2.9.2  Up-front Job Search Activities as a Condition of Eligibility Allowable Up-front Job Search Activities Up-front Job Search Time Frames Results of the Up-front Job Search Employment During Up-front Job Search


The goal of up-front job search activities is to rapidly connect the applicant to sustainable employment.

Not all applicants are appropriate for up-front job search. When deciding whether to assign up-front job search activities as a condition of eligibility, the RS and the FEP must use the best information available. This includes information gathered through the informal assessment process, the educational needs assessment, career assessment, and any additional vocational evaluation/assessments or formal assessments obtained to date. (See Chapter 5)

Assignment of up-front job search activities must be made on a case-by-case basis. W-2 agencies are prohibited from assigning up-front job search to all W-2 applicants without regard to each individual’s circumstances. In two-parent households, either or both parent(s) applying for W-2 assistance may be assigned to up-front job search activities, depending on their individual circumstances.

Below are some characteristics of an applicant who is likely to be appropriate for up-front job search:

·        Has a recent employment history;

·        Possesses skills marketable in current labor market;

·        Has or can have child care in place;

·        Has stable housing;

·        Has access to reliable transportation.

Below are some characteristics of an applicant who is unlikely to be appropriate for up-front job search:

·        Meets the characteristics of a W-2 T placement, e.g., has a personal medical condition, e.g., physical or mental health conditions including cognitive limitations, that makes the applicant unable to work or is caring for a disabled family member;

·        Has not ever been employed or has not been employed recently or has had a string of failed employment;

·        Is in a domestic abuse situation;

·        Is homeless and is not ready to find immediate work (some homeless parents are able and eager to find employment);

·        Does not have and does not have ready access to child care and/or reliable transportation;

·        Is 18- or 19-years-old with no HSD or GED; and

·        Is otherwise unprepared to begin work in the next 12 working days. Allowable Up-front Job Search Activities

The up-front job search activities include:

1.             UE – Up-front Employment Search

2.             UC – Up-front Career Planning

3.             UR – Up-front Job Readiness / Motivation

(See the Activity Codes Appendix for definition of these activity codes)

The W-2 agency must record the assignment of up-front job search activities on the W-2 Up-Front Requirements CWW page. In addition, the W-2 agency must develop an individualized EP for all applicants assigned to up-front job search activities.

The W-2 agency must assist the applicant in their up-front job search activities. Some examples include:

·        Conducting career assessment and career exploration activities that will help match individuals with appropriate job leads;

·        Conducting job development activities that concentrate on soliciting job openings, marketing individuals to employers and securing job interviews;

·        Providing assistance with development of resumes and completion of job applications;

·        Assigning employment search that is structured to meet the needs of the individual. This may include independent job search and job club activities that give job seekers an opportunity to discuss successes and difficulties encountered during daily job search, share job leads and provide group support;

·        Providing job leads to businesses that are hiring individuals with skills possessed by the applicant;

·        Staying in communication with the individual throughout the job search to review progress and offer support.

Simply assigning an applicant to fill out a job log without any assistance is not an appropriate assignment of up-front job search activities. Up-front Job Search Time Frames

For individuals who are determined ready for unsubsidized employment, assignment to up-front job search and job readiness activities may be appropriate under any of the following conditions:

1.             An individual has filed a W-2 application with a W-2 agency and has no open W-2 case in that W-2 agency or any other W-2 agency;

2.             A participant has a W-2 case that is pending closed in CARES due to eligibility reasons and his or her W-2 placement has been end-dated and he or she subsequently contacts the same W-2 agency or a different W-2 agency to request assistance from W-2;

EXAMPLE: Laura’s CMC placement ended on June 5th and she returns to work. Her FEP notifies her that case management follow-up services are available, but Laura declines. The FEP enters Laura’s earned income and changes the request for W-2 to No in CWW and ends the W-2 placement on screen WPWW. W-2 eligibility is pending closed for June 30th. On June 25th, Laura notifies the W-2 agency that she lost her job and submits a new request for W-2. Based on its assessment of Laura’s work history, education and employment skills, the agency determines that it is appropriate to assign Laura to up-front job search before making a new placement determination.

