting activities and mentoring opportunities.

The Job Connection Program offers worksite opportunities at nonprofit, tribal and government agencies. The Career Jump Program offers employment opportunities with any employer who has agreed to hire the participant at the end of the training time.

Participants who complete the full three (3) months of the Job Connection Program without finding unsubsidized employment would transition to full time Job Search/Career Scope with significant assets to assist in their full time job search efforts including:

8.5.2 What is Career Jump?

Career Jump is a subset of Job Connection which offers participants an opportunity to gain paid work experience with an employer that has agreed to hire them at the end of their program. At the negotiated transition date, the participant will transition to the employer's payroll and the employment opportunity will be compensated above minimum wage, 32 or more hours per week and will include wage progression and benefits comparable to other employees.

8.5.3 Who needs Job Connection and Career Jump?

Job Connection may be an option for participants who:

In addition to the options noted above, Career Jump may be an option for participants with an identified employer willing to hire the participant at the end of the training time.

8.5.4 Job Connection and Stacked Activities

Contractors will arrange for 15 hours per week of stacked activities and create a Career Plan with the participant design to increase the participant’s employability. The stacked activities, when available and appropriate, can include:

All stacked activity components must be supervised daily and attendance records must be maintained. If the education/training co-enrollment activity is provided by a WorkFirst partner the appropriate component must be coded with the provider's contractor code. That provider is responsible for reporting participation and progress (if applicable) in eJAS.

All activities must be documented in the Career Plan with specific details regarding schedules and monthly progress updates.

If the subsidized Job Connection job ends and the participant has not yet found unsubsidized employment, the participant should be referred back to the DSHS WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFPS) to complete a referral for full-time Career Scope activities or other appropriate activity.

8.5.5 What is a Career Plan?

The Contractor will work with the participant to develop a Career Plan in eJAS. The Career Plan will detail all aspects of participants' activities while in the Job Connection Program to include career planning, employment information like work location and schedule, monthly employment evaluations, details of all job readiness and job hunting activities. All participation requirements should be included in the Career Plan so the participant has a full understanding of their program expectations, activities, and accountability. If they are not participating in all activities detailed in their Career Plan, they may be sanctioned for non-participation.

Job Connection participants are required to sign their Career Plan whenever their program expectations or requirements change. Contractors provide a copy of the signed Career Plan to the participant and maintain a copy in their files.

The Career Plan can be updated by the Contractor; WFPS/WFSSSs have access to view the Career Plan by opening it from the link on the participant's main screen in eJAS.

8.5.6 Job Connection and Support Services

Prior to authorizing Support Services to a participant, WF partners should access Support Services in eJAS to ensure the guidelines for each category have not been exceeded. Support Services will then be authorized.

8.5.7 Start of Job Connection/Career Jump Employment

Job Connection work assignments must be coordinated with public or nonprofit organizations and provide job training in the participant's chosen career field. Career Jump participants may be placed into worksites with for profit, public or nonprofit employers.

Participants are expected to make first contact with the contractor within five (5) business days of the referral with a childcare and transportation plan. Contractors will attempt to contact participants by telephone, email if available, or direct face-to-face meeting if the contractor is on-site at the time of referral. First contact is defined as an actual face-to-face meeting between the contractor and the participant.

If first contact is not made within five (5) business days then the contractor will reject the referral on the 6th business day.

Contractors will meet with the participant to review the participant’s IRP, develop the Career Plan and determine appropriate stacked activities.

Contractors will provide program orientation to participants regarding program policies and expectations.

The following fields on the eJAS Employment screen will be completed by the Contractor once the Contractor confirms the participant has started employment and is receiving wages:

When the Job Connection enrollment ends:

The Contractor will enter the following information in the Employment Screen:

The WFPS/WFSSS will complete the following:

8.5.8 Budgeting Job Connection Income

Budgeting for the Job Connection program will follow the current guidelines for budgeting Community Jobs income. When the Job Connection employment begins, the WFPS enters CJ income type and the anticipated gross income amount on the ACES EARN Screen. These entries will automatically set up the:

Please note: The first month the participant receives their first Job Connection paycheck(s), the paycheck(s) is disregarded for WorkFirst/SFA. Example: participant begins working at Job Connection worksite on 5/15/2011 and receives first paycheck(s) on 6/11/2011 and 6/25/2011. The income is disregarded for the month of June. The start date the worker will enter for the month of June is 6/1/2011.

