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Community Jobs/ Career Development

What is the Community Jobs (CJ) Program?

Community Jobs is a full-time (40 hours per week) WorkFirst activity that provides participants who have multiple barriers paid temporary employment.

Since 1998, WorkFirst participants have been able to benefit from Community Jobs in every county in Washington. Participants who enroll in this program have been able to gain valuable work experience, self-confidence, marketable skills and an avenue to permanent unsubsidezed employment.

Who is Community Jobs appropriate for?

CJ participants have an average of eight barriers to employment not including transportation and child care, such as: lack of work experience, lack of a high school diploma or GED, being a victim of domestic violence, identified mental health issues that warrant further assessment or treatment, alcohol or drug treatment or limited English language skills, etc.  This opportunity is for participants who need time to stabilize their lives while preparing to go to work.

Community Jobs is administered statewide by the Department of Commerce through contracts with 21 community-based organizations. Contractors develop temporary paid positions where participants work 20 hours per week at nonprofit organizations and public agencies. These work assignments provide opportunities for participants to gain job skills in a structured, supervised work environments. Participants are required to be co-enrolled in activities that increase their employability, such as education, job readiness, life skills or community service for a minimum of 10 hours per week in addition to their 20 hours p0er week of paid work experience. The community Jobs contractors also provide case management to ensure participants receive support to resolve issues and gain access to services that will lead to unsubsidized employment.


What is Career Development?

The Career Development program is an unpaid, long term, work experience program that is structured to provide core work activity for WorkFirst participants to coincide and support their education pathway for up to 12 months. The Career Development program establishes a worksite for the participant to obtain the specific skills, training, knowledge and experience necessary to obtain employment in the participant's chosen career field.

The Career Development program is designed to improve the employability of recipients not otherwise able to obtain employment without experience and must be supervised by a worksite supervisor daily. Placement into the Career Development program must take into account the participant's education and personal employment goals to determine an appropriate worksite.

Participants assessed and identified for a Career Development Program wourl be referred to their local community college to determine the education pathway. Simultaneously, participants would be referred to a contractor to begin establishing their volunteer worksite. Program elements could include the following:

  • An education certificate from the community college
  • Worksites that directly support the career goal and specific education track if applicable
  • Co-located worksites on campus whenever possible to limit the amount of traveling for the participant
  • Hours based on FLSA regulations related to unpaid volunteer work activities
  • Up to 12 months of continuous on-th-job training for the duration of their education plan
  • Monthly worksite evaluations from worksite supervisors to assess skill attainment
  • Monthly documentation of actual hours worked
  • Contractor coaching/support for work related issues
  • Peer mentoring activities


For more information please contact us. See our staff roster.

CJ Staff

CJ Staff



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