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Work Attachment


Work attachment includes work activities, work readiness activities, and job placement and development. Programs nationwide have overcome the challenge of limited funding and budget cuts by diversifying funding streams and have addressed high staff turnover by providing consistent training. Programs also have responded to the changing needs of special populations, particularly immigrants, refugees, individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities.

Business Access In-Home Learning


Program/Practice Name: Business Access In-Home Learning

Agency Name: WorkSource for Dallas County, The Texas Workforce Commission

Contact Information:

David Buchholz Vice President, Business Development Phone: (214) 367-6438 dbuchholz@business-access.com www.business-access.com

Type of Program/Practice: Business Access is an in-home online learning program for workforce development through which Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants can achieve self-sufficiency while gaining ownership of a computer.


Program/Practice Description: Through the Business Access in-home computer-based self-sufficiency development program, participants complete online training modules, engage in an online community, and connect with resources as part of the self-sufficiency development process. TANF administrators can customize the Business Access online learning system to meet their program's needs and objectives. The Business Access system has the flexibility to provide both core and non-core activities to TANF participants. A computer and Internet access are installed in participants' homes; when participants are able to meet their goals, they receive ownership of the computers. Curricula can include education for employment (e.g., ESL, GED, digital literacy, or industry-specific entry-level career training), vocational education for locally in-demand jobs or Certified Career Skills Training (e.g., Certified Nursing Assistant curriculum), and job skills related to employment (e.g., job search skills). Curricula can be purely online or through blended models that combine online learning with hands-on experience. The courses available to a specific participant vary based on program goals and the career interest and needs of the participant.

Innovations and Results: Business Access is innovative in its program structure, flexibility, and use of technology to interact with and monitor participants. The program provides the incentive of computer ownership to meet work participation rates. The Business Access system is flexible and can be used in several ways to increase TANF participation: using eligibility for the program as an incentive for participation in core activities; as a way to expand the core and non-core hours of participants who are not meeting their weekly requirements; and as a stand-alone system for clients who cannot participate in out-of-home activities. For example, in Dallas, the Business Access program is used as an incentive for TANF participants to obtain and retain employment. Participants who obtain employment and report work hours for 30 days are eligible to receive the Business Access system. New Jersey has a program to help mothers caring for children become job ready while they are still at home. Business Access has methods in place to record, track, and report the time participants spend in online activities. All online activities are tracked by the second and categorized according to activity type. Computers are monitored remotely, so where the computer is, what has been downloaded, and how it is used can be known. Social Security numbers are required for log in, and participants must verify every 30 minutes that they are still taking the course. Business Access also monitors IP addresses and failed login attempts.

Eighty-six percent of families served through Business Access in Dallas County no longer are receiving TANF. In a study by the Texas Workforce Commission, graduates were nearly three times more likely to be employed after exit and earned $1,000 more during the first post-exit quarter than the comparison group. In New Jersey, 92 percent of participants were employed one year after exit from the program.

Operations: Participants qualify for the Business Access program through the criteria established by the administering body. In Dallas, TANF participants who have found employment and reported work hours for 30 days are eligible. The participant and case manager agree on the goals and training path. The participant completes a Business Access in-person classroom orientation. Following the orientation, the computer and Internet access are installed in the participant's home. As many as five login IDs are provided, allowing family members to benefit from the computer, although only the participant's activities count toward the program goals. The Business Access system automatically tracks and reports to case managers and monitors participant activities and training module completions.

Staffing: Program managers, mentors, technical support, and trainers support the Business Access model. Program managers work with each board or administering body to align the program to their specific goals, oversee the implementation process, and work with case managers to provide training, ongoing support, and automated weekly participation reports. Each participant is assigned a mentor who remains in contact and encourages the participant throughout the program. Technical support is available to all participants and is designed to resolve the issue and enable participants to learn more about the computer and be able to resolve on their own similar issues in the future. Trainers conduct participant orientations and take calls from participants with questions related to the training classes or about the training needed for a specific career path.


Tips to Implementation: The Business Access system is customizable to serve a variety of TANF populations, achieve program goals, and provide a broad range of classes. When implementing a program such as Business Access, agencies need to consider how they could best use the system to meet their program goals and assist TANF participants in achieving self-sufficiency.

Keys to Success: TANF participants who have the most success with the program include employed or partially employed participants, low-wage entry-level workers, single heads of households, and those with two or three dependents. Keys to success include the program flexibility; technology features that allow real time monitoring of participation, automatic reporting, and restrictions on access to pornographic and gambling websites; and a program philosophy that puts into practice ideas shaped by social construct and learning theories.

Challenges: The program can be used with exempt populations but has shown more success as an incentive program to engage exempt populations or as a transition program for those who will lose exempt status, rather than as a stand-alone program for exempt populations.


The following tools are associated with Business Access In-Home Learning. Please send us an email at upitoolkit@blhtech.com for more information about these tools.

