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 3.9.1.5.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources