Paid & Unpaid Employment
8.3 Community Jobs
The Community Jobs section includes:
- 8.3.1 What is Community Jobs?
- 8.3.2 Who needs Community Jobs?
- 8.3.3 Partner roles in Community Jobs
- 8.3.4 Community Jobs and Stacked Activities
- 8.3.5 How do Commerce contractors calculate homework hours when they are the contractor of record?
- 8.3.6 Community Jobs and Domestic Violence
- 8.3.7 CJ Individual Development Plan (IDP)
- 8.3.8 CJ and Support Services
- 8.3.9 Start of CJ Employment
- 8.3.10 Budgeting CJ Income
- 8.3.11 Hold Process
- 8.3.12 Stacking CJ with Part Time Job Search
- 8.3.13 Community Jobs - Step-by-Step Guide
8.3.1 What is Community Jobs?
Community Jobs (CJ) is a full time (40 hours per week), WorkFirst (WF) activity that provides participants with paid, temporary employment. CJ is a paid work experience of up to six months, which combines 20 hours per week in a temporary subsidized job (considered employment) with 10 hours per week of stacked activities and 10 hours per week of issue resolution (considered preparing for work). With the Department of Commerce's (Commerce) approval, a participant may participate for an additional three months. CJ gives these individuals the opportunity to gain experience in an employment setting while increasing their income, skills and self-confidence. CJ is a one-time program, however exceptions may be made through CJ Contractors (Contractors) and Commerce. Commerce administers the CJ Program statewide and local contracting partners deliver direct services.
A Community Jobs enrollment:
- Creates a bridge to unsubsidized employment
- Allows the individual to gain marketable skills while providing support to address barriers
- Increases a participant's income and gives them access to the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Makes training available and addresses skill attainment
- Helps individuals come to terms with their child support obligations
- Provides intensive support, mentoring and engagement
8.3.2 Who needs Community Jobs?
CJ may be an option for participants who:
- Are currently working on issue resolution and are ready to combine issue resolution with work in a supportive setting
- Are not viable candidates for placement through Job Search
- Are interested in curing sanction and that is the best way to engage the participant in WorkFirst (their TANF status must be Open),
- Are ready and able to be employed full-time (32-40 hours per week) within six months of the CJ enrollment
- Are able to participate full-time (40 hours per week) right now
- Have childcare and transportation plans
- Have known significant mental health and/or substance abuse/chemical dependency issues managed
- Have demonstrated workplace behaviors that adversely affect the participant's ability to fully engage in Job Search
- Have not been previously enrolled in the CJ program (exceptions maybe requested through the Contractor from the Department of Commerce)
- Have participated in other activities without success
- Do not currently hold an unsubsidized job
8.3.3 Partner roles in Community Jobs
CJ participants are engaged in more than one activity at a time specifically identified to meet their individual needs. This is a multi-partner effort. Partners include, but are not limited to, Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Employment Security Department (ESD), State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and Commerce. It is important to keep the participant moving steadily toward independence from WorkFirst. One way to do this is to ensure smooth transfers from one activity to another.
8.3.4 Community Jobs and Stacked Activities
Education activities can includehigh school equivalency, basic skills, ESL, or job skills training. When available, education components should be co-enrolled with the local community or technical college. Education/training can also be provided by other resources when the community or technical college is not a viable option and Commerce approval is obtained. Job skills training must provide job skills required by an employer to provide a participant with the ability to obtain employment or to advance at the workplace. Job skills training can include training to meet the needs of a specific employer or it can be general training that prepares a participant for employment. This can include literacy/language instruction when it is explicitly focused on skills needed for employment.
In the event job skills training classes are not available through the community and technical college system, contractors may directly provide such services or connect the participant with a community based provider.
Life Skills training is training that prepares participants 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 participants to participate in activities effectively. Programs are locally designed and operated to maximize available resources to best serve the participants within the community.
