WorkFirst HandBook

Education and Training

7.3 Basic Education, Skills Enhancement, & High School Equivalency

Legal References:

The Basic Education, Skills Enhancement, & High School Equivalency (HSE) section includes:

The WorkFirst program offers these education and training opportunities in addition to vocational education. All education and training is meant to prepare parents for employment. See the Stacking Activities section for more information about how these education and skill-building activities are stacked with core activities to help parents gain necessary proficiencies and also meet their participation requirements.

Education and Training Hours

To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the parent is in the education and training activities, to include classes, labs, and supervised study halls/tutoring sessions, and up to one hour of unsupervised study time for every scheduled hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation cannot exceed the hours required or advised by a particular educational program.

For more information on how to calculate education and training hours, please refer to section 7.1.3.

7.3.1 What is Basic Education & High School Completion/High School Equivalency?

These activities include:

7.3.2 HS, High School Equivalency Basic Education - Step-by-step guide
  1. The ESD Employment Counselor may:
    1. Refer the parent to DSHS and documents the request in eJAS.
    2. Explain to the parent the requirement to continue to participate in Career Scope activities, as directed in their IRP until their IRP is changed.
  2. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines if an education and training request appears to be appropriate according to the parent's comprehensive evaluation, Continuous Activity Planning recommendations or the stacking activity chart.
    2. After completing the CE chooses the Education and Training employment pathway and refers appropriate requests to the college using the RA code and creates the parent's IRP.
  3. College WorkFirst personnel:
    1. Follow through on training requests within seven calendar days.
    2. Make the final decision whether to approve the request.
    3. Create a training plan including the corresponding eJAS code for the educational activity.
    4. For basic education, documents the educational activity gives the parent skills needed for employment in the training plan.
    5. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to determine the maximum total number of weekly educational hours, including study time. The WorkFirst Calculator Tool is a spreadsheet used by college staff to determine the total number of allowable homework hours for the parent.
    6. Update the Education & Training Worksheet to include the totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, the parent's approval status, the appropriate component, the anticipated start and end date of the activity, and the total number of hours per week the parent will be participating, and send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Receives notice that the parent is approved for Basic Education, High School Equivalency (HSE) or High School completion from the college WorkFirst personnel,
    2. Enters eJAS component code ( JT , GE or HS ) with the three digit contractor code,
    3. Stacks basic education with a core activity.
    4. Updates parent's IRP, and
    5. Documents action taken in eJAS.
  5. College WorkFirst personnel will work with all parents in approved training as follows:
    1. Supervision: Daily supervision is required and may be provided by faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and supervisors of work-based learning activities. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is doing well in his or her program and making progress towards meeting her or his educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation: Attendance records will be documented every two weeks and maintained in the college's or provider's students' files. This information will be provided in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual as well as the student or documented in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate. A copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours will be kept in the parent's file.
    3. Reporting:
      1. Use eJAS, to report parent participation every month.
      2. Use eJAS to report progress for high school/high school equivalency to the WFPS/WFSSS on a monthly basis,
      3. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the student is not maintaining satisfactory progress or fails to participate as required or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.4 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
    4. Verification: Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.
7.3.3 What is Skills Enhancement (JT)?

Skills Enhancement training (called job skills training in WAC 388-310-1050) is generally training that enhances a person's employability by providing specific skills that are marketable to employers. It can include:

Skills Enhancement training can be provided by:

You can add Skills Enhancement training to a person's IRP when the individual:

Skills Enhancement training is often not measured by credits or credit hours through the training institution. Some courses last less than one day and some might take place over a number of weeks. The WorkFirst Program Specialist/WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFPS/WFSSS) will estimate the scheduled hours of participation based on the instructor's feedback or the parent's education plan and enter that amount in the parent's Individual Responsibility Plan. When the student is attending a community or technical college, up to one hour of unsupervised study time can be counted for every scheduled hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation cannot exceed the hours required or advised by a particular educational program.

The following eJAS codes may be used for parents in skills enhancement training:

7.3.4 Skills Enhancement Training - Step-by-step guide
  1. A WorkFirst partner may:
    1. Refer the parent to DSHS to set up skills enhancement training and document the request in eJAS, and
    2. Explain to the parent the requirement to continue to participate in other activities, as directed in their IRP until their IRP is changed.
  2. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines if the Education and Training request appears to be appropriate* according to the parent's comprehensive evaluation, Continued Participation Planning recommendations or the stacking activities chart.
    2. When combining skills enhancement training with Career Scope activities, the WorkFirst Program Specialist/WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFPS/WFSSS):
      1. Chooses the Job Search and Education and Training employment pathways after completing the CE and refers the individual to ESD and the training institution or service provider, using the RI and RA referral codes,
      2. Monitors the IRP and activities, and
      3. Once approved, updates the IRP and eJAS component codes to reflect Career Scope services and skills enhancement training.
    3. If combining skills enhancement training with other core activities, the WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. Chooses the Education and Training and Unsubsidized Employment pathways after completing the CE and refers the individual to the service provider using the RA referral code;
      2. Updates the IRP to include skills enhancement training;
      3. Opens the JT and PT components; and
      4. Monitors the IRP and activity.
  3. The service provider will work with all parents in approved training as follows:
    1. Supervision: Daily supervision is required and may be provided by faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and supervisors of work-based learning activities. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is doing well in his or her program and making progress towards meeting her or his educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation: Attendance records will be documented every two weeks and maintained in the college's or provider's students' files. This information will be provided in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual as well as the student or documented in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
    3. Reporting:
      1. Use eJAS, to report parent participation to the WFPS/WFSSS on a monthly basis,
      2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the student is not maintaining satisfactory progress or fails to participate as required.
    4. Verification: Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

If the student is attending a community or technical college, college staff will:

  1. Use the WorkFirst Homework Calculator tool to determine the total number of hours per week the parent will be participating, including: scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time and the maximum number of allowable education hours..
  2. Update the Education & Training Worksheet to include the totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, the parent's approval status, the appropriate component, the anticipated start and end date of the activity, and the total number of hours per week the parent will be participating, and send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
  3. Keep a copy of the completed WorkFirst Homework Calculator tool in the parent's file.
7.3.5 What is Life Skills Training?

