Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Early Learning & Human Services Committee

HB 1566

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning the definition of work activity for the purposes of the WorkFirst program.

Sponsors: Representatives Pellicciotti, McDonald, Stambaugh, Gregerson, Ortiz-Self, Peterson, Riccelli, Stanford, Stonier, Kilduff, Holy, Ormsby, Haler, Bergquist and Dolan.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Extends the limit on vocational education training under WorkFirst from 12 months to 24 months.

  • Requires the Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee to review the impact of the extended vocational training time.

Hearing Date: 2/3/17

Staff: Dawn Eychaner (786-7135).


WorkFirst Program.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal block grant that provides temporary cash assistance, subsidized childcare, and work programs for families. WorkFirst is Washington's TANF program. With limited exceptions, adult recipients of TANF benefits must participate in one or more WorkFirst activities. These activities may include paid and unpaid employment based training programs; career development; community service; work skills assessment and job hunting training; and up to 12 months of participation in vocational training programs.

Federal law requires states to meet a work participation rate for adult TANF recipients. States not meeting the work participation rate may be subject to penalty. For the purposes of calculating the state's work participation rate, individuals participating in work activities may receive up to 12 months of vocational education training.

Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee.

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) consists of 16 legislative members and employs the legislative auditor. The JLARC conducts performance audits, program evaluations, special studies, and sunset reviews.

Summary of Bill:

A WorkFirst participant may participate in up to 24 months of vocational education training.

The JLARC must review the impact of extending the vocational training limit. The JLARC review must include:

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on January 23, 2017.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.