System Usage for TANF Participation

Matrix and summary of the ways the Business Access system can be used to meet TANF participation goals

Business Access Web Pages

Summary of the functions available through the Business Access system and sample Web pages

Reports from the In-Home Learning System Platform

Summary of the ways the Business Access system can report data

Center for Employment Training


Program/Practice Name: Center for Employment Training (CET)

Contact Information:

Corporate Headquarters 701 Vine Street San Jose, CA 95110 Phone: (408) 287-7924 info@cet2000.org www.cetweb.org

Type of Program/Practice: One of the country's most effective employment training programs, CET is focused on helping those in need of job skills or retraining. CET's mission is to promote human development and education by providing people with marketable skills training and supportive services that contribute to self-sufficiency.


Program/Practice Description: A nonprofit community-based organization, CET was established in 1967 and is headquartered in San Jose, California. A nationally accredited vocational education institution, CET operates 12 vocational educational centers in three States and has been replicated in the U.S. in addition to Belize and Chile.

CET focuses on serving low-income persons of all backgrounds with multiple barriers to employment. Students are males and females from 17 years old to individuals in their 60s.

Background/Program History: CET was started as a faith-based initiative focused on improving the lives of poor and disadvantaged individuals, primarily migrant and seasonal farm workers, through skill training, human development, and job placement assistance. In less than 4 years of operation, CET was rated as the most effective training program in the nation among projects funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 1990, the Rockefeller Foundation released results of a 5-year national study of programs serving female minority heads of households and CET stood out in every category of measurement. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush recognized CET as a model program for replication across the country. In 1992, CET received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to replicate CET nationwide. CET provided technical assistance to local communities, rural and urban, who were interested in replicating the CET model. In particular, CET centers were established on the East Coast and served primarily African-American TANF participants. In 1995, CET earned accreditation and maintains accreditation standards today. In 2004, CET received the top Workforce Innovations 2004 Award from the U.S. Department of Labor for "Recognizing the Demographics of the Workforce." CET celebrated 50 years of skill training and human development in 2017.

Innovations and Results: CET centers operate year-round and feature an open entry, competency based learning format. There are no fixed semesters or quarters. There is no applicant testing as a prerequisite to enter training. CET does not require a minimum education and accepts individuals without a high school diploma or GED.

CET students train 5 days a week, 6 to 7 hours daily, year-round, in a highly individualized, noncompetitive environment, attending skills and job training until they achieve competency levels of a minimum 70 percent in a given skill. Classes are conducted in a simulated work environment, promoting good work habits and collaboration. Human development is an essential program requisite for participants and incorporated into every aspect of the training program. Human development is integrated to include workplace know-how, work preparedness, good attendance and punctuality, and job search skills. CET provides job placement assistance for all graduates. Extensive follow-up is performed with all students after placement to ensure stable employment and job growth.

CET offers a variety of courses/skill training options. CET students are trained by instructors who have industry sector experience and provide instruction and workplace simulated supervision to best prepare students for long-term job placement. Instructors work in core unit teams with other staff to provide a holistic learning environment for each student. Core unit teams meet weekly to assess student progress. Instructors typically meet with students bimonthly to assist them in achieving competencies and deal with any important issues or crises.

Services: CET offers a variety of services, which vary from center to center. They typically include:

  • Vocational guidance
  • Vocational English as a Second Language
  • Job preparation instruction
  • GED preparedness instruction
  • Federal Financial Aid for those who qualify (Pell grants, student loans, work study)
  • Transportation services
  • Emergency assistance (food, housing, medical, clothing, child care)
  • Information and referral services

Funding: CET receives funding support from two primary sources: local/State/Federal government and the private sector.

Partnerships: A large part of CET's success over the years has been its close ties to industry standards and employer demands. Instructors are hired directly from industry and have experience in a particular field. CET offers training in high-demand occupations and maintains close relationships with local employers through Technical Advisory Committees. These committees provide CET with direct contributions of time, resources, and equipment. Technical Advisory Committees assist CET in accomplishing its goals of training, placing qualified personnel in jobs, and validating training curricula.


Tips to Implementation:

CET's holistic and unique job training design, the Contextual Learning Model, has been critical to its success. During its 50 years of operation, CET has learned to not rely exclusively on federal funding but to leverage other resources, including Pell grants, student loans and partnerships with local governments and organizations.

Keys to Success:

  • CET's unique holistic approach to educational job training offers students a variety of supplemental services.

  • CET's unique mode of job training design, the Contextual Learning Model, integrates skill training, basic skills instruction including Vocational English as a Second Language, human development, job preparation, and job placement conducted in a simulated work setting.

  • CET's partnership with industries and employers.

  • CET is accredited, which permits students to apply for Federal financial assistance programs (Pell and Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants, student loans, work-study) to help students with tuition and living costs.

  • Highly knowledgeable instructors who demonstrate flexibility and expertise in offering students individualized instruction in an open entry, open exit system.


The following tools are associated with Center for Employment Training. Please send us an email at upitoolkit@blhtech.com for more information about these tools.

