Chapter 7: Education & Training

7.1 Overview

Created on: 
Mar 01 2017

Revised On: March 1, 2017

The Education & Training Overview section includes:

  • 7.1.1 What are the WorkFirst Training Options?
  • 7.1.2 When can you add it to an IRP?
  • 7.1.3 How to calculate the education and training class and homework hours
  • 7.1.4 How DSHS calculates non-contracted/non-partner homework hours
  • 7.1.5 Step-by-step guide - Non-contracted/non-partner homework hours (DSHS Only)
  • 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a participant is absent?

7.1.1 What are the WorkFirst Training Options?

A participant's employment plan may include education and training based on the results of the comprehensive evaluation , the strategy for stacking activities or the continuous activity planning (CAP) meeting.

The WorkFirst program offers several training options for participants and young adults to enhance their skills and employability. There are different rules and procedures to follow for the various options.

Education and training includes:

  • "Core" educational activities:
    • Vocational education:
      • Vocational Education ( VE )
      • Customized Job Skills Training ( PE )
      • Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training - I-BEST ( VE )
      • High-Wage, High-Demand Training ( HW )
      • Degree Completion (DC)
    • Life Skills Training (LS)
    • High School completion or High School equivalency age 19 or younger (HS)
    • Internships and Practicums (WE)
    • Work Study (PT)
  • "Non-core" educational activities:
    • Skills Enhancement  (called Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment in the federal rules) ( JT)
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) when stacked with core activities ( JT )
    • High School Completion age 20 or older (BE)
    • High School Equivalency age 20 or older (GE)
  • Other education:
    • Vocational Education Unapproved ( VU )
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) when stand-alone activity (ES)

7.1.2 When can you add it to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

Education and training can be added to a participant's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) while on WorkFirst.

Under the new federal definitions, both basic education and ESL fall under the federal category of job skills training directly related to employment (and coded JT ) when a participant is participating in core activities. The participant's employment plan or education and training plan should document that the basic education or ESL is giving the participant skills needed for employment. Stand-alone ESL is coded ES and does not count towards participation.

DSHS staff can decide whether to code ESL as ES or JT based on whether the participant is participating in a core activity. Community and technical colleges will decide which eJAS code to use for all other WorkFirst education and training activities and add that information to the participant's education and training plan.

For more information about Life Skills training, please refer to section 7.3.6 - What is Independent Life Skills Training?

The following chapter sections give information about the approval process, monitoring and policy for each training option.

7.1.3 How to calculate the education and training class and homework hours

To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant 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.

Only classes with an expectation of homework may be eligible for unsupervised homework hours. If there is no homework expectation, we cannot claim homework hours.

Normally, we can claim one hour of homework time for each hour of scheduled class time. So, if a participant is scheduled to go to class for 5 hours a week, we can claim 5 hours of homework time a week, even if the participant misses some classes during the month. 

However, if the participant drops out and is referred back to the CSO, we need to do things differently.

If a participant is referred back to the CSO, we can only claim one hour of homework time for each hour they actually attended class for that month.  So, if a participant is scheduled to go to class for 5 hours a week beginning 5/1, attends class for 10 hours between 5/1 and 5/15 then drops out and is referred back to the CSO, we could only claim 10 hours of homework time for the month of May. 

Every WorkFirst partner captures homework hours differently. For example:

  • College staff will use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to determine the 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 time, and the maximum number of homework hours allowed for the participant. College staff will keep a hard copy of the completed calculator tool in the participant's file.
  • LEP Pathway contractors will use the Educational & Homework Requirements Worksheet (EHRW) to document the scheduled class time and expected homework hours for the ESL class and determine the total number of allowable homework hours. Contractors will keep a copy of the EHRW in the participant's file. (See section 5.2.11 and 5.2.12)
  • Commerce contractors will use the Education & Training Homework Requirements Worksheet to determine the total amount of allowable homework time, and will keep a copy of the sheet in the participant's file.
  • DSHS uses non-contracted provider educational worksheets (see section 7.1.4 below).

For more information and links on how different partners capture and process homework hours, please see the Capturing Homework Hours chart.

Note:  Homework cannot be counted as WorkFirst participation hours for Life Skills training. 

7.1.4 How DSHS calculates non-contracted/non-partner homework hours

DSHS staff will use a shortcut method to pick up most, but not all, countable homework hours from non-contracted, non-partner educational providers. They will:

  • Use the Non-contracted Education and Training IRP Worksheet to:
    • Verify the participant's weekly homework expectation.
    • Determine how many hours to add to the participant's IRP. We will always add scheduled classroom hours to the IRP and other language on the IRP will hold the participant accountable to complete assigned tasks, including homework.
    • Determine each month if the participant's homework expectation is equal to or greater than her or his scheduled class hours. If so, they can double the participant's actual hours of class participation on the eJAS actual hours screen. (See "Examples of Entering Countable hours of Educational Participation (used by DSHS staff)" in the resource section below for more information about how this works).

7.1.5 Step-by-step guide - Non-contracted/non-partner homework hours (DSHS Only)

  1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Obtains the Non-contracted Education & Training IRP Requirements Worksheet from the educational provider.
    2. Enters the weekly scheduled class hours on the participant's IRP.
    3. Images the form in the DMS system to document the participant's weekly homework expectation.
  2. The non-contracted/non-partner educational provider sends in the WorkFirst Participation Verification form each month to document how many hours the participant attended class.
  3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Reviews the Non-contracted Education & Training IRP Requirements Worksheet to determine whether the participant's weekly homework expectation meets or exceeds the participants scheduled classroom hours.
    2. Documents the results on the Counting Hours of Educational Participation Worksheet.
      1. If the homework expectation is less than the scheduled classroom hours, enter the actual hours from the WorkFirst Participation form onto the eJAS Actual Hours Screen.
      2. If the homework expectation meets or exceeds the scheduled classroom hours, double the actual hours and enter that amount onto the eJAS Actual Hours Screen.
    3. Images the Counting Hours of Educational Participation Worksheet form in the DMS system to document why you did or did not double the actual hours for that month.

7.1.6 What steps do you take when a participant is absent?

Excused Absences

After two excused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/provider will:

  • Send an immediate notification to the case manager,
  • Keep the activity open, and
  • Contact the participant and case manager to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the participant back to DSHS.