3.             A participant relocates into or out of Milwaukee County or between balance of state W-2 agencies.    

The assignment of up-front job search activities may take place while the applicant is waiting to meet with the FEP and while the FEP is making the eligibility and placement decisions. The FEP must not extend the application process past the 12 working days (five days to meet with the FEP and seven days for the FEP to make an eligibility determination and placement) to accommodate a lengthier job search. (See 1.4.4)

W-2 agencies must not assign up-front job search activities under any of the following conditions:

1.             A participant has continued ongoing W-2 eligibility in one agency. This includes circumstances where a participant’s CMC placement is ending, she is unemployed and she meets eligibility criteria for a different cash assistance placement.

2.             A CMF or CMF+ participant contacts the FEP to request a paid W-2 placement because his or her employment has ended.

3.             An individual is pregnant and applying for a CMC placement or an ARP placement.

4.             An individual is an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer.  

5.             A participant moves from one Milwaukee W-2 geographical area to another Milwaukee W-2 geographical area and neither W-2 eligibility nor the W-2 placement has ended.

6.             A participant moves from one county to another county where both counties operate under one W-2 agency. Results of the Up-front Job Search

The FEP determines, on a case-by-case basis, whether the applicant has made a good faith effort to obtain employment by completing assigned up-front job search activities.

Throughout the application period, the FEP should be checking in with the applicant to determine how the up-front job search activities are going. If the applicant is not completing the assigned activities, the FEP must make attempts to discuss the situation with the applicant and determine if any barriers exists. If barriers are identified that make the applicant unable to find employment in the application time frame, the FEP must end up-front job search activities.

If no barriers are identified and the applicant does not provide good cause for failing to meet the up-front job search requirements, the FEP may deny the application. (See 11.3.1) Employment During Up-front Job Search

If an applicant finds unsubsidized employment during up-front job search, the FEP must place the applicant in the CMF placement or the prorated CSJ placement. The FEP cannot place the applicant in CMF+ because only participants in a CSJ, W-2 T, or TMP placement may be placed in CMF+.

If the applicant is working in unsubsidized employment for a total of 30 hours or more per week, the FEP must offer to place the applicant in CMF. If the applicant cannot obtain employment verification immediately, a FEP may use a participant’s verbal statement to make the CMF placement, develop the EP, and assign case management activities. (See In order to be placed in a CMF placement, the applicant must meet nonfinancial eligibility requirements. The FEP may exclude income and assets when determining CMF placement eligibility. (See 3.1 and

If the applicant is working in unsubsidized employment less than 30 hours per week with limitations to increasing his or her work hours, the FEP must offer to place the individual in a prorated CSJ. The FEP must first verify that the applicant has actually begun work and verify the wages and the number of expected hours worked per week prior to making a prorated CSJ placement. (See 4.1.3) In order to be placed in a prorated CSJ placement, the applicant must meet other W-2 nonfinancial and financial eligibility requirements. (See Chapters 2 and 3 and

Note: Case closure policies in Section 11.5.1 for failing to verify eligibility information do not apply to W-2 applicants. The case closure policies only apply to W-2 participants in open and ongoing W-2 cases.


EXAMPLE 1:  Joseph has a history of employment as a marble finisher; however, his employer of five (5) years went out of business. Joseph has a high school diploma, a valid driver’s license, and owns a vehicle. He meets with the FEP on the fourth working day of up-front job search and informs the FEP that he had an interview with a local manufacturing company and was offered a full-time position starting the following business day. Joseph informs the FEP of his employment and the employment start date, and the FEP proceeds with an informal assessment resulting in few to no known barriers to employment identified. After running eligibility, the FEP determines that Joseph is appropriate for CMF because Joseph meets all of the nonfinancial eligibility requirements.



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