CET Catalogs

Community Based Training


Program/Practice Name: Community Based Training (CBT)

Agency Name: Office of Economic Development, Division of Workforce Development (OED–WD)

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: CBT allows Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants to meet their work participation requirements, while giving them the opportunity to develop job skills and work experience needed to secure employment.


Program/Practice Description: CBT provides TANF participants a chance to meet their work participation requirements through formal community service placements. CBT is targeted toward individuals who have little work experience and allows participants to develop skills needed to obtain meaningful employment. Placements include unpaid work experience in nonprofit, for–profit, and government agencies, along with community service activities in schools, churches, and other nonprofit community organizations. Participants access CBT through three avenues:

  • OED–WD;
  • TANF contractors through OED–WD; and
  • Independent CBT identified by the TANF participant.

Placements vary among participants but, on average, have lasted one to three months. The maximum time a CBT placement may last is six months, unless otherwise agreed to by all parties. Employers who participate in CBT are required to provide a job description and outline the skills that participants will learn or practice during their placement. In addition to basic cash assistance, participants receive child care, transportation, and related supportive services. CBT placements are also subject to requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to Colorado policy guidance CBT participants are compensated at minimum wage. The TANF grant food assistance grants are used in determining the number of hours a participant may work in a month. OED–WD issues FLSA payments to participants who work hours above the basic cash and food assistance grants.

Background/Program History: This program evolved from another program called Work Pool. Through Work Pool TANF participants were placed in work experience placements at Denver Human Services to help them develop work experience and job skills in a structured, stable, and flexible work environment.

Innovations and Results: CBT allows individuals with little to no work experience and multiple barriers to employment to gain valuable job experience and develop marketable job skills to help them secure employment. This is done in a structured environment where participants have access to supportive services. Participants work closely with an OED–WD Business Development Associate to address barriers to employment, find a placement that aligns with the participant's employment goals, and follow up with the participant and employer. OED–WD also contracts with 19 community based organizations to provide workforce development services, including CBT, to TANF participants. On average 22.4% of Denver's TANF caseload participates in CBT on a monthly basis; 48.8% of TANF participants achieving the federal work participation rate are engaged in CBT, often in combination with GED/basic skills, vocational education, job search, or other work activities. CBT participants often have the opportunity to transition to subsidized and unsubsidized employment at their CBT site.


Tips to Implementation:OED-WD focuses on managing two customer populations: the TANF participant and the CBT employer. The CBT program addresses barriers to work from initial engagement with TANF participants so that participants are more likely to succeed in CBT placements. Cultivating and developing relationships with employers willing to participate in CBT has been key to program success. Employers are provided formal (subsidies, tax credits) and informal incentives to encourage participation.

Keys to Success: CBT placements mirror the world of work as much as possible. Since many participants have never worked before, this experience allows them to adapt to the world of work, which sometimes involves difficult adjustments. However, in CBT, participants are able to make mistakes in an environment where Business Development Associates can work closely with the customer and the employer to overcome workplace challenges.


  • Cultivating and maintaining relationships with employers.
  • Developing CBT placement opportunities that include a broad range of industries, occupations and job skills.
  • Rising caseloads and shrinking budgets means sufficient contractors or OED-WD Business Development Associates are not available to make CBT site visits on a regular basis.
  • Business Development Associates must act as mediators and job coaches.
  • Managing employer expectations and commitment to training.


The following tools are associated with Community Based Training. Please send us an email at upitoolkit@blhtech.com for more information about these tools.

Business Development Associate Job Description

Summary of CBT Program

Client Intake Packet

Colorado Works Individual Responsibility Contract (IRC) Addendum, Employment and Training Action Plan

Employer Outreach Packet

Community Based Training Work Pool Hand Book for the TANF Participant

Community Based Training Handbook for the Site Supervisor

Joint DHS/OED Policy on Fair Labor Standards Act and CBT

Local Investment Commission


Program/Practice Name: Local Investment Commission (LINC)

Agency Name: Local Investment Commission

Contact Information:

Tom Jakopchek LINCWorks Director 3100 Broadway, Suite 1114 Kansas City, MO 64111 Phone: (816) 303-0660 tjakopchek@lincworks.org www.lincworks.org

Type of Program/Practice: LINC partners with local citizens to identify and act upon community challenges and strengths in the support of initiatives on employment, aging, safe neighborhoods, childhood development, education, health and other critical human services that lead to self-sufficiency for low-income families.


Program/Practice Description: Through its "community partnership" approach, LINC brings together state agencies, local human services organizations, citizen leaders, and program participants to continually evaluate and modify the local welfare-to-work system. LINC uses this community knowledge to create a system that is participant-driven, non duplicative, and focused on moving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants to full-time, unsubsidized employment.

The LINCWorks initiative provides TANF participants with help on the path from welfare to skills and work. Services provided by LINCWorks include placement in countable work activities, ongoing case management, assistance with transportation and work-related expenses, and referral to partner organizations for job training, employment placement, child care, warrant relief, trauma counseling and education assistance.