Unexcused Absences

After two unexcused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/provider will:

  • Send an immediate notification to the case manager,
  • Keep the activity open, and
  • Contact the participant and case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the participant back to DSHS.

ESD will:

  • Keep the activity open, and
  • Contact the participant and case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the participant back to DSHS.

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.

For more on how to treat excused and unexcused absences, please refer to section 3.7.1.5.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources

7.2 Vocational Education

Created on: 
Jul 24 2017

Revised: November 18, 2019

(Time-limited core)

Legal References:

The Vocational Education section includes:

  • 7.2.1 What is Vocational Education (VE)?
  • 7.2.2 What is Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) - (PE)?
  • 7.2.3 What is Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training - I-BEST - (VE)?
  • 7.2.4 When you can add Vocational Education (VE), Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE), to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?
  • 7.2.5 Vocational Education (VE), Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE), - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 7.2.6 What participation is required for summer school breaks?
  • 7.2.7 Summer school breaks - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 7.2.8 What is High-Wage, High-Demand (HW) a and Degree Completion (DC) training?
  • 7.2.9 What is the High Wage/High Demand criteria?
  • 7.2.10 Who can provide High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?
  • 7.2.11 What are the participation requirements for High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?
  • 7.2.12 When can you add High Wage/High Demand (HW) or Degree Completion (DC) training to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?
  • 7.2.13 High Wage/High Demand (HW) training - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 7.2.14 Degree Completion (DC) - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

The following sections give information about the requirements and approval process for each of these vocational educational options; Vocational Education (VE), Customized Job Skills Training (PE), High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC). There is a cumulative lifetime 12-month limit on vocational education with respect to counting toward federal participation.

There may be instances when basic skills education has been embedded by the college within a vocational educational training activity like Integrated Basic Skills and Training (IBEST) and Customized Job Skills Training (CJST). Such basic skills education may count as vocational educational training as long as it is short-term and is a necessary or regular part of the vocational educational training.

Whenever possible, recommend the participant pursue these vocational education activities on a full-time basis, as there is a lifetime 12-month limit on vocational education with respect to counting toward federal participation. See WFHB 1.2.3 for information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) to the participant’s IRP when possible. In most cases, vocational education meets the strengthened participation requirements, but add an additional three hours core or non-core when feasible.

A participant who previously participated in a vocational educational activity may benefit from additional vocational education.  There is a federal lifetime participation limit of 12-months in a vocational activity however VE, DC and HW activities may be extended to 24 months when the education program meets specific criteria under state law. See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

Education and Training Hours

To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant 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 can’t 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.

7.2.1 What is Vocational Education (VE)?

Vocational education includes training that leads to a certificate or degree in a specific occupation. Vocational education programs are organized educational programs that directly relate to the preparation of individuals for employment in current or emerging occupations that require training other than a baccalaureate or advanced degree. To count as approvable vocational education for WorkFirst, the training must be provided by a:

  • Public/private technical college or school,
  • Community college,
  • Tribal college, or
  • Community Based Organizations for Customized Job Skills Training (CJST).

Please see section 7.1.5 for a step-by-step guide for non-contracted/non-partner education activities.

As there is a time limit, whenever possible, recommend the participant pursue vocational education activities on a full-time basis to get the most out of the available months. Authorize vocational education as a Core Activity if the parent/caregiver participates in this activity for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Vocational education may be stacked with work or work-like activities if participants need additional activities to meet their participation requirements.

The 12-month lifetime limit of full-time vocational education and high-wage/high-demand activities may extend up to 24 months as long as it meets specific criteria. See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

7.2.2 What is Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) - (PE)?

CJST (coded as PE), formerly known as Pre-employment training, is an 8-22 week training program customized for specific employers or tied to a specific industry. CJSTs must include industry-specific technical training, correlate to jobs with good labor market demand, and target fields with better than average entry-level wages for the local area.

CJST is a Core Activity as long as the parent/caregiver participates in this activity for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Participants meeting the Criteria for Decision Making requirements for CJST must be able to begin the CJST within 30 days. During the 30-day or less waiting period, the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS)/WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) should review other available work activities such as Community Service opportunities stacked with non-core activities to meet participation requirements.

CJSTs are reported as vocational education for federal participation requirements.

7.2.3 What is Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) - (VE)?

I-BEST combines vocational skill training with basic skills/English as a Second Language (ESL). It is considered full-time training and must meet full-time standards. Basic Education for Adults (BEdA)/ ESL instructors and professional-technical instructors work together in the classroom to provide participants with literacy education and workforce skills.

A participant who qualifies for BEdA/ESL according to the CASAS appraisal and who wants to learn language or basic skills in the context of a particular vocational skill area would benefit from I-BEST. Approve I-BEST for up to 12 months* or up to 24 months with approval of a vocational education extension when:

  • It is in the participant's comprehensive evaluation or Continuous Activity Planning (CAP), and
  • It is needed to become employed or get a better job.

I-BEST is a vocational education (VE) program and, as such, is a Core Activity if the parent/caregiver participates in this activity for a minimum of 20 hours per week. I-BEST may be stacked with work or work-like activities if additional activities are needed to meet their participation requirements.

I-BEST programs are reported as vocational education (VE) for federal participation requirements.

*Note: The Department increased the 12-month vocational education limit to 24 months for VE, DC and HW activities when the education program meets specific criteria  See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

7.2.4 When can you add Vocational Education (VE), or Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE) to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

Participants in approved education and training qualify for child care assistance and support services once it is added to their IRP. The WFPS/WFSSS may add VE or PE to the IRP when it is indicated as an appropriate activity in the comprehensive evaluation results or the CAP . Each educational program option has its own criteria. Please see "Criteria for Decision Making" .

