WorkFirst Program


WorkFirst is Washington’s temporary cash assistance (TANF) program for low-income families. The goal of the WorkFirst program is to help TANF recipients build a pathway that can lead them out of poverty and toward economic security. WorkFirst assists low-income parents in gaining skills necessary to compete in today’s labor market in order to obtain self-sufficiency through living wage employment.

Working with local partners including Department of Social & Health Services, Employment Security, and Blue Mountain Action Council, Walla Walla Community College’s WorkFirst team receives referrals, develops education and training plans, and optimizes available resources to provide educational services and workforce training to eligible students.

Our Goal: Meet students where they are and develop a plan that gets them where they need to be to attain their education and career goals in order to support their families.

Our Process: Educational and transitions planning that includes skills assessment, career assessments, and educational assessments in development of an individualized plan that guides the student through short-term and long-term career and life-planning goals, and provides personal support and encouragement.

Services include:
  • WorkFirst Life Skills Forum: courses in essential life skills such as Career/Life/Educational Planning, Time Management, Developing Problem Solving & Critical Thinking Skills, Stress Management, Financial Literacy, Developing Effective Communication Skills, and Developing Successful Study Skills.
    • In addition to learning the practical content of the Life Skills Modules, students also learn the mechanics of taking an on-line class in Angel in a non-graded, individually paced environment, they learn Cornell note-taking style, and develop a mental model of themselves as a successful student.
  • Training to enhance skills and employability: computer literacy, keyboarding, software applications, and web-based training that addresses gaps in basic education.
  • WorkFirst Financial Aid Assistance funding tuition, fees and books for approved training pathways including:
    • Literacy or language instruction: Adult Basic Education, GED prep, English as a Second Language.
    • Developmental education: prerequisites / basic education required for enrollment into certificate programs.
    • Customized Job Skills Training: short-term training customized to specific employment sectors such as Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy, Commercial Truck Driving.
    • Workforce Training: Professional-Technical training backed by a one-year certificate.

For additional information contact:

Walla Walla campus:
  • Debra Erikson, WorkFirst Education & Training (509) 527-1865 office: 324
  • Magdalena Moulton WorkFirst Education & Training (509) 524-4790 office: 331a
Clarkston campus:
  • Chad Miltenberger, Clarkston Student Services (509) 758-1711