LINCWorks refers clients to services offered at more than 60 LINC Caring Communities sites. Through the Caring Communities initiative, LINC places a site coordinator at a school or neighborhood site to work with parents, neighbors, and school staff to develop services in support of children, parents, and neighborhoods. Services range from afterschool programs to emergency assistance to financial literacy and more. Specific services vary from site to site and are based on needs as determined by citizen-led site councils. Because LINC Caring Communities sites are located primarily at schools in low-income neighborhoods, and because LINCWorks clients often have children who attend those schools, there is a significant population overlap between the two initiatives. LINCWorks case managers and LINC Caring Communities site coordinators can work together to ensure TANF participants are able to access the full array of services on offer.

LINC improves LINCWorks clients' access to and quality of child care through two early childhood education initiatives. The LINC Educare initiative provides childcare provider training on child development, safety, first aid, business development and other topics. The LINC Subsidy Services initiative provides registered child care providers with payment agreements, payment processing, and technical assistance.

Background/Program History: LINC began operation in 1992 at the instigation of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Innovations and Results: In all areas of its work, including welfare to work, LINC engages the community at a deep and genuine level. LINC has found that often the most effective and insightful strategies for moving adults from welfare to work come from individuals and families in the community. LINC's work is guided by a knowledgeable board of volunteers, and the LINCWorks initiative is guided by a committee of equally knowledgeable and committed volunteers.

The support of these volunteers, together with the support and insight of families at the LINC Caring Communities sites, employers, local institutions, and partner agencies, allows LINC to respond to opportunities as they arise and to connect participants with very specific employment support, both short- and long-term.

LINC also enjoys longstanding relationships with the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division and the Full Employment Council, with whom it has partnered in local welfare-to-work efforts since 1992. These long-established partnerships allow for strong communication and a flexible approach to addressing problems as they arise.

Results for the LINCWorks participants include reduced barriers to employment and increased work experience leading to placement in paid employment and self-sufficiency.

Operations: Collecting, converting, and disseminating data to the community drives much of LINC's' work. LINC develops data systems to monitor performance and progress, case manager efficiency, and outcomes of participants and the organization. Ensuring information is useful and easy to comprehend, and holding individuals accountable for the work they do, are critical components of LINC's operations.

Partners in the LINCWorks initiative include the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division, Full Employment Council, Bishop Sullivan Center, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Metropolitan Community Colleges, and more than 60 LINC Caring Communities sites.


Tips to Implementation: For organizations that are considering establishing similar programs, LINC suggests implementing the following strategies: (1) work in partnership with local constituents to find out exactly how local challenges and strengths are affecting self-sufficiency efforts for low-income families; (2) community meetings need to involve key individuals with the power to enact immediate decisions; (3) do not be afraid to experiment, but be quick to change direction if strategies are not working; and (4) approach clients with a strengths-based management perspective; clients respond best to positive reinforcement that recognizes their achievements and builds on current strengths.

Keys to Success: In its 20-year history, LINC has discovered numerous best practices and overcome many challenges in delivering human services as a citizen-directed organization:

  • Paramount to all its work is establishing close partnerships with local stakeholders. Partnering with community members who are caring, engaged, and motivated has led to program results that are more effective and sustainable.

  • The key to successful job retention is case management that continues after job placement; achieving job retention requires closely supporting clients even after employment has occurred.

  • LINC has benefited greatly from leadership that has allowed staff to be flexible and creative in designing training and implementing programs.

  • Having staff who remain energized and passionate about their work.


The following tools are associated with Local Investment Commission. Please send us an email at upitoolkit@blhtech.com for more information about these tools.

Local Investment Commission Welfare-to-Work Orientation

This employer training manual includes an overview of welfare reform as it relates to issues of employment, covering tax incentives, training development funds, support systems, and retention strategies.

Mississippi TANF Work Program


Program/Practice Name: Mississippi TANF Work Program

Agency Name: Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), Division of Economic Assistance

Contact Information:

Mississippi Department of Human Services 750 North State Street Jackson, MS 39202 www.mdhs.state.ms.us

John Davis Director of Economic Assistance Division of Economic Assistance Phone: (601) 359-4810

Type of Program/Practice: The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, administered by MDHS, provides benefits for needy families with children under age 18 without regard to race, creed, or national origin.


Program/Practice Description: "A request for assistance in the State of Mississippi is a request for help in findingand keeping a job." The goal of the TANF Work Program is to end dependence on public assistance by preparing TANF recipients for a job by helping them with job readiness training, job skills training, vocational training, other educational training programs, and assisting them in finding and keeping a job.

All adult recipients included in TANF grants who are not exempt are required to participate in the TANF Work Program. The TANF Work Program provides orientation about work program requirements, helps determine individual skills and abilities to secure and keep a job, and assists individuals in determining their employment goals and developing an Employability Development Plan (EDP). The EDP describes the employment goal and provides the means to achieve the goal by giving TANF Work Program participants a chance to learn new skills and receive training so they and their families can become self–sufficient. The TANF Work Program helps individuals make decisions and solve problems, removes participation barriers, and provides supportive services, when needed, during participation.