7.2.5 Vocational Education (VE) or Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE) - Step-by-Step Guide

If the appropriate Employment Pathway is education and training then:

  1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
  2. After completing the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines if the training request appears to be appropriate*
    2. Discusses the Education and Training employment pathway and refers to the college using the RA code
    3. Updates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)
    4. Explains participation requirements until the college approves referral
  3. College staff:
    1. Within the first seven days of referral:
      1. Attempts contact with the customer
      2. Accepts or rejects the referral
      3. Determines whether to approve VE or PE (if accepted)
      4. Documents reason for accept/reject and referral to appropriate program
    2. Creates a training plan.
    3. Uses the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
    4. Updates the Education & Training Worksheet to include the:
      1. Totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet,
      2. Participant's approval status,
      3. Appropriate component,
      4. Anticipated start and end date of the activity, and
      5. Participant’s total number of participation hours per week.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Receives notice that the individual is approved for VE or PE education program from the College staff.
    2. Enters eJAS component code ( PE or VE ) with the three digit contractor code,
    3. Updates participant's IRP, and
    4. Documents action taken in eJAS.
  5. College staff work with all participants 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 making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation:
      1. Documents attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
      2. Provides this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
      3. Keeps a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
    3. Reporting:
      1. Uses eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS on a monthly basis,
      2. Immediately notifies the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
    4. Verification: Provides information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.
    5. Assists the participant with employment.
  6. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if not employed upon completion of the training.

* If the employment plan recommendation or continuous activity planning isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2 Comprehensive Evaluation. 

7.2.6 What Participation is Required During Summer School Breaks?

Participants are required to engage in approved WorkFirst activities during summer school break. This may include other education and training, job preparation, or paid or unpaid work activities. Colleges provide many of these additional activities.

7.2.7 Summer School Breaks - Step-by-Step Guide

For participants who enroll in job preparation activities by the college during the summer break (i.e. Life Skills training):

College staff:

  1. Updates the Education and Training Worksheet in eJAS with the following information:
    1. What activity the participant will be engaged in during the summer break
    2. The dates of the activities
    3. The component code to be used for the participant's activity

The WFPS/WFSSS:

  1. Reviews the Education and Training Worksheet
  2. Updates the component code per college staff recommendation
  3. Adjusts the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) dates without changing the IRP template, as needed
  4. Sets an alert/reminder to update the component for fall quarter, as needed.

If participants are:

  • Doing activities on their own during the summer,
  • Unable to be placed in activities for the summer by the college, or
  • Working with a different contractor during the summer break;
  1. College staff:
    1. Refers the participant back to DSHS
    2. Updates eJAS notes with why the participant is being referred back and whether the participant is enrolled in school for fall quarter
  2. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Makes contact with the participant and discuss the appropriate activity for the participant during the summer break
    2. Updates the component and IRP for the appropriate activity
    3. Sets an alert/reminder to refer the participant back to the college in the fall

Participants continuing to participate in vocational education activities during the summer break can remain in a VE component with no change to the IRP.

For participants who start employment during the summer break or increase their work hours, the WFPS/WFSSS reviews the participant's employment and updates the component and IRP as appropriate.

7.2.8 What is High-Wage, High-Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?

High-Wage, High-Demand training – (eJAS components HW and DC) refers to vocational training programs that meet both a minimum wage and a labor market demand threshold as outlined in the High Wage, High Demand Criteria, results in a vocational certificate or degree, and can be completed within a total of 12 months*.

The rules for both types of training (High-Wage/High-Demand and Degree Completion) are basically the same and described in WAC 388-310-1000(4), but the approval processes differ. Both are full-time training options for TANF recipients:

  1. High-wage, High-demand (HW) training (called Information Technology, Healthcare or Other Professional-Technical Programs in WAC): Allows participants  to start and finish a one-year or shorter state community or technical college training program in the information technology, health care fields or other professional-technical programs that meet High Wage/ High Demand criteria. It may include training from other educational institutions approved on a case-by-case basis by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

  2. Certificate/Degree Completion (DC): Allows individuals to finish the last year of any certificate or degree program, not to exceed a baccalaureate degree, in a high-wage/high-demand field on an exception basis. The high-wage/high-demand criteria is based on median income and high-demand occupations within the local labor market as determined by Employment Security Department. It can include training from state community and technical colleges, or other educational institutions, approved on a case-by-case basis by SBCTC.
*Note: The department increased the 12-month vocational education limit to 24 months for VE, DC and HW activities when the education program meets specific criteria. See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

7.2.9 What is the High Wage/High Demand Criteria?

For both High-Wage, High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC), the program must be in a High Wage, High Demand field as defined below.

  1. High-Wage: The field of study must lead to an occupation that offers a wage equal to or greater than the local labor market’s hourly median wage as determined by the Employment Security Department. Use Workforce Explorer to determine the hourly median wage for each local area in Washington.
  2. High-Demand: The job must be listed as ‘Demand’ on the demand list for the county the participant resides according to Workforce Explorer. State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) must approve High Wage/High Demand programs. When programs haven’t been through the SBCTC approval process, follow the steps in 7.2.13.

If the above information isn’t available for the program but local staff believe the program meets the high wage and high demand criteria, staff should compile demand and wage information for which access is available.

7.2.10 Who can provide High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?

Institutions authorized to provide HW and DC training may include:

  • Community and technical colleges,
  • Tribal colleges,
  • For DC only, public colleges or universities with degree-granting authority, and
  • Private, for-profit or non-profit, nonsectarian educational institutions offering programs beyond the secondary level and registered with the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, or meet the legal requirements for exemption.

7.2.11 What are the participation requirements for High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?

For federal participation reporting purposes, HW and DC training is reported as a core activity and counts toward the 12-month lifetime limit* for Vocational Education. It should be as full-time as possible and can include both supervised and unsupervised homework time.

If a participant is participating in HW or DC less than full time, the WFPS/WFSSS must stack appropriate activities to bring the participant to full time participation.

To be approved, HW and DC training must start by the beginning of the next school quarter. During the waiting period, the WFPS/WFSSS should review other available work activities, such as Work Experience opportunities, stacked with non-core activities to meet participation requirements.

If a participant needs to wait longer for the classes to begin, s/he must go directly to, or remain in, another activity according to their comprehensive evaluation or continuous activity planning (CAP).

*Note: The department increased the 12-month vocational education limit to 24 months for VE, WH and DC activities when the education program meets specific criteria. See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

7.2.12 When can you add High Wage/High Demand (HW) or Degree Completion (DC) training to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

The WFPS/WFSSS may add HW or DC training when it is indicated as an appropriate activity in the comprehensive evaluation results or the CAP. Each educational program option has its own criteria. Please see "Criteria for Decision Making". Each specific vocational certificate and degree program must also be approved. Please see the approval processes below for HW and DC.

