5.2 Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway

Created on: 
Mar 01 2017

Revised on: March 1, 2017

Legal References:

The Limited English Proficiency Pathway section includes:

  • 5.2.1 What is the LEP Pathway?
  • 5.2.2 Who needs LEP Pathway services?
  • 5.2.3 Who are RCA recipients and what are their participation requirements?
  • 5.2.4 Who are PRUCOL and what are their participation requirements?
  • 5.2.5 What is the Comprehensive Evaluation process for LEP parents?
  • 5.2.6 What are LEP Pathway participation activities?
  • 5.2.7 Can LEP parents/caregivers participate in non-LEP Pathway activities?
  • 5.2.8 When should LEP parents/caregivers be placed into a Community Service or Work Experience?
  • 5.2.9 What Job Skills Training and Customized Job Skills Training are provided through the LEP Pathway?
  • 5.2.10 When is it appropriate to code ESL as "JT" in eJAS?
  • 5.2.11 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL?
  • 5.2.12 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL when a parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO?
  • 5.2.13 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
  • 5.2.14 Who provides LEP Pathway services?
  • 5.2.15 LEP Pathway Step-by-Step Guide

5.2.1 What is the LEP Pathway?

The Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway provides specialized culturally appropriate services to refugees and other WorkFirst parents with limited English proficiency. The goal of the LEP Pathway is to increase parents' employability and self-sufficiency.

Key features of the Pathway are:

  • Use of bilingual and culturally appropriate services.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction
  • Specialized employment services such as job readiness training, skills training and job placement assistance, work experience and community service.

All LEP parents must be screened for Equal Access (EA) services and family violence.

5.2.2 Who needs LEP Pathway services?

Anyone who is receiving cash assistance and has difficulty understanding or communicating in English should be referred to the LEP Pathway. This includes:

  • An LEP parent with ESL Level 1 through 6 who is identified by college staff or an employment contractor as needing specialized assistance to participate.
  • Individuals receiving Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) or Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA).

5.2.3 Who are RCA recipients and what are their participation requirements?

RCA recipients are single individuals or childless couples who meet program income and resource requirements, and whose immigration status allows them to access cash assistance. RCA recipients are required to meet work and training requirements and can be served through the LEP Pathway to meet this requirement. See WAC 388-400-0030 , 388-466-0120 388-466-0005 , 388-466-0150.

Individuals receiving RCA can receive cash and medical benefits for ONLY 8 months and need immediate intensive job search and job placement assistance. RCA individuals:

  • Are referred to LEP Pathway contractor as soon as possible,
  • Are not required to have an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP),
  • Must have an Employability Plan (EP) developed for them,
  • Must participate in job search activities.

Work participation components for RCA recipients cannot currently be entered in eJAS. LEP Pathway contractors track their participation and progress monthly by documenting in the individual case files.

5.2.4 Who are PRUCOL and what are their participation requirements?

The acronym PRUCOL means Permanently Residing Under Color of Law. PRUCOL is not an alien status; it is a term used to define the eligibility of certain aliens for public benefits. PRUCOL includes any alien without official United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) status who is residing and intends to reside in the U.S. indefinitely and the USCIS knows they are residing in the U.S. but does not take steps to enforce their departure. Examples of PRUCOL may include:

  • Applicants for asylum.
  • Suspension of deportation granted.
  • Voluntary departure granted.

For additional information see WAC 388-424-0001 and Eligibility A-Z Manual, Citizenship and Alien Status.

Some parents in PRUCOL status do not have work authorization and should not be referred to an employment provider. They are:

  • Excluded from work participation requirements.
  • Exempt from CE after completion of foundation section.
  • Referred to LEP Pathway for ESL instruction only if their English skills are limited.
  • May be referred to legal services for assistance to adjust their immigration status.
  • May be referred for participation in appropriate activities that do not require them to have Social Security Number (SSN) or work authorization (e.g. basic education and high school equivalency completion) to prepare for job search and employment later when they receive their work authorization.

To identify PRUCOL cases in eJAS add a PU component code to the eJAS component screen and refer to additional services as needed.

