Work First

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What is Work First?

Work First is a temporary financial assistance program for families. It is our goal to help the applicants/recipients become gainfully employed in as short a time as possible. A cash benefit and other services are provided to meet a client's basic needs while the client is seeking employment. Work First consists of two components:

CASH:  To receive cash benefits, a family must meet established criteria:

  • Have a child in your home under the age of 18
  • You or your children must be a U.S. Citizen or qualified alien.
  • Have a certain degree of kinship to the child, or have legal custody or guardianship of a child.
  • Cooperate with the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
  • Cooperate with Workfirst Employment Services
  • Be income and reserve eligible. For questions about eligibility, please call and speak with a Work First worker at 919-542-2759.

graphic representing contract

EMPLOYMENT SERVICES: North Carolina's Work First program is based on the philosophy that all people have the responsibility to their families and the community to work and provide for their children. The family and the employment coordinator develop a binding contract, Mutual Responsibility Agreement, that details their plans for getting off welfare and commits them to taking care of their family. It also provides services provided by the Work First program to help them reach their goals and obtain self-sufficiency. Each participant is required to participate in at least 35 hours per week of work, job search, training or volunteer work. Employment Services are specially designed to help families get and maintain a job. Employment Services should assist each family to accomplish the following:

  • Increase personal responsibility
  • Remove barriers to employment, such as offering assistance with childcare and transportation to assist in obtaining employment
  • Secure employment (See also NC Employment Security Commission)
  • Reduce long-term dependence on welfare programs  

Job Retention

In Chatham County, a job retention program is offered once employment goals are reached to help ease the transition off of Work First. A Work First Case Manager will continue to assist with job related needs for the next six months. This could include, but is not limited to: assistance with car insurance or other transportation needs, uniforms, one-time only assistance with deposits or utility expenses or rent.

Chatham County also offers a job retention bonus for staying employed three and six months after Work First ends.

Proposed Work First Plan for 2010-11: Provide Public Input

Chatham County Social Services has prepared a proposed Work First Plan for 2010-11.Click here to view the plan.  If you would like to provide feedback on the plan, call 919-642-6919 or email.

For More Information:  Call 919-542-2759.

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