About the Handbook

Revised on: September 20, 2021

WorkFirst program staff at Economic Services Administration (ESA) of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) primarily wrote this handbook. Others contributing to the contents of this handbook include:

  • Employment Security Department (ESD)
  • The State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC)
  • The Department of Commerce (Commerce)
  • Workforce Development Councils (WDC)
  • Tribal Governments and other partners
Handbook chapters cover the following topic areas:
Tools The tools we use to process cases (such as Individual Responsibility Plans and eJAS screening/evaluation)
Supports The supports we provide to participants (such as child care and support services)
Engaging Participants in WorkFirst  How we introduce participants to the WorkFirst program
The Pathways

The pathways participants may take to self-sufficiency include:

  • Career Scope – provides services to help participants find jobs
  • Community Jobs – paid work activity that help a participant prepare for work
  • Community Works – unpaid work activity that help a participant prepare for work
  • Education & Training – education and training programs that help participants build knowledge and skills needed for work
  • Employment - Services and requirements for employed participants
  • LEP – services provided to limited English proficiency participants
  • Issue Resolution - Working with issues that interfere with participants’ ability to work (like family violence)
  • Exempt – provides services to participants who may take alternative routes to self-sufficiency (like SSI)

Using the WorkFirst Handbook

Each section of the WorkFirst Handbook may have:

  • A legal reference list and key principles at the top;
  • The body of text in the center with special requirements, examples or activities notated in special fonts or colored boxes; and
  • A list of resources at the bottom.

The use of participant and parent/caregiver are interchangeable throughout this handbook. 

The use of WorkFirst staff is used interchangeably throughout the WorkFirst Handbook to refer to either Case Planners or Social Service Specialists, as many major program components are supported by both roles. For situations when a program component is handled solely by the Social Service Specialist, the term Case Manager is used.

Desk Aids

This page contains useful desk aids.  Policy and procedure changes will result in revisions to this information.