5.2.5 What is the CE process for LEP parents?

WorkFirst parents who are identified as LEP are required to complete the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) and are referred to the LEP employment pathway for bilingual and culturally appropriate services.

5.2.6 What are LEP Pathway participation activities?

The LEP Pathway offers several participation options for parents to enhance their skills and employability. Core activities are countable toward the federal TANF participation rate; however, some core activities are time-limited. Non-core activities can only be countable toward the federal TANF participation rate if they are stacked with a 20 hour per week countable core activity. 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.

  • FT participation can be met with standalone Pathway activities, Job Search (JS), Customized Job Skills Training (PE) or up to the monthly FLSA maximum Work Experience (WE), or Community Service (XS) within 30 days of their referral to the LEP Pathway employment contract.
  • Or by ESL instruction (JT) and Job Skills Training (JT) stacked with other WorkFirst core activities.

The LEP Pathway program includes:

  • “Core” activities:
    • Unsubsidized employment (FT, PT)
    • Job Search (JS) (time limited to 12 weeks)
    • Customized Job Skills Training (PE) (time limited to 12 months)
    • Community Service (XS)
    • Work Experience (WE)
  • “Non-core: Activities:
    • Job Skills Training (JT) is countable if stacked with 20 hrs of core activities.
    • ESL (JT) is countable if stacked with 20 hrs of core activities. See 5.2.10 for detailed explanation.
    • ESL (ES) is not countable towards participation.

Parents participating in the LEP pathway should:

  • Start their pathway participation activities within 30 days after approval for TANF/RCA assistance, if able.
  • Have full-time (35-40 hours a week) participation in Job Search (JS), Customized Job Skills Training (PE) or up to the monthly FLSA maximum Work Experience (WE) or Community Service (XS) within 30 days of their referral to the LEP Pathway employment contractor.
  • ESL instruction (JT) and Job Skills Training (JT) may be stacked with other WorkFirst core activities.
  • If at any time during participation, a job becomes available and has been offered to the parent, it is his/her responsibility to accept it, unless there is a good reason to refuse the job. For definitions of "good reason" see WAC 388-310-1600.
  • When a person is able, but refuses without good cause to accept a job, a sanction penalty is imposed following the Good Cause process.
  • Regular case staffing(s) are encouraged to review participation and progress.
  • Anyone with an EA plan may need more time in the component activity and fewer participation hours to accommodate their additional needs.
  • Parents who meet participation requirements are eligible for WorkFirst support services. For more information, see WAC 388-310-0800 .

Those who are working full time and are still eligible for TANF cash assistance should be encouraged, but not required, to enroll in educational activities along with their employment.

5.2.7 Can LEP parents participate/caregivers in non-LEP Pathway activities?

WorkFirst LEP parents/caregivers can participate in activities outside the LEP pathway. The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or Refugee Social Service Specialist (RSW) must follow the referral process as outlined in the appropriate WorkFirst chapter in those cases.

The following core activities are examples:

  • Community Jobs - CJ (Note: Some Commerce providers offer LEP CJ)
  • On-the-job Training - OT
  • Vocational Education - VE
  • High Wage High Demand Training - HW
  • High School completion or High School equivalency (age 19 or younger) - HS

Non-core activities used to stack with core activities, are also great opportunities when a participant doesn't need ESL. These activities can include:

  • High School completion (age 20 or older) - BE
  • High School equivalency (age 20 or older) - GE

The non-LEP pathway contractor or agency must report these activities, and the WFPS/RSW must review them.

5.2.8 When should LEP parents be placed into a Community Service or Work Experience?

Community Service is a structured unpaid work activity in which LEP TANF parents work for the direct benefit of the community under the support of a public or non-profit organization. It is a core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as XS on the eJAS component code screen.

Parents may be determined to be best suited for Community Service if they:

  • Have little or no work experience in the U.S. and placement in this activity will provide the skills needed to be successful in the workplace.
  • Need to participate in a core work activity so their participation in a non-core work activity will count towards the WorkFirst participation rate.
  • Need additional core countable hours to meet minimum WorkFirst participation requirements;
  • Need to participate in a work activity pending start up of another activity (e.g. waiting for classes to begin, breaks between classes, etc.).

