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Employment First  

Colorado Employment First increases employment for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants through support, referrals, accountability, and community work.

Employment First is a federally-mandated program designed to ensure that all able-bodied food assistance participants are engaged in activities that will improve their employability. The program is administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services and currently operates in 47 Colorado counties.

All individuals who apply for food assistance in Colorado and do not meet federal exemption criteria must participate in Employment First activities. These activities include:

    • Workfare
    • Adult basic education
    • GED preparation
    • Literacy
    • College
    • Vocational training
    • Vocational rehabilitation
    • Job search classes
    • Part-time work

As a result of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Act of 1996, participants who are identified as “able-bodied adults without dependents” must complete 20 hours each week in one of the above activities in order to receive more than three months of food assistance in a 36-month period of time.

The Douglas County Department of Human Services and Arapahoe/Douglas Works! Workforce Center partner to provide the Employment First program and services to Douglas County SNAP applicants. For more information on Arapahoe/Douglas Works!, please contact them at 303-636-1160 or visit their website at For more information on the Colorado Employment First program, please visit their website at