HW and DC can be approved one-time only, barring an approved exception to policy. There is no work requirement during the training period. Participants must also:

  • Be able to start by the beginning of the next school quarter;
  • Meet all of the pre-requisites for the program or be able to complete the pre-requisites and all course work within the allotted time period;
  • Obtain the certificate or degree within 12 calendar months;
  • Participate as full-time as possible in the training program and make satisfactory progress;
  • Work with ESD staff as needed during the last quarter of training for job placement; and
  • Return to Career Scope (job search) upon completion of the educational program if still unemployed.

Participants in approved education and training qualify for childcare assistance and support services once it is added to their IRP.

7.2.13 High Wage/High Demand (HW) training - Step-by-Step guide

HW Community and Technical Colleges Step-by-Step

  1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
  2. After completing the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines if the High Wage/High Demand training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
    2. Refers appropriate requests to the college using the RA code, and creates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
  3. The College staff:
    1. Attempts contact with the referred customer, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven days.
    2. Verifies that the certificate or degree program is registered with the SBCTC as High Wage/High Demand Training. Sends an email request to SBCTC providing median wage and demand information demonstrating the program meets the High Wage/High Demand criteria noted in 7.2.9 when the training program isn’t listed. Send the email to drader@sbctc.edu (use secure email if sending participant information). If the program is not considered High Wage/High Demand, refer to section 7.2.4 to determine if it meets the Vocational Education criteria.
    3. Develops the Education and Training Worksheet.
    4. Uses the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
    5. Updates the Education & Training Worksheet to include the:
    6. Sends notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Receives notice that the participant is approved from the college staff.
    2. Closes the RA component code in eJAS.
    3. Enters the HW component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
    4. Updates the participant's IRP.
    5. Reviews and monitors progress entered by the college staff quarterly into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
  5. The College staff works with all participants in approved HW 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 making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation:
      • Documents attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
      • Provides this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
      • Keeps a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
    3. Reporting:
    • Uses eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS monthly,
    • Immediately notifies the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
    1. Verification: Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts. 
      1. Assists the participants with employment.
    2. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if they aren’t employed upon completion of the training.

* If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2-Comprehensive Evaluation.

HW Other Institutions - Step-by-Step

  1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
  2. After completing the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines if the HW training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
    2. Screens the training program for your local labor market to determine if the degree is likely to lead directly to a high wage, high demand job, using the High Wage/High Demand Training Criteria.
    3. Completes the WorkFirst HW/DC Request form and sends viable requests to the SBCTC following the submission process identified on the form.
  3. The SBCTC makes a decision and notifies the WFPS/WFSSS.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Receives SBCTC approval for the participant.
    2. Enters the HW component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
    3. Reviews training program to ensure the participant's required participation can be met through training activity.
    4. Works with participant to identify other work or work-like activities to meet participation requirements, if needed.
    5. Updates the participant's IRP.
    6. Reports monthly participation in eJAS using the WorkFirst participation verification form completed by instructor.
    7. Closes the HW code and creates an updated IRP if the participant isn’t making satisfactory progress.
  5. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if they aren’t employed upon completion of the training.

* If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2-Comprehensive Evaluation.

7.2.14 Degree Completion (DC) - Step-by-Step guide

DC Community and Technical Colleges Step-by-Step

 
  1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines if the DC training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
    2. Refers appropriate requests to the college using the RA code, and creates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
    3. Informs the parent to bring her/his college transcript and a completed WorkFirst Degree Completion Request Form to the meeting with the College staff.
  2. The College staff:
    1. Attempts contact with the referred customer, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven days.
    2. Screens the training program for your local labor market to determine if the degree is likely to lead directly to a high wage, high demand job, using the High Wage/High Demand Training Criteria.
    3. Completes the WorkFirst Degree Completion Request Form following the submission process identified on the form. SBCTC makes a decision within two business days and notifies the college staff.
    4. If approved by SBCTC, develops the Education and Training Worksheet.
    5. Uses the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
    6. Updates the Education & Training Worksheet to include the:
    7.  Sends notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
  3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Receives notice that the participant is approved from the College staff.
    2. Closes the RA component codes in eJAS.
    3. Enters the DC training component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
    4. Updates the participant's IRP.
    5. Reviews and monitors progress entered by the College staff quarterly into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
  4. The College staff work with all participants in approved DC 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 making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation:
      • Documents attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
      • Provides this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
      • Keeps a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
    3. Reporting:
      • Uses eJAS to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS monthly,
      • Immediately notifies the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
    4. Verification: Provides information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.
    5. Assists the participants with employment.
  5. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if they aren’t employed upon completion of the training.

* If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2 - Comprehensive Evaluation.

DC Other Institutions - Step-by-Step

  1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Determines if the DC training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
    2. Screens the training program for your local labor market to determine if the degree is likely to lead directly to a high wage, high demand job, using the High Wage/High Demand Training Criteria.
    3. Completes the WorkFirst HW/DC Request form and sends viable requests to the SBCTC following the submission process identified on the form.
  2. The SBCTC makes a decision within two business days and notifies the WFPS/WFSSS.
  3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Receives SBCTC approval for the participant.
    2. Enters the DC component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
    3. Reviews training program to ensure the participant's required participation can be met through training activity.
    4. Works with participant to identify other work or work-like activities to meet participation requirement.
    5. Updates the participant's IRP.
    6. Reports monthly participation in eJAS using the WorkFirst Participation Verification form completed by instructor.
    7. Closes the DC code and creates an updated IRP if the participant isn’t making satisfactory progress.
    8. Upon completion of the DC program, refers the participant to employment services activities if not employed.

* If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2 - Comprehensive Evaluation.

7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

The 12-month lifetime limit of full-time vocational education (VE) degree completion (DC) and high-wage/high-demand (HW) activities may extend up to 24 months.

Although participation beyond 12-months will not count toward the federal work participation rate, this opportunity allows additional support to families through their education pathway. WFPS should continue referrals to work or work-like activities in addition to education as appropriate if it helps participants expand their work skills while obtaining a certificate. 