Work Experience (WEX) is a structured unpaid work activity, which offers an opportunity for parents to practice or expand their work skills in a supportive and flexible work environment in a public or non-profit organization. It is a core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as WE on the eJAS component code screen.

Parents may be determined to be best suited for a WEX if they:

  • Need time to acquire job skills needed for work and need minimal case management to be successful on the worksite.
  • Have work experience, but need additional experience to become competitive in the labor market.
  • Need to participate in a core work activity so their participation in a non-core work activity will count towards the WorkFirst participation rate; and/or
  • Need additional core countable hours to meet minimum WorkFirst participation requirements.

A Bilingual Site Supervisor can be assigned at the Community Service or WEX worksite to provide supervision and bilingual support to the parent, assisting in developing the skills, insights and attitudes that enhance the parent’s ability to advance toward eventual employment.

5.2.9 What Job Skills Training and Customized Job Skills Training are provided through the LEP Pathway?

Job skills training is a short term training that lasts up to seven weeks and enhances participant’s employability by providing instructions and teaching specific skills that are marketable to employers. This service is a non-core activity that must be stacked with a 20 hrs core activity to meet federal participation rate. It is coded as JT on the eJAS component code screen.

Customized Job Skills Training (CJST), formerly known as pre-employment training, is a 8-22 week training program that is customized for specific employers or tied to a specific industry. CJSTs must include industry-specific training and be tied to jobs with good labor market demand. It is a time-limited core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as PE on the eJAS component code screen.

5.2.10 When it is appropriate to code “JT” in eJAS?

ESL service is provided for parents with ESL levels 1-6 to assist them to gain language skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment. CASAS and ORIA approved assessment tools are used to determine a parent’s ESL level and language skill gains, as defined by the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

  • Use the JT eJAS component code for ESL that is stacked with core activities and indicate in the parent's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) that ESL is a skill needed for employment.
  • ESL instruction may also be provided as a stand-alone activity until the parent's English proficiency is sufficient to participate in core activities. Use the ES eJAS component code for ESL that is not stacked with a core activity.

5.2.11 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL?

Only classes with an expectation of homework equal to or greater than the scheduled class hours may be eligible for claiming unsupervised homework hours. We can claim up to one hour of unsupervised homework time for each hour of actual class time attended. If there is no homework expectation, we cannot claim homework hours.

Community or technical college contractors will use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to determine and document the total number of hours per week the parent will be participating, including: scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours. A copy of the completed WorkFirst Calculator Tool will be kept in the parent's file. Community or technical college contractors will combine the parent's actual attended hours with the allowable homework hours from the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to report via eJAS by the 10th of each month for the previous month as total participation hours.

Community Based Organization (CBO) contractors will use the Educational and Homework Requirements Worksheet (EHRW) to document scheduled class hours and the homework expectation for the class. Contractors must keep a copy of the EHRW form in the parent's case file. To claim homework hours, CBO contractors will double the parent's actual attendance hours to report via eJAS by the 10th of each month for the previous month.

5.2.12 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL when the parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO?

In the event that the parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO before completing his/her ESL class, one hour of homework time can be claimed for each actual class time hour attended by the parent if the homework expectation hours are equal to or greater than the scheduled class hours. This applies to community or technical college and CBO contractors.

For example, if a parent is scheduled to go to class for 12 hours a week for three months and he/she drops out or is referred back to the CSO after only two weeks of ESL class, with 18 hours of total class time attendance, then 36 total participation hours may be claimed for the parent (18 attendance hours plus 18 unsupervised homework hours).

5.2.13 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?

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

  • Send an immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW,
  • Keep the activity open, and
  • Contact the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

Unexcused Absences

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

  • Send an immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW to initiate the good cause/sanction process,
  • Keep the activity open, and
  • Contact the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

For more on how to treat excused and unexcused absences, please refer to section 3.9.1.5.