Life Skills training may include such topics as:
- Balancing work and personal life
- Money management
- Stress and anger management
- Time management
- Communication skills
- Appropriate standards for dress and participation
Job Readiness training is training that prepares participants for an effective job hunting experience. Job Readiness training may include such topics as:
- Resume development
- Interviewing techniques
- Contractor directed job hunting
- Scheduled job club meetings, and/or,
- Peer and professional mentoring activities
Voluntary Community Service is an opportunity for participants to volunteer in family centered activities with their child’s school, childcare, HeadStart, ECEAP, Boys & Girls Clubs, adult care facility, etc. Court ordered community service also qualifies as long as it is unrelated to the CJ worksite job. Community service hours can be up to 10 hours per week and cannot exceed the maximum allowed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
All stacked activity components must be supervised daily and attendance records must be maintained. If the co-enrolled 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. See Monitoring Participation chapter 3.9.
The remaining 10 hours per week will focus on employment barriers and activities to assist participants in obtaining and maintaining unsubsidized employment. These activities are not coded as eJAS components; they are requirements within the participant's IDP.
All activities must be documented in the Individual Development Plan (IDP) with specific details regarding schedules and monthly progress updates.
If the subsidized CJ job ends and the participant has not yet found unsubsidized employment, the participant should be referred back to DSHS for the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Worker (WFSSS) to complete a referral to ESD for full-time Career Scope services. The Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) should be changed to show Career Scope services for 40 hours per week.
8.3.5 How do Commerce contractors calculate homework hours when they are the contractor of record for stacked activities?
Commerce Contractors will use the Education & Training Homework Requirements Worksheet to determine and report actual hours including homework. The Commerce Contractor will:
- Obtain a completed Education & Training Homework Requirements Worksheet from the education provider for each class a participant is attending.
- Verify the participant's weekly homework expectation
- Notify the WorkFirst Program Specialist to create the education component for the total scheduled class hours for the IRP. The IRP will include language requiring the participant to complete all assignments such as homework.
- Collect classroom attendance logs to report actual hours of classroom participation
- Use the homework requirements from the Education & Training Homework Requirements Worksheet to add additional weekly homework hours to the actual hours reporting
- Homework hours may not exceed the number of scheduled class hours
- Partial weeks within a month must be prorated
- Homework hours can be claimed if a student was absent from the class as long as they remain enrolled that entire month. If a student drops out and is referred back during the month only one hour of homework time for each hour they actually attended class can be documented as participation.
- Keep a copy of the completed Education & Training Homework Requirements Worksheet in the participant's file with their attendance records
8.3.6 Community Jobs and Domestic Violence
If participants are working on resolving or coping with family violence and are also participating in Community Jobs, CJ staff should:
- Support participants in meeting participation requirements, considering the safety of participants and their families.
- Assist in developing appropriate work activities for the participant that does not put the participant at further risk of family violence, make it more difficult for the participant to escape family violence or penalize them for being family violence survivors.
- Consider and discuss with the participants the ramifications of sharing information related to family violence with employers and co-workers, considering what other employees may need to know to safely support the participant, and provide briefings to the placement site if participants have given their informed consent.
- Review whether the Contractor has exhausted all options for addressing the specific barriers to participation in getting and keeping a job.
- Outline the requirements of the CJ Program. Let participants know that there are people who can help them work through whatever emerges as they work through the program.
- Refer the participants back to the WFPS with recommendations if they do not or cannot follow through with the requirements of the CJ Program and you have done all you can do to assist.
- Never record participants' actual street address(s) in WF records if they participate in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). CJ staff must use the ACP mailing address as shown in the Client Demographics Screen in eJAS in place of the participants' actual street address for mailing purposes and in place of an employer's name and address on employment screens. Hourly wage and other non-disclosing information may be entered and updated.
- Discuss with the participant that information they disclose concerning family violence will be recorded in the system and the WFPS/WFSSS will have access to them. Reassure participants that the information is kept highly protected among WF partners for whom a signed release has been received. Also assist them in making contact with the WFPS/WFSSS for the purpose of connecting with workers or community partners who may assist in coping with or resolving family violence issues.
