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WorkFirst—Vocational education.

(1) What is vocational education?
Vocational education is training that leads to a degree or certificate in a specific occupation, not to result in a baccalaureate or advanced degree unless otherwise indicated below, and is offered by an accredited:
(a) Public and private technical college or school;
(b) Community college;
(c) Tribal college; or
(d) For customized job skills training (formerly known as preemployment training), community based organizations.
(2) Vocational education may include:
(a) Customized job skills training;
(b) High-wage/high-demand training;
(c) Approved homework and study activities associated with the educational activity; and/or
(d) Remedial/developmental education, prerequisites, basic education and/or English as a second language training deemed a necessary part of the vocational education program.
(3) What is customized job skills training?
Customized job skills training helps you learn skills you need for an identified entry level job that pays more than average entry level wages.
(a) Customized job skills training is an acceptable activity when an employer or industry commits to hiring or giving hiring preference to WorkFirst participants who successfully complete customized job skills training.
(b) You can find out about current customized job skills training opportunities by asking your employment services counselor, your case manager or staff at your local community and technical college.
(4) What is high-wage/high-demand training?
(a) There are two types of high-wage/high-demand (HWHD) full-time training options for TANF recipients to complete a certificate or degree that will lead to employment in a high-wage/high-demand occupation:
(i) Information technology, health care or other professional-technical programs: This option allows you to start and finish a one-year or shorter state community or technical college training program in the information technology, health care fields or other professional-technical programs that meet high-wage/high-demand criteria; and/or
(ii) Certificate/degree completion: This option allows you to finish up the last year of any certificate or degree program, not to exceed a baccalaureate degree, in a high-wage/high-demand field on an exception basis. The high-wage/high-demand criteria for this option is based on median income and high-demand occupations within the local labor market as determined by employment security department.
(b) For both types of HWHD training, the training can be approved one-time only (barring an approved exception to policy).
(c) To qualify for HWHD training, you must also:
(i) Meet all of the prerequisites for the course;
(ii) Obtain the certificate or degree within twelve calendar months;
(iii) Participate full time in the training program and make satisfactory progress;
(iv) Work with WorkFirst staff during the last quarter of training for job placement; and
(v) Return to job search once you complete the educational program if still unemployed.
(5) When can vocational education be included in my individual responsibility plan?
We may add vocational education to your individual responsibility plan for up to twelve months if:
(a) Your comprehensive evaluation shows you need this education to become employed or get a better job and you participate full time in vocational education or combine vocational education with any approved WorkFirst work activity; or
(b) You are in an internship or practicum for up to twelve months that is paid or unpaid and required to complete a course of vocational training or to obtain a license or certificate in a high demand program; or
(c) You have limited English proficiency and you lack job skills that are in demand for entry level jobs in your area; and the vocational education program is the only way that you can acquire these skills (because there is no available work experience, community service or on-the-job training that can teach you these skills); or
(d) You are in the pregnancy to employment pathway and your comprehensive evaluation shows vocational education would help you find and keep employment. (See WAC 388-310-1450.)
(6) Can I get help with paying the costs of vocational education?
WorkFirst may pay for the costs of your vocational education, such as tuition or books, for up to twelve months, if vocational education is in your individual responsibility plan and there is no other way to pay them. You may also get help with paying your child care costs through the working connections child care program. (See chapter 388-290 [170-290] WAC for the working connections child care program rules.)
[Statutory Authority: 45 C.F.R. 260, 42 U.S.C. 601, chapters 74.08A and 74.12 RCW, RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.08.090, and 74.04.057. WSR 09-14-019, § 388-310-1000, filed 6/22/09, effective 7/23/09. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.08.090. WSR 08-07-046, § 388-310-1000, filed 3/14/08, effective 5/1/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. WSR 06-08-048, § 388-310-1000, filed 3/30/06, effective 5/1/06. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. WSR 02-15-067, § 388-310-1000, filed 7/11/02, effective 8/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050. WSR 01-15-009, § 388-310-1000, filed 7/6/01, effective 8/6/01; WSR 99-10-027, § 388-310-1000, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99; WSR 98-23-037, § 388-310-1000, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; WSR 97-20-129, § 388-310-1000, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]
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