5.2.14 Who provides LEP Pathway services?

LEP Pathway contractors are contracted through the DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) to provide ESL instruction and employment services to refugees and TANF parents. They:

  • Conduct/arrange CASAS test and ORIA approved assessment tools to determine a parent’s ESL proficiency level (LEP Pathway ESL Competency Levels).
  • Document the ESL Level and the date of the test in eJAS Demographics Screen.
  • Determine employability and develop an Employment Plan (EP) with full-time (35-40 hours a week) participation.
  • Consult with the DSHS WFPS/RSW to change/finalize the parent's IRP.
  • Provide/arrange necessary and culturally appropriate WorkFirst employment services. Provide/arrange ESL instruction, if needed.
  • Communicate the parent's employment status to the Community Services Office (CSO), document scheduled attendance, actual participating hours and any other changes on a monthly basis in the eJAS.

For a complete list of contracted LEP Pathway contractors by region, and their current eJAS contractor codes please see the LEP Pathway Contractors list.

5.2.15 LEP Pathway - Step-by-step guide

  1. After eligibility is established and public assistance is approved, the WFPS/RSW:
    1. Completes the eJAS Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) (See section 3.2- Comprehensive Evaluation for more information on the CE).
    2. Provides family planning and family violence information in the parent's primary language and makes necessary referrals.
    3. Refers the parent to RSW/Social Service Specialist (SW) for intensive services if there are barriers to participation or an emergent issue(s). The RSW/SW will determine whether the parent needs EA/NSA services and appropriate activities.
    4. After completing the CE chooses the LEP Pathway and refers the parent to the LEP Pathway contractor, if there are no barriers, for ESL level testing and creation of an Employment Plan:
      1. Enters LP and ES components with 0 participation hours for 10 business days. ES component is used to indicate a referral to the employment contractor for ESL testing and creation of the employment plan.
      2. Enters the LEP Pathway contractor code to both the LP and ES components by clicking on the "Add a Contractor" link above the components. (For help with Contractor code click the question mark "?" or use the LEP Pathway Contractors List.) The ES contractor code is opened to allow the contractor electronic access to the case in eJAS. The LP contractor code is opened to allow the WFPS/RSW to create the initial IRP.
      3. Creates an IRP from the LP component for ESL testing and completion of EP with chosen contractor.
      4. Creates/completes a referral to the contractor with
        • Contractor's agency name and code
        • Contact person name and phone number
        • Referral type - Participation
        • Parent's primary language
        • Description of expected specific activities (ESL testing, recommendations for EP) in Comments section
        • Signed Authorization for Release of Information on file
      5. EMessages the referral to the contractor,
      6. Prints the referral for the parent and explains that it is parent's responsibility to contact the contractor.
    5. If the LEP parent is a returner, asks if he/she is already working with a contractor. If yes, generates a referral to this contractor and continues working with the case as usual. When referring the participating parent to a different contractor, notifies the previous contractor immediately.
  2. The LEP Pathway contractor:
    1. Accepts the ES component by entering the date when the referral is accepted.
    2. Makes all efforts to contact the parent as soon as possible to make an appointment.
    3. Reviews the results of the CE and meets with the parent for a face-to-face interview.
    4. Conducts/arranges for the CASAS language testing.
    5. Enters the ESL level and CASAS test date on the Client Demographic Screen and in the Client Notes.
    6. If the ESL level is 1 through 6:
      1. Reviews together with the parent his/her previous education, training, work history, skills and occupational goals to determine appropriate activities.
      2. Discusses WorkFirst participation requirements with the parent and develops a written Employment Plan.
      3. Completes the eJAS Client Notes and eMessages to WFPS/RSW information about the first meeting, recommends employment activities, and explains why they may be beneficial. Indicates if any of the following activities are recommended:
        • ESL instructions only
        • ESL instructions when combined with other activities as a skill needed for employment
        • Skills Enhancement training when meeting the 20 hour core participation
        • Customized Job Skills Training
        • Community Service
        • Work Experience
        • Job Search
        • Other non-LEP Pathway employment services deemed necessary (i.e. Vocational Education, Community Jobs, etc.)
