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 and critical thinking skills
  • Stress management
  • Financial literacy
  • Developing effective communication skills
  • Developing successful study skills.

In addition to learning the practical content of the Life Skill Modules, students also learn:

  • Mechanics of taking an online class in Angel, a non-graded, individually paced environment
  • Cornell note-taking style
  • Develop a mental model of themselves as a successful student
Training to Enhance Skills and Employability:
  • Computer Literacy
  • Keyboarding
  • Software applications
  • Web-based training that addresses gaps in basic education
WorkFirst Financial Aid Assistance:
  • Funding tuition
  • Fees and books for approved training pathways


  • Literacy or language instruction: Adult Basic Education, GED prep, English as a Second Language.
  • Developmental Education: Pre-requisites/basic education required for enrollment into certificate programs.
  • Customized Job Skill Training: Short-term training customized to specific employment sectors such s Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy, Commercial Truck Driving.
  • Workforce Training: Professional-Technical training backed by a one-year certificate.