College staff review referrals for vocational education beyond 12-months to ensure the participant meets the extension criteria outlined in SBCTC WorkFirst Delivery Agreement,  Vocational Education Extension Policy.  To qualify for the vocational education extension the participant must be one of the following:

  • Currently enrolled and continuing a single vocational program (not transferring to a new program of study)
  • Returning after a gap in education and continuing toward an uncompleted degree or certificate (not transferring to a new program of study)

Once college staff determine a participant’s eligibility for the extension, they include the following information in the Education and Training Worksheet and Client Notes in eJAS:

  • A statement of the extension,
  • Vocational program of study,
  • Expected quarter of completion.   

WFPS/WFSSS determine if extension criteria is met when the participant is enrolled in an education program at an institution other than a Washington State community or technical college. 

To qualify for the vocational education extension, the participant must be able to complete their program of study within 24 months and meet one of the following:

  • Currently enrolled and continuing a single vocational program (not transferring to a new program of study); or
  • Returning after a gap in education and continuing toward an uncompleted degree or certificate (not transferring to a new program of study).

The WFPS/WFSSS documents in eJAS under Literacy/Learning note type:

  • The participant's eligibility
  • Vocational program of study
  • Expected quarter of completion

 


 

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources

7.3 Basic Education, Skills Enhancement, High School Completion & High School Equivalency

Revised May 10, 2018

Legal References:

The Basic Education, Skills Enhancement, High School Completion & High School Equivalency section includes:

  • 7.3.1 What is High School Completion and High School Equivalency?
  • 7.3.2 High School Completion and High School Equivalency - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 7.3.3 What is Basic Education and Skills Enhancement Training?
  • 7.3.4 Basic Education and Skills Enhancement Training - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 7.3.5 What is Life Skills Training?
  • 7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?
  • 7.3.7 What is Life Skills Training as part of other Job Preparation activities?
  • 7.3.8 What is Seasonal Worker Training?
  • 7.3.9 When can you add seasonal worker training to the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?
  • 7.3.10 Full-time training for seasonal workers - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 7.3.11 English as a Second Language (ESL)

The WorkFirst program offers education and training opportunities in addition to vocational education to prepare participants for employment. See the Stacking Activities section for more information about stacking education and skill-building activities with core activities to help participants gain necessary proficiencies and meet their participation requirements.

Education and Training Hours

To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant is in education and training activities, including classes, labs, 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 can’t exceed the hours required or advised by an 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 High School Completion and High School Equivalency?

These activities and codes include:

  • High School Equivalency classes - Classes that help participants earn a high school equivalency certificate by passing a series of proficiency tests.

    • (HS) : High School Equivalency classes for participants 19 years of age or younger
    • (GE): High School Equivalency classes for participants 20 years of age or older
  • High School Completion - Educational course work preparing a participant to earn a high school diploma.

    • (HS) : High School Completion for participants 19 years of age or younger
    • (BE) : High School Completion, including High School 21, for participants 20 years of age or older

7.3.2 High School Completion and High School Equivalency - Step-by-Step Guide

Community and Technical Colleges - Step-by-Step

  1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
  2. Based on the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) and other meetings such as Continuous Activity Planning (CAP), the WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Determine if education and training options are likely appropriate using the Stacking Activity Chart.
    2. Create the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
    3. Use the RA code if education activity is through a contracted College partner.
  3. The College staff will:
    1. Attempt contact with the referred participant, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven calendar days.
    2. Develop the Education and Training Worksheet, and include how the activity increases the participant’s skills needed for employment.
    3. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
    4. Update the Education & Training Worksheet including the:
    • Totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet,
    • Participant's approval status,
    • Appropriate component,
    • Anticipated start and end date of the activity, and
    • Participant’s total number of participation hours per week. Send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
    1. Send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Receive notice of the participant’s approval for High School Equivalency or High School Completion from the college WorkFirst staff.
    2. Enter the BEGE, or HS eJAS component code with the three digit contractor code.
    3. Stack BE or GE components with a core activity for participants 20 years of age or older.
    4. Update participant’s IRP.
    5. On a quarterly basis, review and monitor progress entered by the college staff into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
Note: Participants 19 years of age or younger: HS (High School Completion or Equivalency) meets their core activity.**
  1. The College staff will work with all participants in approved training as follows:

    1. Supervision:
      1. Faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and work-based learning supervisors may provide required daily supervision. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation:
      1. Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
      2. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
      3. Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
    3. Reporting:
      1. Use eJAS to report participation monthly to the WFPS/WFSSS,
      2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
    4. Verification:
      1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

Other High School Completion or Equivalency Providers – Step-by-Step

  1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.

  2. Based on the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) and other meetings such as Continuous Activity Planning (CAP), the WFPS/WFSSS will:

    1. Determine if education and training options are likely appropriate using the Stacking Activity Chart.

    2. Create the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).

    3. Use the HS, BE, or GE code and assign to the appropriate contractor code. If the activity is through a non-contracted provider, assign the component to yourself or the contractor that requested the activity for the participant.

Note: If the component is coded to the WFPS/WFSSS, follow reporting requirements outlined in 3.7.2.6 What are Non-contracted service requirements.
Note: If the component is coded to a non-SBCTC provider, follow reporting requirements outlined in 3.7.2.5 What are Contracted service requirements?

7.3.3 What is Basic Education & Skills Enhancement training?

Basic Education increases a participant's basic skills competencies and ability to find work, to include English as a Second Language (ESL). Basic Education gives participants skills needed for employment, such as the ability to understand English, read, write and do basic math. To count Basic Education towards participation, WorkFirst partners must:

  • Document the participant is obtaining skills needed for employment in their education and training plan or LEP Pathway employment plan.
  • Stack the basic education or ESL with a core activity.
  • Code the hours of instruction under the JT eJAS component code so they fall under the correct category in the WorkFirst federal reports.
Note: Basic Education isn’t an approved full-time activity. However, ESL may be an approved full-time activity until the participant’s English proficiency is sufficient to participate in core activities. Use the ES eJAS component code for ESL not stacked with a core activity.

