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256J.52 Assessments; plans.

Subdivision 1. Application limited to certain participants. This section applies to participants receiving MFIP assistance who are not exempt under section 256J.56, and to caregivers who volunteer for employment and training services.

Subd. 2. Initial assessment. (a) The job counselor must, with the cooperation of the participant, assess the participant's ability to obtain and retain employment. This initial assessment must include a review of the participant's education level, prior employment or work experience, transferable work skills, and existing job markets.

(b) In assessing the participant, the job counselor must determine if the participant needs refresher courses for professional certification or licensure, in which case, the job search plan under subdivision 3 must include the courses necessary to obtain the certification or licensure, in addition to other work activities, provided the combination of the courses and other work activities are at least for 40 hours per week.

(c) If a participant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the county agency that lack of proficiency in English is a barrier to obtaining suitable employment, the job counselor must include participation in an intensive English as a second language program if available or otherwise a regular English as a second language program in the individual's employment plan under subdivision 5. Lack of proficiency in English is not necessarily a barrier to employment.

(d) The job counselor may approve an education or training plan, and postpone the job search requirement, if the participant has a proposal for an education program which:

(1) can be completed within 12 months;

(2) meets the criteria of section 256J.53, subdivisions 2, 3, and 5; and

(3) is likely, without additional training, to lead to monthly employment earnings which, after subtraction of the earnings disregard under section 256J.21, equal or exceed the family wage level for the participant's assistance unit.

(e) A participant who, at the time of the initial assessment, presents a plan that includes farming as a self-employed work activity must have an employment plan developed under subdivision 5 that includes the farming as an approved work activity.

Subd. 3. Job search; job search support plan. (a) If, after the initial assessment, the job counselor determines that the participant possesses sufficient skills that the participant is likely to succeed in obtaining suitable employment, the participant must conduct job search for a period of up to eight weeks, for at least 30 hours per week. The participant must accept any offer of suitable employment. Upon agreement by the job counselor and the participant, a job search support plan may limit a job search to jobs that are consistent with the participant's employment goal. The job counselor and participant must develop a job search support plan which specifies, at a minimum: whether the job search is to be supervised or unsupervised; support services that will be provided while the participant conducts job search activities; the courses necessary to obtain certification or licensure, if applicable, and after obtaining the license or certificate, the client must comply with subdivision 5; and how frequently the participant must report to the job counselor on the status of the participant's job search activities. The job search support plan may also specify that the participant fulfill a specified portion of the required hours of job search through attending adult basic education or English as a second language classes.

(b) During the eight-week job search period, either the job counselor or the participant may request a review of the participant's job search plan and progress towards obtaining suitable employment. If a review is requested by the participant, the job counselor must concur that the review is appropriate for the participant at that time. If a review is conducted, the job counselor may make a determination to conduct a secondary assessment prior to the conclusion of the job search.

(c) Failure to conduct the required job search, to accept any offer of suitable employment, to develop or comply with a job search support plan, or voluntarily quitting suitable employment without good cause results in the imposition of a sanction under section 256J.46. If at the end of eight weeks the participant has not obtained suitable employment, the job counselor must conduct a secondary assessment of the participant under subdivision 3.

Subd. 4. Secondary assessment. (a) The job counselor must conduct a secondary assessment for those participants who:

(1) in the judgment of the job counselor, have barriers to obtaining employment that will not be overcome with a job search support plan under subdivision 3;

(2) have completed eight weeks of job search under subdivision 3 without obtaining suitable employment;

(3) have not received a secondary assessment, are working at least 20 hours per week, and the participant, job counselor, or county agency requests a secondary assessment; or

(4) have an existing job search plan or employment plan developed for another program or are already involved in training or education activities under section 256J.55, subdivision 5.

(b) In the secondary assessment the job counselor must evaluate the participant's skills and prior work experience, family circumstances, interests and abilities, need for preemployment activities, supportive or educational services, and the extent of any barriers to employment. Failure to complete a secondary assessment shall result in the imposition of a sanction as specified in sections 256J.46 and 256J.57. The job counselor must use the information gathered through the secondary assessment to develop an employment plan under subdivision 5.

