Workfare at a Glance

Workfare is an essential feature of Colorado’s Employment First (EF) program. It provides opportunities for participants to maintain a volunteer work history, expands options to meet program requirements, provides a commitment of a work activity (supported by transportation resources), and allows a meaningful contribution to the community.

County agencies have agreements with a number of nonprofit work sites where EF participants can volunteer and “work off” the dollar value of their monthly food assistance benefit allotments. Savings realized in a reduction of food benefits resulting from an EF participant finding paid employment is federally matched 1.5 times, and that match goes directly to the county.  This is the hallmark of Workfare — increased revenue at the county level that offsets program expenses or may supplement costs of other county obligations, including general county services.

It’s a win-win situation that supports both the participant and the county. Dynamic and credible partnerships provide real employment experiences through volunteer work until participants can secure permanent employment.