WorkFirst HandBook

Welcome to the WorkFirst Handbook


Recent Updates and Memos for Staff


Table of Contents


About WorkFirst

WorkFirst has Six Main Performance Goals
Participant Flow Chart

There are various stages a participant might go through to become independent of TANF. The process begins with an application for TANF cash aid and ends with a successful exit from the TANF program using job retention and wage and skill progression strategies for lasting gains. The interim steps include activities (like job search) and processes (like evaluation and helping the participant develop an IRP) that will help them meet their goals.

Not every participant goes through every stage. Our experience shows that people can find jobs and independence at any step in the process. This handbook has information about every stage in the program.

WorkFirst Partner Roles

The WorkFirst program mandates a new level of coordination between state agencies, tribal governments, and other key local area partners. Each WorkFirst partner has an important role to play and areas of expertise to contribute in helping participants achieve self-sufficiency.

You can find a link to a list of key WorkFirst partners and a description of the role they each play in the title of this section.

Local Area Planning

The WorkFirst program also instituted a formal process to coordinate between the state agencies and other WorkFirst partners. This process is called local area planning.

Washington State has been divided into local area planning groups. WorkFirst partners within each local area are held jointly accountable to work together and meet local area WorkFirst performance goals and targets. Each area's progress is measured and reported on a monthly basis.

We have included a link to the local area planning web page in the title of this section. If you visit this site you will find more information about local area planning groups and the monthly reports on their progress in meeting major WorkFirst targets and goals.

About the Handbook

The handbook was written by staff in the WorkFirst Divisions in the Employment Security Department and the Economic Services Administration of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Others contributing to the contents of this handbook include:

Handbook chapters include.
Tools The tools we use to process cases (such as Individual Responsibility Plans and eJAS screening/evaluation)
Supports The supports we provide to participants (such as child care and support services)
Setting the Stage How we introduce participants to the WorkFirst program
Job Search Services to help people find jobs
The Pathways Alternative routes for special populations (like WtW) to employment
Resolving Issues Working with issues that interfere with one's ability to work (like family violence)
Work Activities Work activities that help a participant prepare for work (like community jobs)
Education & Training Education and training available to participants
Employment Services and requirements for employed participants
Post-Employment Services Job retention and wage and skill progression resources, services, and strategies
Using the WorkFirst HandBook

Each section of the WorkFirst HandBook will have:

Desk Aids

This page contains desk aids that may be useful for you. You are encouraged to print the desk aids for convenient use at your desk. This information will be updated as policy and procedures change.