About the Division of Workforce Development
The New Jersey’s welfare reform program, WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ), emphasizes work as the first step toward building a new life and a brighter future. The Hudson County Division of Workforce Development’s goal is to help the citizens of Hudson County get off welfare, secure employment and become self-sufficient, through job training, education and work activities.
The Hudson County Division of Workforce Development works along with the Hudson County Division of Welfare to provide those WFNJ and SNAP recipients that are required to participate maintain their assistance by placing them into “to-work” activities. Through an array of services, participants can obtain education, occupational training, job placement, and post-assistance services that will lead to and support self-sufficiency.
Here is how it works:
Once a case is granted assistance it is determined if there are requirements to participate into a Workforce “to-work” activity. A case manager will assess all eligible participants’ employment, educational, and social history. Working with the participant, the case manager will identify barriers and goals to determine a career path.
The Division of Workforce Development has contracted schools and training centers that provide remedial education to occupational training in fields of in-demand employment. If the participant selects a county contracted school, training will be provided at no cost to the participant. Additionally, the case manager will provide supports, such as transportation and childcare, if needed, to cover these expenses while attending the “to-work” activity.
After receiving occupational training with a County contracted school, the school will attempt to help with job placement. Once employment is attained, some of the earned income is not counted towards the cash assistance for a transitional period. The cash case may not close immediately, during this time there are other benefits that can be availed.
Supplemental Work Support
If employed and working at least 20 hours per week for at least the past four months, and still receiving a partial cash grant, participants may be eligible to receive $200 per month for up to 24 months. To be eligible, a case must have been on WFNJ/TANF for at least six months and agree to voluntarily close the case. This program is designed to support efforts to stay employed and stay off welfare. To take advantage of the Supplemental Work Support program, one must agree to close their welfare case. Doing so brings the added benefit of “stopping the clock” on your five-year lifetime limit on welfare benefits.
(Contact your case manager)
Career Advancement Voucher Program
After a participant’s case has been closed for four months due to earnings, and they are still employed, they may be eligible to receive a continuing educational voucher towards training to further their education/skills to improve their employment situation.
(Contact CAVP unit, 201-420-3000 ext. 2659)
Transitional Support Services help in supporting a family through the challenge of getting a job. In order to keep a job, one needs reliable and affordable child care, transportation, health insurance and more. Work First New Jersey offers a number of benefits and services when one leaves welfare for a job or agrees to close their case. These are time-limited supports intended to help individuals stay employed and move closer to an independent life.
NJ SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)
As a WFNJ participant, there may be eligibility to receive NJ SNAP benefits to help pay for food after a case closes due to employment. NJ SNAP is separate from WFNJ, but the county welfare agency will help determine whether one can get NJ SNAP benefits.
Other Workforce Development Programs and Units
Supportive Assistance to Individuals and Families (SAIF)
Supportive Assistance to Individuals and Families (SAIF) was developed to create a safety net for those families and individuals who exhausted their five-year time limit on welfare (Work First New Jersey [WFNJ]) and do not meet the criteria for an exemption to the time limit.
The SAIF program couples intensive case management with a continuation of the service package available to WFNJ recipients. This means that if the client continues to work or participate in a work activity, participants may receive up to 24 months of cash benefits, plus services such as child care and transportation. If needed, other services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment may also be available. A case manager will keep in close contact with their client – through phone calls, visits to the office and even visits to the client’s worksite or home to ensure that progress continues.
Early Employment Initiative (EEI)
The Early Employment Initiative offers assistance and support to those cash benefit applicants in finding employment before a cash case is granted. If employment is found, it saves time being used against the five-year lifetime limit on welfare benefits.
(Contact EEI Unit, 201-420-3000, ext. 2659)
TANF Initiative for Parents (TIP)
The NJ Healthy Families – TANF Initiative for Parents (TIP) was born out of the Child Welfare Reform effort, to help last trimester and new parents with children under 12 months old who are on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) improve their parenting skills and encourage their child’s well-being and healthy development. TIP offers parents the opportunity to choose between having a TIP representative come directly to their home to work one-on-one with them and participate in community sessions at their local One-Stop Career Center. Or they can choose a combination of the two. Through its extended support network, TIP creates a training plan that best suits each parent’s situation, providing them with guidance on good nutrition, available medical, and child care services, resume writing, job interview skills and more. Parents are also given the opportunity to share their experiences with families like themselves and are referred to other services they may need.
(Contact the TYIP unit 201-369-5205, ext. 3708)
Community Work Experience Program (CWEP)
Community Work Experience Program (CWEP) is a “to-work” activity that provides work and training to enable the recipient to adjust to, and learn how to function in, an employment setting. CWEP placements are directed towards organizations and agencies directly involved in useful public service areas such as health, recreation, child and adult care, education, environmental protection, social services, etc.
(Contact the CWEP unit 201-420-3000, ext. 2151)