8.3.7 CJ Individual Development Plan
The Contractor will work with the participant to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) in eJAS. The IDP will detail all aspects of participants' activities while in the CJ Program to include employment information like work location and schedule, education co-enrollments, barriers and barrier management plans, details of all co-enrollment activities, progress updates, and various program reviews. All details of the CJ Program should be included in the IDP 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 IDP, they may be sanctioned for non-participation.
CJ participants are required to sign their initial IDP that is developed with their Commerce contractor. Whenever their program expectations or requirements change, the Commerce contractor will update the IDP. Anytime an update is made to the IDP regarding a change in the program expectations or requirements, the Commerce contractor will either have the participant sign the most updated plan, or they will get verbal approval from the participant.
- If verbal approval is received, the contractor will enter an eJAS case note under the ‘Participation’ note type. The eJAS ‘Participation’ case note will document the specific program expectation or requirement that changed as well as the date the participant verbally agreed to the plan. A copy of the verbally agreed upon plan will then be sent to the participant by the Commerce contractor, which will also be noted in the case note.
- If the participant is present to sign the updated IDP, the Commerce contractor will provide a copy of the signed IDP to the participant and maintain a copy in their files.
The IDP can be updated by the Contractor; WFPS/WFSSSs have access to view the IDP by opening it from the link on the participant's main screen in eJAS.
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.
8.3.8 CJ and Support Services
Prior to authorizing Support Services to a CJ 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.
8.3.9 Start of CJ Employment
Parents should be placed on a worksite within 10 business days from the First Contact meeting when they started their IDP. The start date of a participant's CJ Program begins on the first day on the paid CJ worksite (considered enrollment). The Contractor will enter this date in the Actual Start Date column of the Contractor Caseload Screen.
Parents can be placed into Life Skills training or begin contractor provided stacked activities while waiting for placement in a work site.
The following fields on the eJAS Employment screen will be completed by the Contractor once the Contractor confirms the participant has started CJ employment and is receiving wages:
- Employment Code: P (part-time, 20 hours)
- Subsidized Code: C (Community Jobs)
- Insurance Code: 01
- Start date/effective date: First actual date on payroll
- Hourly wage and hours per week
- Job Code (click on the Question Mark symbol on the eJAS screen for Job Code help list)
- Employer Information: Use the host worksite's name, address, etc.
- Job Type: select the CJ program that the participant is involved in.
When the CJ enrollment ends:
The Contractor will enter the following information in the Employment Screen:
- Enter the actual end date,
- Complete the termination code,
- Enter the termination date, and,
- Enter the effective date of the termination
The WFPS/WFSSS will complete the following:
- Contractor Data Maintenance pop up screen, and
- Actual End Date field (with the appropriate component completion code).
8.3.10 Budgeting CJ Income
When the CJ 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:
- 50% wage expense disregard,
- 2nd and 5th month review alerts, and
- 9th month end of placement alert
Please note: The first month the participant receives their first CJ paycheck(s), the CJ paycheck(s) is disregarded for WorkFirst/SFA. Example: participant begins working at CJ worksite on 9/16/2013 and receives first paycheck(s) on 10/10/2013 and 10/25/2013. The income is disregarded for the month of October. The start date the worker will enter for the month of October is 10/1/13.
In the ongoing month (the month the participant will receive their first CJ 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 CJ 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:
- The income code 'CJ'
- A start date of the first of the historical month
- The same budgeting method as the ongoing month
- The same number of hours entered in ongoing month
- Income of $0.01 - Do not enter actual income for the historical months - it is critical that you must enter 0.01 to minimize overpayments. Ignore (IG) any BEGs created by entering historical information.
- Appropriate valid value (ES, WS, CC or OT)
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 ninth month of CJ participation. Confirm when the CJ job will actually end in the 5th month (and double check in the 9th month for cases will be in CJ longer than six months) and enter that date in the end date field, removing the income.