Background/Program History: The TANF Work Program was implemented with the new TANF regulations in 1996 and was fully operational by July 1997. Mississippi had to change very little when implementing the TANF Work Program due to its predecessor Work First being very similar in scope and requirements.

In addition, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between MDHS and the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges (SBCJC) established guidelines for the work to be performed by MDHS and SBCJC for the assessment, enrollment, certification, follow–up, and performance standards as they relate to short-term career–related training programs for TANF Work Program participants.

Training is based on employer needs in a particular area of the State and on an individual's career goals and objectives, in conjunction with employer needs. Training is established through cooperative agreements with local community and junior colleges to provide employer certification/readiness training.

Training can be initiated by MDHS and SBCJC. MDHS determines employment and training needs through MDHS State/region/county staff's assessment of employers. Training needs also can be identified by SBCJC through community colleges and furnished to MDHS.

Innovations and Results: A subprogram of Mississippi's TANF Work Program is the Upfront Job Search, which refers TANF applicants directly to a case manager once the initial paperwork has been completed. During the 30–day TANF application processing period and before the TANF application is approved, the applicant attends a mini job readiness class that includes employment skill building related to interviews and resumes. The applicant then completes the TANF Work Program intake process, meets with a WIN Job Center counselor, and actively looks for a job. Many applicants are able to find jobs at this time. If this happens, they may choose to have their earned income disregarded for 3 months. If they choose to receive the earned income disregard, they receive their paychecks, TANF benefits, and TANF supportive services (child care and transportation). Once approved, recipients who maintain employment and have TANF benefits terminated due to finding employment may continue to receive TANF transitional work–related supportive services for a specified period of time. The Mississippi TANF Work Program also provides a job retention bonus for employed individuals who work an average of 30 hours or more per week. Job retention bonuses can pay up to $3,000 over 24 months and are distributed in 5 payments.

Number of Days EmployedAmount of Bonus90$200180$400270$600460$800730$1000

The Mississippi TANF Work Program has four different direct staff categories. The TANF eligibility worker/case manager determines the applicant's eligibility for TANF benefits and whether the applicant qualifies to participate in the TANF Work Program. The case manager works with eligible TANF recipients to develop EDPs, makes appropriate activity assignments, and assists with TANF work–related supportive services. Case managers are trained to calculate their own individual work participation rates. This enables them to stay abreast of their caseload status from month to month, as case managers must be conscientious about the time period for which TANF assistance is allowed. Participant attendance data are monitored on a week–to–week basis, enabling case managers to plan and make adjustments, when necessary, to make up missed hours before the end of the report month.

The job readiness trainer helps prepare participants for work by providing training on topics such as workplace expectations, interviewing skills, attitude, appropriate dress, hygiene, grooming, money management, and shopping. The employment coordinator assists with job search activities, job development, job placement, and job retention. The employment coordinator's duties include recruiting employers (marketing the program and participants), matching participants with available jobs, coaching/counseling newly employed participants, following up post–employment (employer and employee) to eliminate problems, identifying employer training needs, and initiating employer–specific training programs.

Funding: The program relies on Federal and State funding in order to provide services.

Staffing: Mississippi is organized into four economic assistance regions. Each region has a regional director that is overseen by a field operations director. Each county in a region has at least one case manager, with larger counties having multiple case managers. Regional directors oversee the operations of the various counties within their region. The State has 21 program specialists that monitor the counties' TANF program and provide hands–on programmatic and technical assistance to the case managers when needed. Program specialists also assist in making contact and building relationships with employers. The case managers work directly with participants to track their activity and progress and refer them for, or authorize, TANF work–related supportive services. When participants go "off track", case managers counsel the participants to resolve problems, if possible, before imposing timed penalties for noncompliance.


Tips to Implementation: Staff training, regional and State office monitoring, and collaboration with other agencies are key factors in implementing and operating a program of this nature.

Keys to Success: A big key to the program's success is that case management is performed by MDHS. Case managers assist clients through the TANF Work Program participation process. Another key to success is continuously educating and training staff, which ensures that everyone from the direct line staff to administrators understands the program's policies, procedures, and requirements.

Successes: The main success is being able to keep a hands-on approach with all participants, which has helped the program not only reach but also exceed the federally mandated work participation rate.

Challenges: The TANF Work Program is supported by two online computer systems. The MAVERICS system is used to determine TANF eligibility and the JAWS system supports the TANF Work Program. A big challenge this program faced when implementing the TANF Work Program was programming the two computer systems to interface and designing the JAWS system to track participants and produce reports to support county, regional, and State staff. Another challenge was the direct line staff's mindset about the program; they no longer were running an entitlement program. The administrative staff needed to explain that TANF time limits and work program restrictions were federally mandated and not changed just at the State level. Another challenge facing the State's implementation was the advocates' concern that the State would begin to close cases without considering the well-being of recipients and their families. The State accepted the advocates' challenge and helped them overcome their fears by offering programs and work-related supportive services to help families transition from welfare to work.


