History of Workfirst Work Experience Program


The program was developed in conjunction with the National Employment Counseling Association and was honored by the American Public Human Services Association in a "Welfare Reform Programs that Work" category, in the late 1990s when it was initiated in the Millville Employment Office. Unfortunately, that home page on the Internet was lost after the Millville Office was closed (the staff was consumed by the Vineland (nearby city) One Stop System. The Millville program had 15 total participants over the course of two year. All, but two, found worthwhile employment.

A similar home page was created in Wildwood using Homestead.com. Unfortunately, Homestead which was free, decided to charge money for anything over 1 page and Dawn Green's page was lost. Dawn was the first Wildwood participant and deserves a lot of credit for helping develop the Wildwood Program. She left to have a baby. She was pregnant during our time together. She is now working.

How does the program works?

Individuals on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families are referred to the One Stop Career Center for an Interview. Community Work Experience (CWEP) is one of the options open for participants needing to fulfill a 30 hour a week work requirement to get their monthly TANF check. Interviews with the potential participants are treated as a real job interview. They are informed that Customer Service is the number one product in the office. All customers are to be treated with dignity. Expectations concerning Work Ethic are discussed. All employees are expected to come to work on time, every day, get along with co-workers & learn to perform their job well. We look at the Program Home Page & discuss the goals of the program.

"The purpose of the Work First / Work Experience Program in the Wildwood and Burlington County One Stop Career Centers is to develop the office skills of participants and increase each individual's worth in the marketplace.

In other words, participants hear about expectations and learn what the program is offering. Then they are asked if they want to participate. If we make a deal, the Social Services office or TANF Caseworker is informed that we are interested. The participant will sign a contract with their Case Worker specifying days and hours of work. Before the participant leaves the One Stop Career Center, they have the manager's business card and have agreed to call if there is any chance of being late or absent, no matter what the reason. We have a telephone number and address, in case the participant fails to keep this agreement (some are better than others). We try to be tolerant and flexible when they make a mistake. However, we believe in honest communications, have high expectations and explain why some behavior is acceptable and other behavior is not.

All staff participate in the training of participants. Participants are able to learn at their skill level from reception, answering the telephone and delivering customer service to technical computer operation. Ordering Office Supplies, Maintaining Records, Learning Word Perfect, Microsoft Word, Excell, Power Point and other software is all possible. Participants learn data input, create a personal web site and sign up for an e-mail account. We utilize the Free services available at:

Both sites are easy to learn to use.

Participants formulate short term and long term goals and put them on their home pages. They learn how to search for information that either holds interest or will help them attain goals.

Participants will learn how to participate on a team and receive guidance from all the staff on doing whatever is necessary to operate a healthy, functioning One Stop Career Center.

Links to other sites on the Web

Program Home Page
National Employment Counseling Association
NJ Association for Spiritual, Ethical, & Religious Values in Counseling
Workforce New Jersey Public Information Network
Burlington County One Stop Career Center
Workforce New Jersey One Stop Career Center in Wildwood