See Section 5.2, Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway for additional information about requirements and coding for ESL instruction.

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

  • Training to enhance job skills classes, such as computer/keyboarding, to learn software applications, CPR/basic first aid training, or flagger training.
  • Literacy or language instruction when it explicitly focuses on skills needed for employment or combined with job training.
  • Developmental education or prerequisites required for a vocational certificate.
  • Any education and training required by an employer to provide a participant with the ability to obtain employment, or to advance or adapt to the changing demands of the workplace including part-time vocational education classes.

The following may provide Skills Enhancement training:

  • Public/private community and technical colleges,
  • WorkFirst partners,
  • Tribal governments,
  • Community based organizations, or
  • Businesses.

You can add Skills Enhancement training to a participant's IRP when they:

  • Qualify as a seasonal worker;
  • Meet the WorkFirst work requirements;
  • Are fully participating in job preparation or other employment services (short-term only) and the training enhances their employability.
  • Need non-core activities to meet participation requirements.

Training institutions measure Skills Enhancement training by credits or credit hours. Some courses last less than one day while others take several 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 education plan and enter the amount in the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). When the participant is attending a community or technical college, up to one hour of unsupervised study time may count for every scheduled hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation can’t exceed the hours required or advised by an educational program.

Use the following eJAS codes for participants in basic education or skills enhancement training:

  • JT - Skills Enhancement Training
  • RA -

    Referral to Community/Technical college

7.3.4 Basic Education & Skills Enhancement Training - Step-by-Step Guide

  1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
  2. Based on the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Determine if an education and training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant’s comprehensive evaluation, Continuous Activity Planning recommendations, or the stacking activity chart.
    2. When combining Basic Education or Skills Enhancement training with Career Scope activities:
      1. Chooses the Job Search and Education and Training employment pathways after completing the CE and refers the participant 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. When combining Basic Education or Skills Enhancement training with other core activities:
      1. Chooses the Education and Training and core activity pathways after completing the CE and refers the participant to the service provider using the RA referral code;
      2. Updates the IRP to include skills enhancement training;
      3. Opens the JT and core activity components; and
      4. Monitors the IRP and activity.
  3. The College staff will:
    1. Attempt contact with the referred participant, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven calendar days.
    2. Develop the Education and Training Worksheet, and includes how the activity increases the participant’s skills needed for employment.
    3. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
    4. Update the Education & Training Worksheet including the:
    5. Send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Receive notice of the participant’s approval for Basic Education or Skills Enhancement Training from the college WorkFirst personnel.
    2. Enter the JT eJAS component code with the three-digit contractor code.
    3. Update the participant’s IRP; review and monitor progress entered by the college staff quarterly into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
  5. The College staff will work with all participants in approved training as follows:
    1. Supervision:
      1. Faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and work-based learning supervisors may provide required daily supervision. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation:
      1. Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the participant’s file.
      2. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
      3. Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
    3. Reporting:
      1. Use eJAS, to report participation monthly to the WFPS/WFSSS.
      2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
    4. Verification:
      1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

7.3.5 What is Life Skills Training?

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

Life skills training can:

  • Be independent from Job Search
  • Stack with other Job Preparation/Job Search activities

Life skills training may include topics such as:

  • Self-awareness
  • Attitude
  • Balancing work and personal life
  • Money management
  • Stress and anger management
  • Time management
  • Communication skills
  • Appropriate standards for dress and participation

7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?

Life Skills/Soft Skills training prepares participants to meet the demands of everyday life and employment. It may be employment related and an up-front introduction that helps prepare them to participate in activities effectively. It doesn’t completely address and resolve family issues.

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

Note:  Homework can’t count as WorkFirst participation hours for Life Skills training. 

Code Independent Life Skills training as "LS" on the eJAS component screen.

  • For participants in Job Search activities through ESD, Commerce, or ORIA, incorporate Life Skills training as part of their JS component. Don’t code the LS trainings separately from the JS component for these cases. 

Refer to section 4.1.6 What is Life Skills training as part of Career Scope activities? for more on Life Skills training as it pertains to job search and refer to section 7.3.7 for Life Skills training as part of other job preparation activities.

Strategy for Success: An independent life skills offered by Employment Security Department (ESD) – Step-by-Step Guide
  1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Meets with the participant:
      1. Reviews the Strategies for Success (SFS) curriculum and determines which workshops the participant would benefit from.
      2. Refer the participant to Employment Security using the SW(Strategies for Success) component code.
    2. Adds the LS component (see 7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?)
      1. Start date is the date you meet with the participant
      2. Code 20 hours
      3. End date: last date of the participant’s scheduled workshop/s
      4. Adds the SFS contractor code and populates the IRP
    3. Adds the SW component
      1. Start date is the date you meet with the participant
      2. Code 0 hours
      3. End date: last date of the participant’s scheduled workshop/s
  2. The Strategies for Success instructor provides:
    1. Supervision: Required daily supervision
    2. Documentation:
      1. Documents attendance records every week and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
      2. Provides this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
    3. Reporting:
      1. Uses eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS on a weekly basis.
      2. Immediately notifies the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, or fails to participate as required (See section 3.7.2.8 Monitoring Participation for monitoring and reporting).
    4. Verification:
      1. Provides information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

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

Don’t separately code life skills/soft skills training embedded in other Job Preparation activities. It is coded and federally reported as part of these activities:

  • Family Violence
  • Mental Health
  • Chemical Dependency Treatment

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 Adult Basic Education (ABE), GED, or English as a Second Language (ESL), may be appropriate in combination with vocational training, depending on the needs of the participant.

Seasonal employment reflects a consistent pattern of employment and unemployment, characterized by regular, periodic (seasonal) layoffs. Employment Security Department (ESD) staff will determine the seasonal worker status based on the participant’s normal pattern of employment.

The seasonal worker training is for individuals who:

  • Work full-time, as defined by industry standards, during the peak season;
  • Need additional job skills to find more stable employment; and
  • Establish a recurring cycle of seasonal employment/unemployment as their normal way of life.

7.3.9 When can you add seasonal worker training to the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

Include seasonal worker training in the participant’s IRP when Employment Security Department determines the participant is a seasonal worker and the community and technical colleges approve the training.