The following tools are associated with Mississippi TANF Work Program. Please send us an email at upitoolkit@blhtech.com for more information about these tools.

Bulletin 6086

This official document provides details for processing and registering a TANF application in Mississippi.

TANF Work Program Services Brochure

Provides an overview of the supportive services provided by Mississippi's TANF Work Program.

National Work Readiness Credential


Program/Practice Name: National Work Readiness Credential (WRC)

Agency Name: National Work Readiness Council

Contact Information:

Joseph Mizereck Executive Director National Work Readiness Council Phone: (800) 761-0907 Direct: (850) 320-3957 joe@nwrc.org www.workreadiness.com www.WINLearning.com

Type of Program/Practice: A national standardized assessment tool, WRC determines readiness for entry-level employment.


Program/Practice Description: The National Work Readiness Credential (NWRC) is a nationally recognized credential that benchmarks foundational skill readiness for entry-level employment. To qualify for the credential, program participants must successfully pass four proctored assessments measuring a combination of applied, career-contextualized math, reading, listening, and situational judgement soft skills including conveying professionalism, communicating effectively, promoting teamwork and collaboration, and thinking critically and solving problems.

The qualifying assessments and credential were developed and first published in 2006 by the National Work Readiness Council (nwrc.org), a nonprofit workforce development, training and advocacy organization founded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a consortium of state workforce agencies in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Washington, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. Employers across industries, chambers of commerce, unions, educators, and workforce training professionals were engaged in the design at each stage of the five-year development process. In 2015, the Council partnered with WIN Learning (winlearning.com), a national career readiness solutions company, as the sole source provider of the NWRC.

Comprehensive online curriculum is now offered to support program participant skill development and preparation for the NWRC assessments. The four qualifying NWRC assessments are proctored, delivered online, and take 55 minutes each to complete. Upon successfully passing all four qualifying assessments, the program participant is automatically awarded an electronic NWRC that may be printed or downloaded and shared with prospective employers.

Innovations and Results: The NWRC is currently being implemented in 28 states by high schools, adult education programs, juvenile justice and corrections providers, and other community-based workforce development organizations. The NWRC is –

  • providing educator and workforce professionals highly effective tools to advance student / jobseeker career readiness;
  • giving program participants a competitive edge in pursuing post-secondary education / training and employment;
  • saving employers time and money by taking the guesswork out of the hiring process; and
  • accelerating the development of the work ready talent necessary to grow state and local economies.

Validity and Reliability: The underlying NWRC standards are based on the Equipped for the Future standards developed by the National Institute for Literacy (nifl.gov) in partnership with the Center for Literacy, Education and Employment (clee.utk.edu) at the University of Tennessee and supported by more than 20 years of employer-focused research into the skills required for entry-level employment and job retention. The NWRC assessments have been extensively field tested and determined to be valid and reliable predictors of readiness for entry-level work and on-the-job training.

Costs: Implementation partners pay an annual $500 participation fee. The four assessments required to earn the NWRC start at $18 per learner / $4.50 per assessment; the curriculum starts at $45 per learner; and a combination of assessments and curriculum starts at $55 per learner. The assessments and curriculum may be purchased separately and discounts are offered based on volume.



"There are no tools associated with this program."

San Diego Job Club


Program/Practice Name: San Diego Job Club

Type of Program/Practice: An employment services practice geared toward helping Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients gain work skills and obtain gainful employment.

Contact Information: HHSA Employment Services Oceanside 1310 Union Plaza Ct., Ste. 200 Oceanside, CA 92054 Phone: (760) 696-9600


Program/Practice Description: Job Clubs exist throughout the State of California, and the San Diego implementation represents a clear example of this positive approach to employment services. The Job Club serves active TANF (CalWorks) recipients who also may participate in school, training, mental health services, or substance abuse programs but are not exempt from work requirements. Most of the clients served are single parents of mixed ethnicity, often with minimal education and about 25 percent with criminal records. Over a four-week period, the Job Club provides assessment, job skills training, and assisted job search in a positive and empowering environment.

Innovations and Results: The San Diego Job Club offers services similar to most employment services programs, as it consists of a week of job skills training followed by three weeks of monitored job search. In the job skills training, participants work on applications, resumes, interviewing skills, and topics associated with self-esteem. However, this Job Club includes noteworthy innovation at the tactical level, integrating a comprehensive interview process (complete with a well decorated office with a video camera), bilingual services, and ongoing job fairs and employer panels. The program motivates clients to work by detailing how, by taking advantage of work supports, clients can considerably improve their net income. In addition, the service center uses a colorful Wall of Stars in which they post the names, job types, and wages obtained by all successful Job Club graduates. Staff further recognize client successes by ringing a bell, and presenting graduation certificates, prizes, and information on work supports. Through these motivators, the San Diego Job Club places 50 to 70 percent of clients in work, and these numbers are increasing.


