4.4 Work Experience (WEX)

(Fully countable core)

Legal References:

The Career Scope Work Experience section includes:

  • 4.4.1 What is a Career Scope Work Experience?
  • 4.4.2 Who would benefit from a Career Scope WEX?
  • 4.4.3 What are Career Scope WEX timeframes?
  • 4.4.4 What are Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements?
  • 4.4.5 What are Career Scope WEX Work Site Standards?
  • 4.4.6 Who develops the Career Scope work site development/training agreement?
  • 4.4.7 What is the process for reviewing the Career Scope WEX assignment?
  • 4.4.8 What is required to supervise (monitor), document, verify and report WEX actual hours of participation?
  • 4.4.9 Industrial Insurance coverage
  • 4.4.10 Career Scope services WEX - Step-by-Step

4.4.1 What is an Career Scope Work Experience?

A Career Scope WEX is an unpaid part-time training assignment linked with job search activities. WEX offers an opportunity for participants to practice or expand their work skills in a supportive and flexible work environment. The Career Scope WEX opportunities are typically short-term activities (up to 6 weeks). The WEX assignment provides minimal supervision and should compliment the participant's career goals.

4.4.2 Who would benefit from a Career Scope WEX?

Participants with no significant barriers to employment and are otherwise appropriate for Career Scope activities may benefit from a short-term WEX. These participants have:

  • Arrangements for child care and transportation, and
  • Been unsuccessful in job search due to:
    • Insufficient current work history,
    • Lack of one or two job skills in a new career field,
    • Insufficient current job references or,
    • Been away from the labor market for an extended period.

Note: Participants need only be deficient in one area above to be considered appropriate for a short term WEX.

4.4.3 What are Career Scope WEX Timeframes?

A Career Scope WEX assignment may be approved for up to six (6) weeks. The Career Scope coach must review the WEX assignment prior to the end of the 5th week. The review will determine how much more time is needed (up to an additional 6 weeks) for the participant to practice or expand his/her work skills to be competitive in the local labor market.

4.4.4 What are Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements?

According to state and federal law, participants 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. Career Scope coaches will coordinate with the WFPS or as shown on the WorkFirst Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator hours block found in the WorkFirst Handbook to ensure that the number of hours a participant 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. During the development of the WEX the Career Scope coach must determine if the participant is a member of a two- parent family to ensure the WEX hours do not exceed FLSA requirements.

4.4.5 What are Career Scope WEX Work Site Standards?

The Career Scope coach, in coordination with the WorkSource business team (if available), will develop Career Scope Career Scope WEX placement sites.

  • Career Scope WEX sites may only be developed within an ESD state agency site:
  • During the development process, coordination efforts with other service providers such as CJ, WIA, etc., needs to occur in order to effectively utilize local community resources and employers.
  • The Career Scope WEX job site must meet the following standards, limitations and general conditions as outlined in the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms and Conditions.
    • Must provide supervision and skills training for the participant.
    • Must submit to the Career Scope coach a WorkFirst Monthly Time Report and Progress Review signed by the work experience provider and the participant at the time of the site visit conducted every two weeks.
    • Must not give the participant security or other access to WorkFirst participant information, such as in ACES, eJAS, CATS, JFS or SKIES.

4.4.6 Who develops the Career Scope WEX Work Site Development/Training Agreement?

The Career Scope coach will develop the Career Scope WEX training site and complete all required documentation.

Prior to the creation of the WEX contract the Career Scope coach will use the Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator, to calculate the maximum hours a household may participate in Work Experience or unpaid Community Service.

The Career Scope coach obtains signatures on the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement, and the WorkFirst Work Experience Training Contract Terms and Conditions, and the ESD Voluntary Enrollment Form. Then the Career Scope coach creates the JOBS Work Experience Contract in JAS/JFS. For instructions see the Internal Controls manual in CATS

There is no expectation of transition to unsubsidized employment with the work site after completion of the work experience training agreement.

4.4.7 What is the process for reviewing the Career Scope WEX Assignment?

The work site supervisor must review the participant's progress at least every two weeks and complete the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form. The reviews address:

  • Actual hours in attendance or absent
  • Attitude
  • Communication skills
  • Grooming/Dress
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Job skills progress
  • Motivation
  • Production, and
  • Punctuality

The Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form will be obtained from the employer during the Career Scope coach's visits. Visits will be conducted every two weeks.

4.4.8 What is required to supervise (monitor), document, verify and report Work Experience actual hours of participation?

  • Supervising WEX participation is conducted by the WEX site supervisor.
  • WorkFirst required documentation of a participant's WEX participation is a completed Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form submitted by the Work Experience site supervisor and given to the Career Scope coach every two weeks.
  • ESD required documentation of a participant’s volunteer WEX participation is a completed ESD Volunteer Enrollment form and ESD Volunteer Timesheet submitted by the Work Experience site supervisor and given to the Career Scope coach no later than the end of each month of the WEX contract.
  • Verification of participation will be accomplished by:
    • Career Scope coach will receive the Work Experience Time Report and Progress Review ensuring this form is completed and signed by the site supervisor and the participant when conducting on site visits every two weeks.
    • Career Scope coach will discuss any questions of participation with the site supervisor and the participant.
  • Recording actual hours:
    • Career Scope coach will review the Work Experience Time Report and Progress Review form, and record actual hours of participation in CATS (including excused and unexcused absences).
    • Actual hours will be record twice monthly, but no later than the 10th of the month following the month in which they occurred.
  • Record Keeping:
    • Records ( the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement , the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms & Conditions,  the JOBS Work Experience Contract, the Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator (Fair Labor Standards Act),  the ESD Voluntary Enrollment Form, and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet.
    • Local WorkFirst offices make all copies of the WEX contracts and forms stated above and keep copies in their local office for (1) full quarter past the end of the current program year then archive for 6 years.
    • Local WorkFirst offices will submit the original WEX contracts and forms stated above to the ECDD WorkFirst Administrative Unit with in 5 business days of creating the WEX contracts .The WF Administrative Unit will  keep the original WEX Contracts and forms for (1) full quarter past the end of the current program year then archive for 6 years.