WFPS/WFSSSs and employment counselors develop IRPs and Success Plans that maximize opportunities for wage progression once they determine approval of training. Community and Technical Colleges design individualized training plans and WorkFirst Financial Aid to pay for the training.

Community and Technical College staff monitor the seasonal worker training 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

  • RA (Referral to non-CJST or HWHD training)
  • VE (Vocational Training)
  • PE (Customized Job Skills Training)
  • ES (English as a Second Language)
  • HS ( High school completion or High school equivalency for participants 19 years of age or younger)
  • BE ( High school completion, including High School 21, for participants 20 years of age or older)
  • GE (High school equivalency training for participants 20 years of age or older)

7.3.10 Full-time training for seasonal workers - Step-by-Step Guide

  1. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to job search.
  2. The Employment Coach will:
    1. Determine seasonal worker status and informs the participant of seasonal worker training options if they meet season work status;
    2. Develop the success plan to include seasonal worker training; and
    3. Refer seasonal workers who request training to the WFPS/WFSSS.
    4. Close the JS code.
  3. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Receive notice recommending the participant for seasonal worker training.
    2. Determine if an education and training request appears to be appropriate according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation, Continuous Activity Planning recommendations or the stacking activity chart.
    3. Refer appropriate requests to the college using the RA code and create the participant's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
  4. College staff will:
    1. Complete the following within the first seven calendar days of referral:
      1. Attempt contact with the participant;
      2. Accept or reject the referral;
      3. Determine whether to approve VE or PE (if accepted); and
      4. Document reason for accept/reject and referral to appropriate program.
    2. Create a training plan.
    3. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
    4. Update the Education & Training Worksheet including the:
      1. Totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet,
      2. Participant's approval status,
      3. Appropriate component,
      4. Anticipated start and end date of the activity, and
      5. Participant’s total number of participation hours per week.
  5. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
    1. Receive notice of approval for full-time education as a seasonal worker for the participant.
      1. Enter appropriate eJAS component code (VE , PE , HWDCJTGE, BE or HS ) with the three-digit contractor code,
      2. Update the IRP, and
      3. Document action taken in eJAS.
    2. Refer the participant back to job search using the JS code if denied from seasonal worker training.
  6. The College staff works with all participants in approved training as follows:
    1. Supervision: Faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and work-based learning supervisors may provide required daily supervision of work-based learning activities. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
    2. Documentation:
      1. Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
      2. Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
      3. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
    3. Reporting:
      1. Use eJAS, to report participation monthly to the WFPS/WFSSS,
      2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
    4. Verification:
      1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

7.3.11 English as a Second Language (ESL)

The LEP Pathway section describes when to approve ESL and other training for limited-English proficient participants.  Refer to the LEP Pathway section when the participant can’t participate in core activities until their English proficiency improves. 

Basic education, skills enhancement training (JT), or high school completion/high school equivalency (HS/GE/BE) may include ESL training as part of their activities.  

 

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

** For Dependent Teens/Teen Parents, and Pregnant and Parenting Minors, refer to Chapter 1.2.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

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7.4 Other Education

Legal References:

The Other Education & Degree completion section includes:

  • 7.4.1 What is Vocational Education Unapproved?
  • 7.4.2 Vocational Education Unapproved- Step-by-Step Guide

There are other education and training activities available to WorkFirst parents. Each parent is unique and has strengths and abilities. As we work with parents to develop a plan to reach sustainable self-sufficiency, it is important that we match the best education activity with that individual parent's needs. The education and training activities in this section, however, may not count toward our federal participation rate.

7.4.1 What is Vocational Education Unapproved (VU)?

Parents may pursue educational activities on their own, such as academic transfer programs, and still meet the Washington State WorkFirst program participation requirements as long as they combine it with employment of a minimum of 20 hours per week, 16-19 hours per week work study, or an approved internship/practicum (see Internship/Practicum for details).

When parents let you know that they have signed themselves up for educational or training classes on their own:

  • Determine if they are meeting the work requirement; and,
  • Consult with the college WorkFirst Coordinator or educational institution to find out whether the educational courses can be counted towards participation.

The college's WorkFirst Coordinator can help determine which eJAS component code to enter into eJAS. If the education is countable, the parent will qualify for child care assistance and support services. If the education isn't countable, you will be instructed to use the VU code. If the parent refuses to provide the information you need to determine whether the education is countable, code the education or training as VU.

The VU code in eJAS will let you know that the education portion of the parent's IRP doesn't count toward federal participation and doesn't qualify for  support services.

7.4.2 Vocational Education Unapproved- Step-by-step guide

The WFPS/WFSSS:

  1. Determines if the parent is meeting the minimum work requirement of 20 hours per week employment, 16-19 hours per week work study or is in an approved internship/practicum.
  2. Consults with the college WorkFirst Coordinator or Director or the educational institution to determine whether the educational activity is countable (and, if so, under which eJAS component code).
  3. Updates the parent's IRP to reflect the appropriate eJAS component code
  4. Documents the action in eJAS.
  5. Monitors the parent's progress closely
  6. Updates the IRP as required

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

7.5 Internships and Practicums

(fully countable core)

Legal References:

The Internships and Practicums section includes:

  • 7.5.1 What are internships and practicums?
  • 7.5.2 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements
  • 7.5.3 Industrial Insurance Coverage
  • 7.5.4 When can you add it to an IRP?
  • 7.5.5 eJAS Codes
  • 7.5.6 Internships and Practicums - Step-by-step guide

7.5.1 What are internships and practicums?

Internships and practicums are supervised practical training at a workplace that is required to complete an educational program. Internships and practicums are unpaid work experiences.

An example of in internship is the student teaching requirement that a student must conduct in order to obtain a teaching certificate. Another example is the practical work experience a nursing student obtains as part of the requirement to complete the course of training. WorkFirst categorizes unpaid internships and practicums as work experience (WEX).

There are some types of internships and practicums that can be used to meet an individual's work requirement for up to 12 months. To qualify, the internship or practicum must be required to complete a course of vocational training that will result in a license or certificate in a high-demand field or determined to enhance the parent's training and future employability.

