The commissioner of human services shall issue a request for proposals from counties to submit a plan for developing and implementing a county-designed program. The plan shall be for first-time applicants for the Minnesota family investment program and must emphasize the importance of becoming employed and oriented into the work force in order to become self-sufficient. The plan must target public assistance applicants who are most likely to become self-sufficient quickly with short-term assistance or services such as child care, child support enforcement, or employment and training services.
The plan may include vendor payments, mandatory job search, refocusing existing county or provider efforts, or other program features. The commissioner may approve a county plan which allows a county to use other program funding for the county work focus program in a more flexible manner. Nothing in this section shall allow payments made to the public assistance applicant to be less than the amount the applicant would have received if the program had not been implemented, or reduce or eliminate a category of eligible participants from the program without legislative approval.
If the plan is approved by the commissioner, the county may implement the plan.