3.1 Overview

Revised on August 5, 2020

The Tools-Overview section includes:

  • 3.1.1 What are the tools we use?
  • 3.1.2 Tools and techniques
  • 3.1.3 Are any additional techniques to use when making contact with a participant?
  • 3.1.4 What are the tools & Techniques principles?

3.1.1 What are the tools we use?

This chapter describes the major tools and techniques we use to help WorkFirst participants succeed. To be fully effective -- most of these tools rely heavily on the partnerships and communication between the WorkFirst agencies.

The main tools and techniques covered in this chapter include:

  • e-JAS
  • Individual Responsibility Plans (IRPs)
  • Predictive Risk Intelligence System (PRISM)
  • Stacking Activities
  • Intensive services
  • Case staffing
  • Sanctions,
  • Time Limits, and
  • Monitoring Participation.

3.1.2 Tools and techniques

The main tools and techniques used to manage a WorkFirst case are listed below with a brief description.

Tools the WorkFirst Program Specialist/WorkFirst Social Services Specialist can use:
eJAS eJAS is an automation tool for WorkFirst Program Specialists (WFPS), Social Service Specialists, Community and Technical Colleges, job service specialists, and contracted service providers to identify and document issues that can interfere with employment. Service providers use e-JAS to report participation to the WFPS, in most cases.
PRISM is a Predictive Modeling tool intended to:
  • Identify sources of medical evidence;
  • Identify high medical risk/special needs participants;
  • Identify barriers and/or risk factors affecting employability; and
  • Assist with referral or treatment for chronic health issues.
Note: Don't use PRISM to gather information for purposes of imposing sanctions for failure to adhere to program standards.
IRP An Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) outlines a participant's action steps towards self-sufficiency.
Stacked Services Stacking services requires the participant to engage in more than one activity at a time - perhaps working with different providers to access services.
Intensive Services Intensive services are extra or exceptional supports provided to participants having the greatest difficulty finding and keeping jobs, and achieve success.
Case staffing Case staffing is a group process, which creates an opportunity for the WFPS and Social Service Specialist to exchange information about a participant and gain consultation from other professionals and partners.
Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) Continuous Activity Planning is an informal consultation or joint evaluation with available WorkFirst partners, DSHS co-workers, or other service providers.
Sanction A sanction is a status that a participant enters when s/he is able, but refuses to participate as required.
Protective payee Protective payees are contracted vendors that provide money management to assigned participants to make sure assistance funds are used for basic needs.

3.1.3 Are there any additional techniques to use when making contact with a participant?

There are additional techniques you may use in your communication and contacts with participants:

  • Give participants information verbally and in writing. Take the time required to make sure they understand what is required.
  • Let participants know why you are asking for information (generally, to determine eligibility or find issues that may require expert help to resolve).
  • Use Motivational Interviewing skills and open-ended questions to get better information. There are some classes available to help you improve your interviewing techniques and how to handle difficult situations.
  • If you have trouble deciding what to do, talk with co-workers, supervisors or community partners. Someone else may know of another resource or an approach you have not considered.
  • Foster relationships with partner agencies and community based organizations. We have a common goal and effective coordination can make the difference in creating effective plans.

3.1.4 What are the tools & techniques principles?

It is important to:

Identify and resolve issues that interfere with employment as soon as possible without impeding the participant's progress towards self-sufficiency.

Document issues, strengths and participation plans on a consistent basis. As you get to know each participant better, you can use new insights to create more effective IRPs.

Offer bundled services with job search. Believe in the participant's ability. Let the job market determine employability--don't make an assumption that the participant cannot succeed.

Spell out, in writing, specific action steps each participant can take to become independent from WorkFirst cash assistance. Even better, you can make joint plans with the participant and community partners so everyone is working towards a common goal.

Pool resources and expertise with partners in the community.

Require parent/caregivers to participate as close to full-time as possible to make full use of their time on WorkFirst cash assistance. Participants can often do more than one thing at a time and work with more than one provider.

Remember, those who can work, should work. Participants who are able, but refusing to participate in WorkFirst activities will be sanctioned.


Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections