Choices Guide – B-300: Assessment & Employment Planning

B-301: Purpose of Assessment

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff performs initial and ongoing assessments to determine the employability and job retention needs of Choices participants, including wage advancement and career development needs.

Boards must ensure that assessments are provided to the following:

An introduction to Choices services is generally provided to Choices eligibles during the initial EPS. EPSs are generally held weekly or as often as needed.

Boards must ensure that employment planning includes conducting assessments by:

If Workforce Solutions Office staff identifies higher-than-average barriers, referrals can be made to pre-employment and postemployment services offered by community-based and other organizations.

If the skills assessment indicates a Choices participant requires job-specific training for placement in a job that pays wages that equal or exceed a Board’s identified self-sufficiency wage, the Board must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff, to the extent funds are available and to the extent allowed by the Chapter 811 Choices rules PDF, places the Choices participant in vocational educational training activities or job skills training activities that are designed to improve employment and wage outcomes and job retention.

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B-302: Initial and Ongoing Assessments

Initial and ongoing assessments involve the following:

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B-303: Elements of Assessment

Boards must ensure that the following elements are part of initial and ongoing assessment of Choices participants:

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B-304: Potential Barriers

(Revision 1/2017)

Boards must ensure that assessments identify Choices eligibles with higher-than-average barriers to employment, as defined by the Board. If such barriers are identified, Boards may specify that Workforce Solutions Office staff makes referrals to pre-employment and postemployment services offered by community-based and other organizations.

Boards must ensure that the following potential barriers to employment are considered in the planning and assessment process:

B-304.a: Good Cause

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff grants good cause to Choices participants who are unable to participate in Choices activities because of personal circumstances or issues that are potential barriers to participation.

Boards must ensure that good cause determination for Choices participants is:

Boards must ensure that good cause is granted to sanctioned families and conditional applicants during the period of demonstrated cooperation, if warranted.

If good cause is granted, Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff:

Boards must ensure that no medical information is documented in TWIST Counselor Notes.

Boards must be aware of requirements for the storage and use of disability-related and medical information. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that any medical records or history of a participant must be collected and maintained on separate forms and kept in separate medical files.

Additionally, 29 CFR §32.15(d) requires that medical information or history be collected and maintained on separate forms that must be kept confidential, as follows:

Information obtained in accordance with this section as to the medical condition or history of the applicant shall be collected and maintained on separate forms that shall be accorded confidentiality as medical records, except that:

B-304.b: Reasons for Good Cause

Boards must be aware of the following:

The following circumstances may constitute a reason for good cause:

B-304.c: Family Violence

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff refers Choices eligible individuals identified as possible victims of family violence to an individual or agency that specializes in issues involving family violence.

Boards must ensure that no less than four hours of family violence training is provided to staff who:

B-304.d: Good Cause Determinations

Boards must ensure that good cause is:

Boards must ensure that, while the Choices participant is in good cause status, support services are discontinued, except child care, unless support services are needed to address barriers that resulted in the good cause determination.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff makes regular contact with a Choices participant during a good cause period in order to:

Note:            Choices participants are counted in the participation rate denominator during a good cause period.

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B-305: Literacy Assessment

An assessment is required for Choices participants who are the following:

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff:

Literacy assessment scores do not expire so retesting is not required, although individuals may be retested to determine whether there is an improvement in basic skills after participation in educational components.

If the literacy assessment is readministered and new scores are entered into the TWIST Assessment/Testing tab, Boards must be aware that a change in state time limits for the Choices participant can result.

Boards must be aware that Workforce Solutions Office staff is not required to administer literacy assessment to the following:

The following are exceptions to this rule:

Note:            If the customer is co-enrolled in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth services and is found to be basic skills deficient, retesting is required.

B-305.a: SUPERA®

SUPERA®is a Spanish-language achievement test with results based on the same scale as English-language results. SUPERA® uses standard Spanish, avoids regionalism and ambiguous words and is appropriate and relevant to Spanish-speaking individuals from different cultural backgrounds.

Boards must ensure the following:

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B-306: Assessment of Support Services Needs

During the assessment process, Workforce Solutions Office staff might determine that support services are necessary for the individual to participate in Choices activities.

Boards must ensure that any identified support services are provided. If support services are needed and not provided, the participant cannot be penalized for noncompliance.

Choices support services include, but are not limited to, the following:

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B-307: Family Employment Plan

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff develops Family Employment Plan (FEPs) within the parameters of Choices and the work first philosophy. Work first focuses on immediate attachment to the labor force and on postemployment services to help individuals reach the goal of self-sufficiency.

Boards must ensure that FEPs are developed for the following:

Boards must ensure that FEPs are:

  • Jointly developed with the Choices participant
  • Based on an assessment of the individual’s skills and abilities
  • Mutually agreed upon by the individual and Workforce Solutions Office staff
  • Regularly evaluated and updated as needed

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff discusses and explains the content of the FEP.

Boards must be aware that if participants fail to comply with the terms of the FEP, the participants are subject to a full family sanction. Boards must ensure that the FEP:

B-307.a: Developing the Family Employment Plan

Choices participants and Workforce Solutions Office staff share responsibility in three areas for developing the FEP:

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff considers state and federal time limits when developing the FEP. When scheduling activities, take into consideration the amount of time needed to complete FEP objectives.

B-307.b: Required Information

Boards may develop their own FEPs.

However, Boards must ensure that FEPs include the following:

B-307.c: Serving Individuals with Disabilities

Boards may use Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Form H1836 A or B (Medical Release/Physician’s Statement) to develop a more comprehensive FEP for disabled individuals who have reduced work requirements.

Boards must ensure all pertinent information is documented in The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST) under the H1836A/B tab in the TANF History section.

Form H1836A/B can be used as part of the assessment process when developing FEPs.

Boards must ensure that sanctions are not requested for Choices participants who participate the full number of hours indicated on HHSC Form H1836 A/B. 

TWIST tab Form H1836A/B provides the following fields for entering physician-identified information into TWIST:

Boards must be aware of the following:

Reduced Work Requirement

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff checks the Reduced Work Requirement box on TWIST tab Form H1836A/B for any individual with a reduced work requirement.

Single parents who meet the requirements in B-401.g, Teen Heads of Household, can meet the lesser of the two work requirements if they qualify for both.

Special provisions for two-parent families include the following:

B-307.d: Choices Program Requirement for Two-Parent Families

Boards must ensure that both mandatory adults in a two-parent family sign a Choices Program Family Requirement form acknowledging that they:

Boards must ensure that the Choices program family requirement distributes the required hours of participation between one or both adults in accordance with the household’s participation agreement for compliance with Choices program requirements.

If the program requirements are not met, the family will be subject to a full family sanction.

Boards must ensure that both adults:

Boards may use the sample E-120, Choices Program Family Requirement Form (see B-2000) or develop a local form.

Boards must ensure that the Choices Program Family Requirement form states the following:

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff develops an FEP and completes a Choices Program Family Requirement form for two-parent families with the involvement of both adults. During the development of the FEP, Boards must ensure that both adults agree on who will satisfy the family’s participation requirement.

B-307.e: Evaluation of the Family Employment Plan

Boards must ensure that evaluation of the FEP is an ongoing process in which decisions are made about an individual’s ability to gain employment and allowable work activities providing the skills or experience necessary to assist the participant in obtaining employment are identified and added.

Elements to be considered in an ongoing evaluation and modification of the FEP include the following:

Ongoing evaluation means that family employment planning begins with the EPS and continues until Workforce Solutions Office staff closes the Choices case. Workforce Solutions Office staff revises the FEP as activities and schedules change or as additional work-related services or support services are needed, based on an ongoing assessment and evaluation of the progress being made.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff evaluates and updates FEPs for all Choices participants, applicants and former recipients who volunteer to participate in Choices, as necessary.

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