Tips to Implementation: Job Club staff suggest that other agencies looking to adopt some of these practices consider the following. First, they suggest that agencies consider their software and computer systems. California's implementation of the CalWin program assisted with Job Club functions by reducing the time spent on data entry, thus increasing face-to-face time with customers. Second, the Job Club recommends that agencies get to know and understand their clients thoroughly, and make sure employers also understand the clients with whom they will work. This can most easily be accomplished through meetings with employers and employer events. Additionally, agencies must maintain flexibility and be willing to adapt to client needs.

Keys to Success: The San Diego Job Club highlights several factors as keys to its success:

  • With initial evaluation and re-assessment the Job Club thoroughly assesses clients to identify and resolve barriers to employment.
  • Through supportive services the CalWorks program offers significant supports and incentives to TANF customers who successfully engage in and complete their program. In addition to continuous child care while their TANF cases are open, successful clients receive child care for two years after obtaining work. They also can receive non-Calworks/Health and Human Services Agency funded child care assistance at the conclusion of those two years. As an added incentive, through separate CalWorks funding, clients can receive $50 for obtaining a job and $200 for retaining the job for 90 days.
  • The San Diego Job Club ultimately attributes its success to the climate created by program staff. Job Club offers a supportive environment in which clients can bond and receive personal attention from program staff.
  • Although the agency lost its funding for this program, retirees serving as senior mentors would meet with clients individually, and sometimes even made house calls to provide support to struggling families.


The following tools are associated with San Diego Job Club. Please send us an email at upitoolkit@blhtech.com for more information about these tools.

CalWorks Employment Services Employment Information

Job Club Employment Package

CalWorks Employment Services & Your Business: A Relationship Working for You

Employer Panel Information

Job Club Schedule

"It Really Does Pay to Work" Income Formula

Job Search Tracking Forms



Program/Practice Name: Support and Training Result in Valuable Employees (STRIVE)

Agency Name: STRIVE, a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in New York, NY

Contact Information:

240 East 123rd St. New York, NY 10035 (212) 360-1100 www.strivenewyork.org

Type of Program/Practice: STRIVE is an international leader in job readiness programs, combining attitudinal training with fundamental job skills and long-term participant follow-up.


Program/Practice Description: STRIVE is a 4-week intervention to improve the employability of low-income individuals seeking to reenter the job market. STRIVE focuses on the hardest to reach populations, including ex-offenders (40%) and individuals on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (40%). STRIVE focuses on soft-skill development and seeks to remove barriers to employment, including lack of money; its programs are offered at no cost to clients. STRIVE employs a strategic approach to increasing employability among clients that includes:

  • Role-playing and task performance in a simulated work environment.
  • Highly interactive, structured training in personal responsibility, attitude, and soft skills such as communication, professional demeanor, and interacting with supervisors and coworkers.
  • Promoting computer literacy and preparing clients for the technical demands of the current job market.
  • Intensive and in-depth client follow-up to support and track clients, helping them remain in the workforce and advance.

Background/Program History: First introduced in New York City in 1984 as the East Harlem Employment Service, Inc., STRIVE serves the most neglected, yet able, unemployed and under-served people: the formerly incarcerated, public assistance dependents, the homeless, and recovering drug abusers. STRIVE's first home was in the basement community room of the James Weldon Johnson Housing Project in East Harlem, and today has grown to have more than 20 domestic and international affiliates.

Operations: STRIVE has been successful in the development and implementation of practical and technical principles that have streamlined the recruitment, assignment, training, and tracking of individuals seeking to reenter the workforce. From intake to successful placement, clients are partnered with intake specialists who review their background and needs and complete a written application. STRIVE uses outreach teams to disseminate information at formal presentations, street fairs, parks, neighborhood sites, and a variety of media outlets. Moreover, it relies heavily on word-of-mouth recruitment through a wide network of community-based organizations. Direct referral by STRIVE graduates is a valuable resource for large numbers of applicants who apply based on personal observance of the program's impact. Trained intake specialists review an applicant's background and needs, and personal interviews reveal whether the program will meet these needs. Moreover, applicants are referred, as needed, to other area resources and are encouraged to seek as much assistance, from as many stakeholders, as possible. STRIVE works with clients to complete a skills assessment and research occupations in demand, while offering other relevant career guidance, including improving client occupational, math, or literacy skills or offering assistance to obtain a high school diploma or GED. STRIVE sites are one-stop career centers that offer a variety of tools to help clients find a new job or a career, including job listings, career advice, workforce information, and an automated job match system. The core workshop is a blend of job-readiness, self-examination, goal setting, critical thinking, relationship building, and self-esteem training. STRIVE has added a financial literacy workshop to increase client money management skills.

Funding: STRIVE has diversified its funding and finances, from grants to direct tuition payments from sponsors, thereby leveraging resources to reach as many clients as possible annually.

STRIVE faith-based funders include:

The Brick Presbyterian Church The Church of the Heavenly Rest St. James Episcopal Church The Church at Point O' Woods

Staffing: STRIVE's staff are integral to the success of the program and STRIVE recruits, trains, and rewards staff who are well qualified and dedicated to the goals of the organization. In an effort to lead by example, about one-third of STRIVE staff members nationwide are also graduates of the program. All staff receive intensive training and continuous learning on effective interaction skills and on the technology necessary to deliver services.

