Diversion : Job Ready State Diversion Program

Program/Practice Name: Job Ready State Diversion Program

Agency Name: Denver (Colorado) Human Services, Division of Workforce Development (DHS/DWD)

Contact Information:

Curt Pesicka
Manager of Operations
Office of Economic Development, Division of Workforce Development
1200 Federal Blvd. 
Denver, CO  80204 
Phone: (720) 944-2736
Fax: (720) 944-4131
curt.pesicka@denvergov.org

Type of Program/Practice: The Job Ready State Diversion Program provides job-ready individuals with short-term, non-recurrent cash assistance for their immediate needs and other supportive services to become employed or remain employed without having to remain on basic cash assistance with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Program/Practice Description: The goal of the program is to provide participants with a strategic alternative to ongoing basic cash assistance. Although it is a voluntary program, job-ready TANF applicants are strongly encouraged to consider diversion versus going on long-term cash assistance.

Innovations and Results: Many applicants are in need of short-term cash assistance to become stabilized and prevent them from having to enter into the TANF program. Over the past four years Denver County has averaged seven State Diversion payments per month. The average diversion payment is $2,011. Recidivism is generally lower for State Diversion applicants. Work participation has increased as a result of diversion. This is done in two ways:

  • Lowering the caseload denominator of those subject to work participation requirements.
  • Focusing staff and resources to assist less job-ready individuals with multiple challenges to participation and employment.

Operations: All recipients of TANF benefits will complete a Job Readiness questionnaire as a part of orientation for the Workforce Development program. Each participant will also complete a Work Readiness Profiler assessment during a one-on-one meeting with the Workforce Development staff who will determine if the individual is a good candidate for State Diversion.

Tips to Implementation: Diversion candidates are identified as a priority and are to have their case processed within established time frames that allow the TANF participant to quickly move from ongoing basic cash assistance to a lump sum payment that affords them the flexibility to meet their immediate needs and not have to remain on long-term assistance. Flexibility in the diversion program has been critical. TANF regulations allow counties in Colorado to tailor the program to the community’s needs. Therefore, communities should determine what they are trying to accomplish with diversion and develop the program accordingly. In this case, State Diversion was used to stabilize the immediate needs of individuals before they have to enter into long-term cash assistance.

Keys to Success: The key to a successful diversion program with low recidivism rates is targeting the appropriate individuals—those who are job-ready and in need of short-term assistance to meet their immediate needs. By providing these individuals with the assistance they need, more intensive case management services and workforce activities can focus on helping individuals who are not job-ready become so.

Challenges: One of the biggest challenges has been targeting the appropriate candidates for diversion. As a result, the program has spent a lot of time and effort analyzing and revising the Customer Job Readiness questionnaire and Work Readiness Profiler assessment to ensure appropriate candidates are reached.

The following tools are associated with Job Ready State Diversion Program.  Please send us an email for more information about these tools.

Diversion Matrix

Used to determine the level of monitoring a client will require

Colorado Works (TANF) State & County Diversion Program

Two fact sheets provide basic information about the State and county diversion programs

State Diversion Pilot Interim Report

Provides a brief summary of the elements of the State Diversion Pilot Program and interim findings

Denver County Department of Human Services

Document sets out the official policy of the State Diversion Program

Colorado Works (TANF) Service Delivery Structure Denver County

Flow chart shows the intake process and how the State Diversion Program fits into Colorado Works

State Diversion Form and Intake Packet

Papers a diversion candidate must complete before authorization

Flow Charts

Indicates the various ways an individual can be directed to diversion

Customer Job Readiness Assessment

Determines whether a TANF applicant is job ready

Job Ready State Diversion Program

Basic statistics