7.5.2 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements

According to state and federal law, parents cannot be required to engage in unpaid work for more hours than their monthly grant amount plus their monthly food stamp amount divided by the federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever is higher. College WorkFirst personnel will coordinate with the WFPS/WFSSS to ensure that the number of hours a parent is scheduled to participate in the WEX meets FLSA requirements.  For a detail summary on FLSA, see Chapter 3.3.2.5 How to Deem. 

For nonexempt two-parent families, the maximum number of work experience hours can be split between the two parents.

7.5.3 Industrial Insurance Coverage

Internships and practicums are unpaid work experiences. State and federal law require a parent in work experience be covered by state industrial insurance or a comparable industrial insurance. This coverage is sometimes referred to as workman's compensation or L& I.

The colleges will pay L& I coverage for unpaid work experiences, such as Internships and Practicums, which are part of the parent's education and training plan.

7.5.4 When can you add it to the IRP?

The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) adds an unpaid internship or practicum to the person's IRP as work experience if it is required to complete a training program that will result in a license or certificate or determined to enhance the parent's training and future employability.

Other Core and Non-core Activities, such as Vocational Education or Skills Enhancement Training, may be stacked with Internships/practicums as needed to reach full-time participation, generally 32-40 hours per week. See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible.  Don’t exceed the FLSA maximum hours for work experience.  You can substitute non-core hours for core hours as needed to stay within the FLSA maximum. 

Depending on the design of the training program, an unpaid internship or practicum may be attached to either the end of the training period or utilized at strategic points during the training.

7.5.5 eJAS codes

  • WE (Work Experience, to track the unpaid internship or practicum)

7.5.6 Internships and Practicums - Step-by-step guide

When parents need an unpaid internship/practicum to complete or enhance their training:

  1. The WorkFirst college coordinator:
    • Works with the parent to create a training plan.
    • Notifies the WFPS/WFSSS of the unpaid internship/practicum by e-message.
  2. The WFPS/WFSSS updates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
  3. The Internship/Practicum worksite supervisor:
    • Provides daily supervision,
    • Documents participation every two weeks, and
    • Provides this information to the college WorkFirst Coordinator.
  4. The college WorkFirst Coordinator:
    • Reports participation monthly using eJAS, and
    • Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the parent fails to participate as required.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources

7.6 What do I do when a participant is already in school when he or she comes to WorkFirst?

Created on: 
Jul 24 2017

Revised On: July 24, 2017

Legal References:

This section includes:

  • 7.6.1 Information needed
  • 7.6.2 Type of training and institution

This section of the handbook contains guidelines for a WFPS/WFSSS to ensure participants enrolled in, or attending, education and training at the time of their WorkFirst application meet their participation requirements. Participants enrolled in school might be receiving financial aid or loans.  

7.6.1 Information Needed

WorkFirst participation consists of numerous types of countable training options.

When participants already engaged in education and training apply for cash assistance and come to WorkFirst, the WFPS/WFSSS must determine:

  • The type of training and training institution the participant attends;
  • If the training is full-time or part-time;
  • Weekly hours of education and training they attend; and
  • If the participants are working (part-time job, work-study, internship).

To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant is in the education and training activities, including classes, labs, supervised study halls/tutoring sessions, and up to one hour of unsupervised study time for every hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation can’t exceed the hours required or advised by their educational program.

Full-time participation is generally 32-40 hours per week (See WFHB 1.2.2 Required Participation).  Participants may need to combine work or a work-like activity with their educational program to meet their participation requirement if they aren’t already working. See WFHB 1.2.2 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the participant’s Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) when possible. In most cases, vocational education will meet the strengthened participation requirements, but add an additional three hours core or non-core when necessary.

The WFPS/WFSSS may refer the participant to the following to assist them in obtaining work:

  • Job search,
  • Subsidized employment,
  • Unpaid work experience, or
  • College(s) to see if there are work-study positions available.

The participant must find a part-time job within 30 days in order to continue in their education and training when the education and training program doesn’t meet WorkFirst participation requirements.

For information regarding work-like activities, see chapters 4.1, 4.2, 4.37.58.3, 8.4 and 8.5.

7.6.2 Type of training and institution

Participants enrolled in vocational education may qualify under numerous activities. Participants attending a Washington State community or technical college may qualify for Vocational Education, Customized Jobs Skills Training, I-BEST, or High Wage, High Demand Training. Participants enrolled in an education program at an institution other than a Washington State community or technical college, may meet the Vocational Education or High Wage, High Demand Training requirements. Refer to Section 7.2 Vocational Education to determine the appropriate activity.

Other Education

  • Countable Non-core Activities: Participants enrolled in basic education or Skills Enhancement (JT), GED preparation (HS, GE), or High School completion (HS, BE), may also count these educational activities toward non-core participation. However, consider High School Completion or Equivalency for participants 19 years of age or younger (HS) as core activities. The WFPS/WFSSS must attempt to engage the participant in core activities to meet the participation requirement.
    For dependent teens/teen parents/unmarried parenting minors, please refer to Chapters 1.2 and 5.1 for participation requirements and 7.2 for education and training activities. For all others, please refer to 7.3 to determine the participant's participation requirements.
  • Degree Completion: If a participant is within 12 months of completing a degree, up to a baccalaureate degree, Degree Completion may be an option -See Chapter 7.2.
  • Vocational Education Unapproved: If a participant is more than 12 months* away from finishing an educational program, Vocational Education Unapproved programs may be an option - See Chapter 7.4. For this program, there is a requirement that a participant meet their work or work-like activity requirement. The WFPS/WFSSS needs to discuss work requirements and reduction of support services, including childcare, with this activity.
  • English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL): If the participant engages in language instruction such as ESL, refer to the LEP section of the handbook.

    WorkFirst will make every effort to assist participants in meeting the requirements of participation so they may remain in school. If not already participating on a full-time basis, generally 32-40 hours per week, the WFPS/WFSSS must take action to engage the participants in full-time WorkFirst activities.  See WFHB 1.2.2 for information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the participant’s Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) when possible. If the participants don’t comply, they may face sanction for non-participation.

*Note: The department may increase the 12-month education limit to 24 months subject to funding appropriated specifically for this purpose.  The department has funding for this extension through SFY 2019.  See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

Other Resources