4.4.9 Who pays for Industrial Insurance Coverage? RCW 51.12.035

State and federal law also requires a participant in work experience be covered by state industrial insurance for medical aid benefits. This coverage is sometimes referred to as L&I.

  1. Career Scope WEX sites may only be developed within an ESD state agency site only.
  2. The ECDD WorkFirst Administrative Unit will forward the ESD Volunteer Enrollment form and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet to the ESD Payroll Services-WEX Unit for Industrial Insurance processing.

4.4.10 Career Scope WEX - Step-by-step guide

  1. The Career Scope coach will establish an ESD WEX by:
    1. Interviewing an eligible participant who would benefit from WEX.
    2. Discussing with an eligible participant the appropriate work site opportunities.
    3. Determining and coordinating the stacked activities with other service providers, i.e. college, to ensure the participant remains in full time participation prior to commencing the WEX.
    4. Determining with the WFPS or as shown on the WorkFirst Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator, monthly/weekly hours block, the number of hours the participant may participate in a WEX.
    5. Developing WEX work sites and coordinating with Community Jobs and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) providers to avoid duplication of effort.
    6. Creating a WEX Agreement to:
      1. Discuss work site standards, limitations, and general conditions with the approving authority for the work site.
      2. Negotiate an agreement with the work site provider and sign the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement , the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms & Conditions and the ESD Voluntary Enrollment Form.  
      3. State the specific job duties to reflect the skills to be learned or enhanced.
      4. Justify the Work Experience. The Career Scope supervisor must document the justification for the WEX in eJAS notes prior to signing Work Experience documents.
      5. Prior to the participant starting the Work Experience Contract all signatures must be obtained from the Career Services Coach,   the WEX participant, the Career Scope supervisor and the WEX work site supervisor. The participant may sign to acknowledge the contract.
      6. ESD is responsible to pay the L&I premium .for all Career Scope Work Experience performed for any department within the ESD agency. Arrange and submit the ESD Volunteer form and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet to the ECDD WorkFirst Admin Unit for processing.
      7. Advise the work site provider of the requirement to complete and turn in  the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet to the ESD Career Coach at each WorkFirst visit.
      8. The Career Scope coach must mail the ESD Volunteer Enrollment form  at the beginning of each WEX contract, the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review every two weeks, and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet monthly to the: Employment Security Department, ECDD WorkFirst Admin Unit., WEX Coordinator, P.O. Box 9046 , Olympia , WA 98507-9046
    7. Documenting on the eJAS Notes Screen:
      1. Work site name, location, supervisor, and supervisor's phone number.
      2. Start and end dates of WEX agreement.
      3. Days and hours of participation.
      4. Skill sets to be practiced or expanded.
      5. List all stacked activities that will ensure participant remains in full time participation.
      6. Documentation of progress and on-site visits every 2 weeks.
    8. Entering *WE on Component Screen in eJAS.
    9. Register the General Agreement in eJAS.
    10. Create the JOBS Work Experience Contract in JAS/JFS (for instructions see the Internal Control manual in CATS).
    11. Coordinating with the WFPS to update the IRP to include stacked activities with the Work Experience.
  2. The Career Scope coach will also:
    1. Accompany the eligible participant to the Work Experience training site for initial introductions.
    2. Provide employer with the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form . This form will be returned to the Career Scope career coach during the on sites visits every two weeks.
    3. Document the participant's progress in eJAS Notes for attendance, attitude, communication skills, grooming/dress, interpersonal relationships, job skills progress, motivation, production, and punctuality after each 2 week visit.
    4. Record actual hours of participation, excused absences and other information concerning participation in CATS.
    5. Forward the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement, the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms & Conditions, the JOBS Work Experience Contract, the Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator (Fair Labor Standards Act) and the ESD Voluntary Enrollment form to the ECDD WorkFirst Administrative Unit , WEX Coordinator PO BOX 9046, Olympia WA 98507-9046. within 5 business days of the WEX Contract start date. .
    6. Also forward the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review every two weeks and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet monthly to the: Employment Security Department, ECDD WorkFirst Admin Unit., WEX Coordinator, P.O. Box 9046 , Olympia , WA 98507-9046
    7. Authorize Support Services when needed.
    8. Meet with the participant at the end of the 5th week to review the participant's overall progress, determine next steps and document as part of Continuous Activity Planner :
      1. If the participant is ready to resume job search or
      2. If other activities would be more appropriate.
    9. Modify the WEX Agreement as needed to include:
      1. Extending the period of time in the agreement
      2. Extending the WE on the Component Screen
      3. Coordination with the WFPS to continue stacked activities for fulltime participation.
  3. The WorkFirst Program Specialist will:
    1. Update the IRP to include the stacked activities.
    2. Enter new component codes for stacked activities
  4. The ECDD WorkFirst Unit will:
    1. Date stamp the WEX contract forms and documentation when received.
    2. Verify all documents for the correct information including the WorkFirst Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator for the correct hours per the Fair Labor Standards Act.
    3. Make copies of the ESD Volunteer Enrollment forms and the ESD Volunteer Time Report to include in the WEX file and document the date when forwarding the originals to the ESD Payroll Services-WEX Unit for the Industrial Insurance processing.
    4. Monitor WEX contract to ensure timelines are kept.

*(Note: The WE component is also used for internships and practicum. For more on internships and practicum see Section 7.5).

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