(c) The job counselor may require the participant to complete a professional chemical use assessment to be performed according to the rules adopted under section 254A.03, subdivision 3, including provisions in the administrative rules which recognize the cultural background of the participant, or a professional psychological assessment as a component of the secondary assessment, when the job counselor has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that a participant's ability to obtain and retain suitable employment is impaired by a medical condition. The job counselor may ensure that appropriate services, including child care assistance and transportation, are available to the participant to meet needs identified by the assessment. Data gathered as part of a professional assessment must be classified and disclosed according to the provisions in section 13.46.

(d) The provider shall make available to participants information regarding additional vendors or resources which provide employment and training services that may be available to the participant under a plan developed under this section. At a minimum, the provider must make available information on the following resources: business and higher education partnerships operated under the Minnesota job skills partnership, community and technical colleges, adult basic education programs, and services offered by vocational rehabilitation programs. The information must include a brief summary of services provided and related performance indicators. Performance indicators must include, but are not limited to, the average time to complete program offerings, placement rates, entry and average wages, and retention rates. To be included in the information given to participants, a vendor or resource must provide counties with relevant information in the format required by the county.

Subd. 5. Employment plan; contents. Based on the secondary assessment under subdivision 4, the job counselor and the participant must develop an employment plan for the participant that includes specific activities that are tied to an employment goal and a plan for long-term self-sufficiency, and that is designed to move the participant along the most direct path to unsubsidized employment. The employment plan must list the specific steps that will be taken to obtain employment and a timetable for completion of each of the steps. Upon agreement by the job counselor and the participant, the employment plan may limit a job search to jobs that are consistent with the participant's employment goal. As part of the development of the participant's employment plan, the participant shall have the option of selecting from among the vendors or resources that the job counselor determines will be effective in supplying one or more of the services necessary to meet the employment goals specified in the participant's plan. In compiling the list of vendors and resources that the job counselor determines would be effective in meeting the participant's employment goals, the job counselor must determine that adequate financial resources are available for the vendors or resources ultimately selected by the participant. The job counselor and the participant must sign the developed plan to indicate agreement between the job counselor and the participant on the contents of the plan.

Subd. 5a. Basic education activities in plan. Participants with low skills in reading or mathematics who are proficient only at or below an eighth-grade level must be allowed to include basic education activities in a job search support plan or an employment plan, whichever is applicable.

Subd. 6. Safety plan. Notwithstanding subdivisions 1 to 5, a participant who is a victim of domestic violence and who agrees to develop or has developed a safety plan meeting the definition under section 256J.49, subdivision 11, is deferred from the requirements of this section, sections 256J.54, and 256J.55 for a period of three months from the date the safety plan is approved. A participant deferred under this subdivision must submit a safety plan status report to the county agency on a quarterly basis. Based on a review of the status report, the county agency may approve or renew the participant's deferral each quarter, provided the personal safety of the participant is still at risk and the participant is complying with the plan. A participant who is deferred under this subdivision may be deferred for a total of 12 months under a safety plan, provided the individual is complying with the terms of the plan.

Subd. 7. Revision of plan. If the employee has lost or quit a job with good cause, the job counselor must ascertain the reason for the job loss and work with the participant to amend the job search support plan or employment plan, whichever is in effect, as necessary to address the problem. If a job search support plan is in effect, the participant, county agency, or job counselor may request a secondary assessment at this time.

Subd. 8. Administrative support for postemployment education and training. After a caregiver receiving MFIP-S has been employed for six consecutive months, during which time the caregiver works on average more than 20 hours per week, the caregiver's job counselor shall inform the caregiver that the caregiver may request a secondary assessment described in subdivision 4 and shall provide information about:

(1) part-time education and training options available to the caregiver; and

(2) child care and transportation resources available to support postemployment education and training.

Subd. 9. Training concurrent with employment. An MFIP caregiver who is meeting the minimum hourly work participation requirements under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 through employment must be allowed to meet any additional MFIP-S hourly work participation requirements through training or education that meets the requirements of section 256J.53.

HIST: 1997 c 85 art 1 s 43; 1997 c 245 art 4 s 3,4; 1998 c 407 art 6 s 95-97; 1999 c 245 art 6 s 63-67

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes