The WorkFirst program assists recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to meet their goals and provide well-being for their family. WorkFirst is a collaborative effort with families, DSHS case managers, and the college to provide education, employment and training opportunities.
How can WorkFirst support me?
- Your school hours can be counted towards your WorkFirst activity requirements
- WorkFirst participation may qualify you for reduced-cost childcare through DSHS
- Limited funding for tuition and books is available under some circumstances
- Referrals to on-campus and off-campus resources
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to apply?
- Qualify for TANF cash assistance and complete all DSHS reviews by the DSHS-assigned due date
- Request a referral from your case worker to Pierce College
- Pursue a professional/technical associate degree or certificate from Pierce College
- Complete the WorkFirst intake process with a Workforce staff member
- After registering for classes, complete a WorkFirst plan which outlines your participation expectations
What am I committing to?
- Complete and submit a WorkFirst plan each quarter that you are enrolled
- Submit weekly attendance forms to the WorkFirst department
- Report any absences, concerns about progress, or schedule changes as applicable
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA)
Should I apply for TANF before applying for WorkFirst?
Yes. Apply for TANF and complete your DSHS orientation first. Once you’re approved, please notify your case worker that you are enrolled or interested in enrolling at Pierce College. They can send us a referral for us to work with you.
Are students pursuing a Direct Transfer degree (DTA) or Bachelor’s degree eligible for WorkFirst?
Unfortunately, no. If you have questions about activities that will meet your participation requirements, please contact your DSHS case worker.
Does WorkFirst pay for _______?
In most cases, DSHS will pay for the support services you need to succeed in school. Depending on availability, this may include DSHS-supplied gas cards and bus passes to keep you coming to campus.
Does the daycare at Pierce College accept DSHS childcare assistance?
Yes. To learn more, visit the Child Development Centers web page.
If I receive Tribal TANF, am I eligible for services through the Pierce College WorkFirst department?
No. If you receive Tribal TANF, please contact your SPIPA case manager to request support services.
Where can I find resources and information about childcare assistance?
- Washington Connection: Apply online for childcare and other services. Also provides information on support resources available throughout Washington State.
- Childcare Aware: Search for childcare providers and learn about other resources related to childcare.
- Washington State Division of Social and Health Services (DSHS): Find a nearby DSHS location.
- 211 Website: Find local resources for support services not provided by DSHS or Pierce College.