Additional Information: STRIVE seeks to train participants within 4 weeks and have them secure paid employment soon after. Participants are trained to dress and act professionally, and STRIVE focuses on reinforcing personal skills, which include understanding computer hardware and functions, basic computer operations, conducting library and Internet research, and working with both Mac and PC software. In addition to the core program, STRIVE provides a broad range of other services based on specific needs and resources, either in-house or with partner agencies. These include support groups for women addressing key issues such as single parenting, domestic violence, and child care options while remaining independent; fatherhood training addressing emotional and financial issues associated with child support; mental health counseling, systematic mental health assessments, and long-term counseling when needed; youth development programs emphasizing attitudinal adjustment, self-respect, communication, and the importance of completing high school; and supported work experience, with a number of monitored work assignments and placements with temporary staffing services available to graduates before they enter the traditional labor market for strengthening skills and gaining solid work experience.


Tips to Implementation: Organizations aiming to replicate the STRIVE model, which is a unique combination of attitudinal and skills training, should identify specific potential participants, comprehensively measure client skills, match clients with potential positions, design and administer continuous assessments to ensure quality service delivery, track activities to help ensure service delivery, use networks to identify other potential partners, and provide mentorship and networking opportunities for clients.

Successes: STRIVE has been successful at increasing employability among clients by regularizing program outputs, including coordination of a two-year follow-up that ensures clients are successful in their new positions or assists clients in securing a position that more completely fits their skills. Clients in the core training workshop are assigned to a job developer who works with the client to map out a specific employment program and strategic plan to ensure the client is prepared and assigned to a job site in the shortest amount of time. STRIVE's supportive services and follow-up specialists offer clients a long-term commitment with continual assistance and communication during the first two years after graduation and occasional communication afterward.

Challenges: Challenges faced by STRIVE include limited action by clients to improve life circumstances, limited knowledge about specific industries, employer mistrust or negative impressions about STRIVE clients, and employer reticence to share information with other employers. Although working to build comprehensive networks of service, the available social infrastructure presents several challenges to effective implementation of the STRIVE model.

Other Lessons Learned: STRIVE has articulated a vision of a sustainable and competent workforce and recommends various strategic elements to ensure success for clients: monitoring workforce needs and economic trends in local communities; quickly and comprehensively identifying client competencies and developing and delivering relevant training and resources to clients; designing an integrated lifelong learning delivery system; conducting evaluation and research; and ensuring financial support. Also, STRIVE recommends that organizations create an interactive data-based Web site that connects and serves education agencies, businesses, employers, job seekers, and human services agencies; create and nurture a comprehensive network of education and social service providers able to respond to community-specific needs; and better address language and cultural barriers.


"There are no tools associated with this program."

The WorkKeys System


Program/Practice Name:The WorkKeys® System

Agency Name: ACT

Contact Information:

Phone: (800) WORKKEY (967-5539) workkeys@act.org www.act.org/workkeys

Type of Program/Practice: WorkKeys® is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce.


Program/Practice Description: WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system measuring "real world" skills employers believe are critical to job success. These skills are valuable for any occupation–skilled or professional– and at any level of education.

Components include:

Job Analysis (Profiling) Identify the skill requirements and WorkKeys skill levels an individual must have to perform successfully.

WorkKeys Assessments Measure the current skills of individuals in four key areas:

  • Communication Assessments: Business Writing, Listening for Understanding, and Reading for Information
  • Problem–Solving Assessments: Applied Mathematics, Applied Technology, Locating Information, and Workplace Observation
  • Interpersonal Skills Assessment: Teamwork
  • Personal Skills Assessments: Performance, Talent, and Fit


KeyTrain® is the complete interactive learning tool for career readiness skills. At its foundation is a targeted curriculum written specifically to help people master the applied workplace skills as defined by the WorkKeys® system. This core curriculum is complemented by diagnostic tools, soft skills curriculum, and a powerful reporting system to form a robust career readiness learning system.

Innovations and Results: WorkKeys links education and workforce partners within a community by offering a common language to help them communicate about job skill requirements needed to develop employees and build a better workforce.

The system is designed to:

  • Help instructors/educators identify gaps between student skills and employment needs
  • Develop more efficient teaching
  • Enable students to see a reason to take coursework seriously
  • Reduce turnover, overtime, and waste while increasing morale
  • Get the most efficiency from your training practices
  • Keep employers from moving entry–level jobs to other cities, states, or countries

The WorkKeys system is used by thousands of companies worldwide as a tool to help employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain the high–performance workforce necessary to compete successfully in today's global economy.

Case studies are available at http://www.act.org/workforce/case

Validity and Reliability: WorkKeys tests are valid and reliable. Technical manuals provide further information on validity and reliability and are available by contacting WorkKeys.

Costs: Sites interested in becoming testing centers should contact ACT.



"There are no tools associated with this program."