Life skills training is training that prepares parents to meet the demands of everyday life and employment. Programs are locally designed and operated to maximize available resources to best serve the parents within the community.

Life skills training can be offered:

Life skills training may include such topics as:

7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?

Life Skills/Soft Skills training is training that prepares parents to meet the demands of everyday life and employment. It may or may not be employment related and is not intended to completely address and resolve family issues. It is intended to be an up-front introduction that helps prepare parents to participate in activities effectively.

For federal reporting, Life Skills is a time-limited core activity in the same category as job search/job preparation. This activity can either be used by itself or stacked with other activities in order to reach full time participation.

Independent Life Skills training should be coded as "LS" on the eJAS component screen.

It is important to note that Life Skills training is already built in to Career Scope activities through ESD and RIA. The "LS" should not be coded separately from the JS component in those cases. LS should only be coded separately when it is taken independently from Job Search and is not part of other Job Preparation activities.

For more on Life Skills training as it pertains to job search, please refer to section 4.2.8- What is Life Skills Training as Part of Job Search?

For Life Skills training as part of other job preparation activities, please refer to section 7.3.7.

7.3.7 What is Life Skills Training as Part of Other Job Preparation Activities?

If the Life skills/Soft skills training is embedded in other Job Preparation activities, it is not coded separately. It is coded and federally reported as part of these activities. These activities are:

7.3.8 What is Seasonal Worker Training?

WorkFirst allows seasonally employed workers the opportunity to meet their WorkFirst requirements by working during the peak season and pursuing full time training in the off season. Other training or education, including basic education such as ABE, GED or ESL, may be appropriate in combination with vocational training, depending on the needs of the individual.

Seasonal employment is work characterized by regular, periodic (seasonal) layoffs, reflecting a consistent pattern of employment and unemployment. Employment Security Department staff will determine the seasonal worker status based on the parent's normal pattern of employment.

The seasonal worker training is for individuals who:

Notice: Parents identified by ESD as seasonal workers who qualified for full-time education and training during the off season prior to June 1, 2007, will be able to complete their training according to their original IRP.

7.3.9 When can you add seasonal worker training to the IRP?

Seasonal worker training is included in the parent's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) when Employment Security Department has determined the parent is a seasonal worker and the training has been approved.

Once the training is approved, WFPSs and employment counselors develop IRPs and Success Plans that maximize opportunities for wage progression. Community and Technical Colleges design individualized training plans and WorkFirst Financial Aid to pay for the training.

The seasonal worker training is monitored according to the type of training added to the IRP. For example, if the training is vocational education, then the WFPS and college staff track participation and monitor progress according to the policy around vocational education. This also applies to determining the actual hours of time for the activity.

eJAS codes
7.3.10 Full-time training for seasonal workers - Step-by-step guide
  1. The WorkFirst Program Specialist/WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFPS/WFSSS) refers the parent to job search.
  2. The Job Service Specialist:
    1. Determines seasonal worker status. If the parent meets seasonal worker status, informs them of seasonal worker training options;
    2. Develops the success plan to include seasonal worker training; and
    3. Refers seasonal workers who request training to the DSHSS WFPS/WFSSS.
    4. Closes the JS code.
  3. The WorkFirst Program Specialist/WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFPS/WFSSS):
    1. Receives notice that the individual is either recommended for seasonal worker training.
    2. Determines if an education and training request appears to be appropriate according to the parent's comprehensive evaluation, Continuous Activity Planning recommendations or the stacking activity chart.
    3. Refers appropriate requests to the college using the RA code and creates the parent's IRP.
  4. College WorkFirst personnel:
    1. Follow through on training requests within seven calendar days.
    2. Make the final decision whether to approve the request.
    3. Create a training plan.
    4. Send an e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS via eJAS updating the WFPS/WFSSS with the parent's approval status.
  5. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Receives notice that the parent is approved for full-time education as a Seasonal Worker.
      1. Enters appropriate eJAS component code (VE , PE , HW, DC, JT, GE or HS ) with the three digit contractor code,
      2. Updates parent's IRP, and
      3. Documents action taken in eJAS.
    2. If denied, the parent is re-referred to job search and the WFPS/WFSSS re-opens the JS code.
  6. College staff will work with seasonal workers in training and monitor and report their attendance and participation according to the type of training they are enrolled in. See relevant training section for details.
7.3.11 English as a Second Language

While ESL training may be included as part of basic education or blended into skills enhancement training (JT), or high school completion/High School Equivalency (HS/GE), for activities that are solely ESL (ES), refer to the LEP Pathway section. The LEP Pathway section describes when to approve English as a Second Language and other training for limited-English proficient parents.

* If the employment plan recommendation or CAP is not appropriate, refer to Chapter 3.2.

** For Dependent Teens/Teen Parents refer to 1.2.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters
Other Resources