In the ongoing month (the month the participant will receive their first Job Connection paycheck), the start date is the first of the month the participant receives the check. The worker must make sure to properly code the income and the hours in the ongoing months.

To capture the historical Job Connection hours, after the ongoing month is updated, the worker will go into a minimum of 2 historical months (unless the participant was placed on the job site less than 2 months ago). The worker will update the ACES EARN screen using:

ACES will generate an alert #413 in the 2nd and 5th months of participation to notify the user that a review is due. An alert (#414) is generated in the beginning of the third month of Job Connection participation. Confirm when the Job Connection job will actually end in the 3rd month (and double check in the 3rd month for cases will be in Job Connection longer than three months) and enter that date in the end date field, removing the income.

8.5.9 Hold Process

If a participant starts on the Job Connection worksite and a situation arises that requires them to be temporarily removed from the Job Connection Program, a case staffing should be held with the WF partners.

Once the hold issue has been resolved, the participant should resume their Job Connection Program.

8.5.10 Worksite Placement

Participants will be placed in a work activity no later than 10 business days of first contact. Initial activities can include workplace training and orientation directly related to the worksite. Examples of the training may include safety, workplace competencies, customer service, basic computer skills, work specific skills, etc. Worksite placements will support the participant’s career goal.

Contractors will establish worksites and ongoing worksite management to include:

8.5.11 Career Plan Development/Worksite Agreement

The contractor will work with the participant to develop a Career Plan and sign a worksite agreement. The host worksite administrator and the contractor must sign a worksite agreement. A copy of the signed worksite agreement must be on file with the contracting agency.

Work assignments must have a position description that clearly details the work schedule, duties, and transferable skills being obtained. The worksite supervisor and the participant must sign the position description. Copies of the signed agreement must be provided to the participant, the worksite supervisor and maintained in the participant's file.

Information regarding the participant’s work schedule, duties and skills will be entered into the Career Plan in eJAS. Participants are required to sign their Career Plan whenever their program expectations or requirements change. The Contractor will provide a copy of the signed Career Plan to the participant and maintain a copy in their files.

Note: If the participant is involved with the ACP (Address Confidentiality Program), do not enter the worksite information. The Contractor will enter "ACP" instead of the actual worksite name.

8.5.12 Worksite Supervision

Worksite supervisors are required to provide an employee evaluation for every participant on a monthly basis. Contractors will report information from the evaluations on monthly participation and progression updates via eJAS.

Worksites will be supervised on a daily basis. The worksite supervisor must maintain daily attendance records. If a participant does not show up for work, the absence must be reported immediately to the contractor.

8.5.13 Reporting

Worksite supervisors will submit attendance records every two weeks to the contractor. The contractor will enter the attendance records in the actual hours reporting screens in eJAS (see Monitoring Participation chapter). Contractors will report attendance issues using the "Immed" column on the Contractor Caseload Screen:

After two absences (regardless of whether they are excused or unexcused) in one calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/provider will:

This allows the participant to remain in the activity while the service provider, case manager and participant have an opportunity to discuss whether participation in this activity is appropriate.

If it is decided that the activity is not appropriate for the participant, the WorkFirst partner/provider will refer the participant back to DSHS.

At the end of the 2nd month or one month prior to the end of the program the contractor will include their suggestions for next steps at completion of the program. This will provide the WFPS/WFSSS information when they meet with the participant, resulting in a smooth transition between programs with minimal interruption in participation.

8.5.14 Closing a Job Connection Program

Anytime a participant is no longer enrolled the contractor will:

