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.

Arapahoe/Douglas WORKS! Youth Program

Arapahoe/Douglas WORKS! (ADW) is the workforce center serving Douglas County.  If you need assistance finding a job or making a change into a new career, contact them at www.adworks .org or call 303-636-1160.

There are special programs available for younger job seekers (ages 15-25).


  • Youth ages 15-25,
  • Youth that are system involved and/or receiving child welfare services,
  • Youth currently on public assistance cases with their family,
  • Young parents who may be new to the Human Services System.

For additional information please contact Andrea Barnum at 303.814.7113 or abarnum@douglas.co.us

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 www.adworks.org. For more information on the Colorado Employment First program, please visit their website at www.coemploymentfirst.org.