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Workfirst: Community Jobs

Contact: Molly Onkka
Department of Commerce
P.O. Box 42525
Olympia, Washington 98504-2525
Telephone: (360)725-4145
E-mail: molly.onkka@commerce.wa.gov

State Website: www.commerce.wa.gov/workfirst

Participation: 2,516 participants were served by the Community Jobs program between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

Who is Served: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients with barriers to employment.

Program Description: Community Jobs provides comprehensive, paid work experience plus skill building opportunities for hard to employ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients. Participants gain valuable work experience, self-confidence, marketable skills, and an avenue to permanent unsubsidized employment.

Commerce’s local contractor-partners place participants in temporary, 20-hour-per-week paid positions with local nonprofit organizations and public agencies to gain work experience and job skills. In addition, participants enroll in at least 10 hours of additional activitiesto help increase their future employability including education, job readiness training, life skills training, or community service. Participants remain in the program up to six months—long enough to gain both substantial work experience and tools for dealing with life situations beyond crisis management.

Program History: Since the implementation of WorkFirst in 1997, the state has provided services to help participants search for jobs and enter the labor market. Most have been successful; however, some people need additional assistance to secure permanent employment. The Community Jobs program was started in June 1997 to help fill this need. In 1998, Community Jobs became available in every county in Washington.

Outcome Measures: Participant engagement, job enrollment, success in meeting individual development plan goals, and unsubsidized job placement.

Funding and Regional Division: The Department of Commerce contracts with 21 community-based organizations located throughout Washington to provide service delivery.

State Funding: None.

Federal Funding: $15,760,752 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013)

Statutory Authority: The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

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