8.5.15 Job Connection Program - Step-by-step guide
  1. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Refer the participant to the contractor using the JC component code for 20 hours per week and the JS component code for 15 hours per week
    2. Creates both the JC and the JS components for 3 months
    3. Enter the Commerce Contractor Code on both the JC and the JS components
    4. Authorize support services and child care needed for engagement with the program
  2. Upon receipt of the referral, the contractor will:
    1. Receives electronic referrals
    2. Reviews the participant's eJAS file for program eligibility
    3. Makes first contact with participant within 5 business days from date of the referral
    4. Accepts or rejects the referral within 6 business days of the date of referral
    5. Enters the First Contact information
    6. Creates an initial Career Plan during the First Contact meeting
    7. Ensures that the participant signs the Career Plan
    8. Develops a subsidized job
    9. Enters the Actual Start Date in the Contractor Caseload screen when the participant begins at a worksite
    10. Enters the Actual Start Date in the Contractor Caseload screen when the participant begins their job readiness and/or job hunting activities
    11. Creates the Employment Screen in eJAS
    12. Acts as the employer of record and provides Job Connection wages
    13. Provides support services during the Job Connection enrollment
    14. Arranges for full time participation (35 hrs per week) in the Career Plan
    15. Identifies and arranges for 15 hours per week of job readiness and/or job hunting activities.
    16. Monitors attendance, participation and progress for all activities coded to their contractor code. Documents progress in the participant's Career Plan.
    17. If the Contractor is also the provider for job readiness/job hunting activities the Contractor will report attendance via the actual hours reporting screens in eJAS.
    18. Update the Career Plan on a monthly basis
    19. Enter case notes throughout the participant's Job Connection program.
    20. Close the Career Plan and Employment Screen when the participant is no longer enrolled in the program.
    21. Electronically refer the participant back to DSHS via the Contractor Caseload Screen
  3. Once the Contractor enters the Actual Start Date in the Contractor Caseload Screen, the WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Resolve the discrepancy between the Scheduled Start Date on the Contractor Caseload Screen and the Actual Start Date on the Contractor Caseload Screen by changing the Scheduled Start Date to match the Actual Start Date. This will remove the black triangle from the Contractor Caseload Screen that explains that the Scheduled Start Date does not match the Actual Start Date.
  4. For the duration of the program, the Contractor will:
    1. Enter monthly status reports in eJAS between the 1st and the 10th of the following month on the previous month's activities.
      1. Participation reporting will include attendance documentation in the eJAS actual hours reporting screens.
      2. Progression reporting will be entered in the Career Plan that will include information from the worksite supervisor monthly evaluations of the participant's progress at the worksite.
      3. Bi-monthly (every two months) skills progression will be documented.
        1. After the 2nd Month in the program, or one month prior to the end of the program, in addition to the evaluation information, the contractor will provide suggestions for recommended next steps upon completion of the 3rd Month.
    2. Notify the WFPS/WFSSS of attendance issues using the "Immed" column on the Contractor Caseload Screen if the participant has more than two absences within a calendar month.
    3. Document issues related to the work activity in eJAS case notes. Contractors will attempt to resolve worksite issues with the participant. Contractors will involve the WFPS/WFSSS immediately when issues arise that the Contractor is unable to resolve or the issue is not related to work but is affecting the participant's ability to participate.
    4. Provide support services related to the participant's work activity. Support services will be documented in eJAS
  5. At the completion of the program (or anytime the participant leaves the program), the Contractor will:
    1. Close the Career Plan.
    2. Update case notes with exit information including the reason for leaving the program and suggestions for next steps for the participant.
    3. Enter the date and select the "reason" code on the Contractor Caseload Screen to electronically refer the participant back to DSHS
    4. Create an Employment Screen if the participant obtains unsubsidized employment.
    5. Send an e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS notifying them that the participant is no longer enrolled in the program.
  6. At completion of the program, the WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Close the component and the contractor code by entering the actual end dates in the Actual End field in the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen.
    2. Determine the participant's next activity.
    Hold Process
  7. Upon agreement with the WF partners to place the participant on hold, the Contractor will:
    1. Electronically refer the participant back to DSHS by entering the date and selecting the "Issue Resolution" reason code.
    2. Complete the Hold section of the Career Plan.
    3. Close eJAS employment screen.
  8. The WFPS will:
    1. Close the JC component and the contractor code by entering the actual end dates in the Actual End field in the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen (if applicable).
    2. Refer to appropriate activity and component while in Hold status (If applicable)
    3. Reinstate his/her WorkFirst grant (if applicable).
  9. Upon agreement with the WF Partners to return them to the Job Connection Program, the WFPS will:
    1. Close the active Hold component (if applicable)
    2. Repeat Steps 1, 3 and 5 above to create JC component referral
  10. Upon receipt of the JC referral, the Contractor will:
    1. Repeat Steps 2 and 4 to accept the participant back into the Job Connection program
    2. Complete the Hold section in the Career Plan
    3. Re-evaluate current Career Plan and update
    4. Connect the participant back to a worksite

Once the participant is re-engaged from the Hold, steps 7 through 10 above should be followed.

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