8.3.11 Hold Process
If a participant starts on the CJ worksite and a situation arises that requires them to be temporarily removed from the CJ Program, a case staffing should be held with the WF partners.
Reasons for a temporary hold could include:
- Child Care
- Drug & Alcohol Assessment/Short term
- DSHS Requested
- Emergency Travel
- Family Emergency
- Homeless/Housing Needs
- Legal Issues - Other Including Jury Duty
- Legal Issues - Short Term Incarceration
- Long Term Jury Duty
- Medical Illness
- Pending Assessment
- Temporary Unsubsidized Employment
Once the hold issue has been resolved, the participant should resume their CJ Program.
8.3.12 Stacking CJ with Part Time Job Search
When the CJ Contractor decides a participant is within 4 weeks of being job ready, the participant's CJ component can be stacked with a part time job search component, providing it does not interrupt or conflict with the participant's completion of other stacked activities. If the scheduled end date of the CJ component is more than 4 weeks away, the CJ component will be backed down to end in 4 weeks from the referral to part time job search. The participant will be transitioned to full time job search at the end of the 4 week CJ-JS period.
If during the 4th week of part time job search it does not appear the participant is ready to accept employment, a CAP can be done to identify a different activity or to continue in Community Jobs.
The Contractor will:
- Determine the hours of the part time job search, between 10-15 hours per week
- Contact the WFPS who will create the referral.
- Update the participant's IDP to reflect the new stacked activity.
- Document the actions taken in eJAS notes, including:
- Whether the participant's issues have been resolved,
- Communication has occurred with the case manager and the participant,
- The referral is being made to part time job search,
- The amount of job search hours recommended,
- If the CJ end date is being adjusted, the new CJ end date.
At the end of the 4 weeks of part time job search, the participant will transition to full time job search if they have not obtained unsubsidized employment.
The WFPS will:
- Create the RI component to complete the referral for part time Career Scope activities.
- Change the end date of the CJ component to 4 weeks out, if the CJ end date is longer than 4 weeks away.
- Document actions taken in eJAS notes.
Agency/worker roles in Community Jobs
WF Program Specialist
Community Jobs Contractor
Community and Technical Colleges
Other Service Providers
8.3.13 Community Jobs - Step-by-step guide
- The WFPS will refer the participant to the Contractor using the:
- CJ component code and CJ IRP template,
- Enter the CJ component code for 20 hours for 12 months.
- Advise the participant that they must meet with the Contractor within five business days.
- Advise the participant that they need to bring valid employment identification to the meeting with the Contractor. (The most common types of employment ID include driver's license or state identification card and social security or U.S. Permanent Resident Card.)
- Authorize support services up to the time of the CJ referral.
- Authorize needed full time child care.
- Upon receipt of the CJ referral, the Contractor will:
- Attempt to contact the participant to arrange the First Contact meeting
- If First Contact is made within 5 business days, the Contractor will accept the referral and complete the First Contact note with the specific details of the meeting.
- If First Contact is not made within 5 business days, the Contractor will reject the referral on the 6th business day.
- During the First Contact meeting, the Contractor will develop an initial IDP with the participant outlining their specific program activities including any pre-placement activities.
- Develop a host worksite for the participant
- Develop stacked activities for at least 10 hours per week.
- Contractors will need to notify the WFPS all stacked activities via e-message so the WFPS can create the appropriate component codes to support the activity.
- Develop action plans to address barriers.
- Identify and arrange for 10 hours per week of additional participation activities to resolve barriers or in employment related activities. These activities are not coded components in eJAS.
- Job Search should not be coded as a co-enrollment activity while enrolled in the CJ program unless the participant is job ready. Please refer to section 8.3.12 - Stacking CJ with Part Time Job Search.
- Once the participant begins at the worksite the Contractor will:
- Enter the date the participant started at the worksite in the Actual Start Date column of the Contractor Caseload Screen.