    7. Rejects the ES component by referring back the parent to the CSO within ten business days if no contact was made (face-to-face meeting with the parent) by the tenth business day.
  3. The WFPS/RSW:
    1. Discusses the proposed participation activities with LEP Pathway contractor to reach an agreement;
    2. Extends the LP indicator code on the Active Component Screen for the duration of the LEP Pathway services in addition to opened participation components;
    3. Finalizes the IRP and enters the activity components with the scheduled hours of participation and the contractor's 3 digit code;
    4. Uses the following eJAS component codes for ESL instructions:
      • JT if the ESL is stacked with a core activity
      • ES if the ESL is recommended as a stand-alone activity
  4. The LEP Pathway contractor:
    1. Works with WFPS/RSW to discuss and finalize the suggested activities. Makes sure that the parent is a part of the decision making process.
    2. Modifies the Employment Plan as needed and schedules the parent for full-time (35 to 40 hours a week) WorkFirst activities using the stacking activities as needed.
    3. Enters the date the parent began participating in WorkFirst activities in Actual Start Date column of Contractor Caseload Screen.
    4. Documents parent's actual participating hours by keeping daily attendance/timesheets. Documents excused absences in eJAS and states the reason for absence in eJAS Notes. (Although not specifically stated in WAC, cultural holidays may be considered an excused absence.)
    5. Reports actual participation hours monthly on the eJAS Contractor Caseload and Multiple Clients Monthly Participation screens by the 10th of the following month for the previous month's activities.
    6. Reports in eJAS any issues identified. Attempts to resolve the issue with the parent and involves the WFPS/RSW immediately when unable to resolve or if the issues are affecting the parent's ability to participate.
    7. Sends immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW within 1 business day after a parent has 2 excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month by using the "Immediate Notify" column in the Contractor Caseload screen, and keeps the activity open. (Refer to section 5.2.13- What steps do you take when a parent is absent?)
    8. Contacts the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.
    9. Sends immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW when a parent is unable to participate for the scheduled number of hours. Initiates conversation with WFPS/RSW and parent about whether the activity is appropriate.
    10. Updates LEP Update Section in the Comprehensive Evaluation.
    11. Monitors employed parents for a minimum of 90 days following job placement.
  5. The WFPS/RSW:
    1. Continues to monitor the LEP Pathway case.
    2. Addresses any rejected referrals.
    3. Refer parents with ESL level 5 and 6 to ESD, Commerce or Education and Training activities for employment services.
    4. Updates the IRP and eJAS with any activity changes as follows:
      1. Updates activity components and enter contractor's 3 digit code (LEP Pathway Contractors List) in eJAS Active Components screen to give the contractor access to the case record.
      2. Updates or creates a new IRP, if necessary, and has the parent sign it.
      3. Documents scheduled WorkFirst activities in eJAS LEP notes.
    5. Notifies the contractor of changes in the parents' participation requirements so that EP can be updated.
    6. Reviews the Contractors Caseload and Monthly Participation screens for monthly reporting. If the contractor is not reporting as required, contacts the Supervisor. If unable to resolve the issue locally, the regional WorkFirst Coordinator would contact ORIA who will work with the contractor on any issues.
    7. Reviews the case every 90 days for participation and progress. The participating parent may be reassigned to a new contractor if the WFPS/RSW believes progress will not be made with the current contractor. Notifies the current contractor immediately about the change in contractor and indicates the reason for it.
    8. Notifies the LEP contractor if the parent moves to different address outside of the CSO area or has been referred to a different contractor and indicates why.
    9. Updates the eJAS Employment screen as soon as possible with employment information received from contractor.
    10. Ensures the ACES ERN screen is updated.

Note: "PT" and "FT" components for LEP Pathway parents always need a 3 digit contractor code to allow the contractor an eJAS access to the case for additional monitoring and reporting. When closing WorkFirst case, remember to leave the eJAS case open for another 4 months from the date of TANF closure.

For a summary of the LEP Pathway process, please see the TANF/WorkFirst Application and LEP Pathway Program flow chart.

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