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

Revised June 30, 2017

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 3.9.2.6 What are Non-contracted service requirements.
Note: If the component is coded to a non-SBCTC provider, follow reporting requirements outlined in 3.9.2.5 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 4.2.7- What is Life Skills Training as Part of Job Search? 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 curriculum and determines which workshops the participant would benefit from.
    2. Signs up the participant through their local ESD Trumba calendar (See ESD Trumba Registration Desk Aid).
    3. 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
    4. 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
        Note: Please see Referrals for LS Desk Aid
  2. The Strategies for Success instructor provides:
    1. Supervision: Required daily supervision
    2. Documentation:
      1. Document attendance records every week 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. Reporting:
      1. Use eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS on a weekly basis.
      2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, or fails to participate as required (See section 3.9.2.8 Monitoring Participation for monitoring and reporting).
    4. Verification:
      1. Provide 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

Other Resources