- Create an Employment Screen in eJAS with the worksite information, and
- Update the participant's IDP to reflect the worksite information and requirements.
- Once the Contractor enters the Actual Start Date in the Contractor Caseload Screen, the WFPS will:
- Fix 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. It will also remove the exception from DSHS' Client Accountability Report (CAR.)
- Enter CJ wage information into eJAS and ACES. See EA-Z Manual for CJ income budgeting information.
- Refers participant, if appropriate, to the local Division of Child Support office to discuss a possible modification of his/her support order.
- Once the Contractor identifies the stacked activity they will notify the WFPS/SW of the specific activity, provider and number of hours per week. A minimum of 10 hours per week will be coded in eJAS. The remaining 10 hours of activities will be documented in the IDP but not coded components in eJAS.
- Upon notification of the stacked activity, the WFPS/SW will create the appropriate component with the provider's contractor code and number of hours per week. Creating the additional component will generate an IRP for that activity.
- For the duration of the 6-month CJ placement, the Contractor will:
- Report attendance for any stacked activities with their contractor code as the service provider.
- Maintain attendance records for all activities.
- Ensure the IDP details full-time participation (40 hours a week).
- Send an immediate notification in eJAS to the WFPS upon 2 excused or 2 unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 188.8.131.52- Reporting.
- Update the IDP monthly, regarding co-enrollment activities and progress.
- Enter case notes into eJAS.
- At the completion of a participant's CJ Program (or anytime the participant leaves the CJ Program), the Contractor will:
- Initiate the final review of the CJ enrollment with the participant and the WFPS, recommending next steps to move them into unsubsidized employment.
- Close the CJ worksite Employment Screen.
- Enter the date and select the "reason" code on the Contractor Caseload Screen to electronically refer them back to DSHS.
- If they have obtained unsubsidized employment, the Contractor will create a new Employment Screen with the new information; or update current worksite with unsubsidized employment information.
- Complete the Exit Section of the IDP.
- Upon completion of the CJ Program, the WFPS will:
- Close the CJ component and the contractor code by entering the actual end dates in the Actual End field in the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen.
- Update the CJ wage information (when CJ ends) in eJAS and ACES.
- Initiate the final review of the CJ enrollment with the participant and the WFPS/WFSSS, recommending the next steps to move the participant to full-time (40 hours) Career Scope services.
- Refer the participant to ESD for Career Scope services using the RI referral code with 40 hours.
- Upon agreement with the WF partners to place the participant on hold, the Contractor will:
- Electronically refer the participant back to DSHS by entering the date and selecting the "Issue Resolution" reason code.
- Complete the Hold section of the IDP.
- Close eJAS employment screen.
- The WFPS will:
- Close the CJ 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).
- Refer to appropriate activity and component while in Hold status (If applicable)
- Reinstate his/her WorkFirst grant (if applicable).
- Upon agreement with the WF Partners to return them to the CJ Program, the WFPS will:
- Close the active Hold component (if applicable)
- Repeat Steps 1, 3 and 5 above to create CJ component referral.
- Upon receipt of the CJ referral, the Contractor will:
- Repeat Steps 2 and 4 to accept the participant back into the CJ program.
- Complete the Hold section in the IDP.
- Re-evaluate current IDP and update.
- Connect the participant back to a worksite.
Once the participant is re-engaged from the Hold, steps 7 through 10 above should be followed.
Note: WF attendance requirements apply.
Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters
- 3.3.1 Individual Responsibility Plan
- 3.3.2 Stacking Activities
- 3.9 Monitoring Participation
- 6.5 Family Violence
- 7.3 Basic Education, Skills Enhancement, & High School/GED
- 8.1 Paid and Unpaid Employment -- Overview
Forms & Other Resources
- E-AZ Manual - Special Income Chapter
- The Department of Commerce
- Education & Training Homework Requirements Worksheet (used by Commerce contractors)