Workforce Education Services

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Funding & Training For Your Career


The Workforce Education Services department provides guidance, support, and financial assistance for students in basic education (GED, ESL, and High School completion) and workforce education programs (non-transfer degrees). Financial assistance includes tuition and fees, books, bus passes, and emergency support. Some students may be eligible for food benefits and childcare assistance. Eligibility is broad; students can qualify based on: low-income status, military service within the past 48 months, displaced homemaker status, receiving or eligible for unemployment benefits, receiving or eligible for food benefits, or receiving TANF.
Applying for WES Benefits

Please review the following four items to ensure your application is processed and ready for review.

1. Explore and identify eligible academic programs

As part of the WES Funding Application process you will be required to identify an intended program of study.  Please explore the options below.  If you are uncertain about a specific program’s eligibility for WES funding, please contact a member of our staff for help.

Please note that transfer degrees and general studies are NOT eligible for WES funding

2. Determine a method of eligibility

Eligibility for WES funding can be determined by various methods including household income, military service and discharge record, receipt of specific DSHS benefits, and other classifications eligible for retraining benefits.  If you are uncertain about your eligibility, please contact a member of our staff for help.

  • You receive a monthly TANF grant from DSHS
  • You receive food benefits (food stamps) from DSHS
  • You receive unemployment, have received or exhausted unemployment in the past 48 months
  • Are you a military veteran discharged within the past 48 months
  • You have been identified as a Displaced Homemaker (loss of primary income due to becoming widowed, separated or divorced)?
  • Your household income meets the criteria of 200% of Poverty Guidelines of below
Persons in Household
200% Poverty Guidelines
For each additional person, add

As part of the WES Funding Application process you are required to complete a financial aid application.  If you are uncertain about which one to complete, please contact a member of our staff for help.  Please DO NOT complete both applications.

3. Complete a Financial Aid application
4. Submit a personal statement

This can be uploaded to your WES Funding Application

  • 250-500 word (approximately ½-1 page), typed, personal statement answering the following:
  • Please describe your career goal and what brought you to Big Bend.
  • What is your employment goal after you finish school?
  • How will additional funding help you to be successful and reach these goals




The following programs comprise Workforce Education Services:
Basic Food Employment and Training

The Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) program provides assistance with tuition, fees, books, transportation, and other support services to students who receive food benefits from DSHS. Participation in the BFET program will allow a student to keep food benefits while attending college, as well as access child care assistance through Working Connections Child Care. Students must be in a short-term workforce education program of study in order to qualify. 

Early Achievers Grant

The Early Achievers Grant is for students who are working toward a certificate or degree in Early Childhood Education and are employed in a childcare center or family home that is participating in Washington Early Achievers for a minimum of 40 hours per month or 10 hours per week. (See the Department of Early Learning web site for more information about Washington Early Achievers. The program will cover tuition, fees, books, and other support services for eligible students. Must be a Washington resident in order to qualify. 

Opportunity Grant

The Opportunity Grant is for Washington State residents who meet the income criteria of 200% of poverty level. (The chart under the eligibility determination section shows the income criteria.) The program provides 45 credits of tuition and fee assistance, up to $1000 per year for books and tools, and other support services for students in approved workforce programs.


WorkFirst is Washington State’s welfare reform program for individuals who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). DSHS administers TANF, which provides temporary cash for families in need. The WorkFirst program helps participants access education and training in order to find and keep jobs. Enrolling in Adult Education classes, including GED, High School Diploma, and ESL as well as Workforce Education, qualify as WorkFirst participation. Through Workforce Education Services, participants may receive tuition and textbook assistance as well as advising and mentoring to ensure graduation and completion.

Worker Retraining

The Worker Retraining funding is a program which provides options for unemployed or underemployed workers to access education and training to maintain employment or to re-enter the workforce. The eligibility criteria includes: ◦Currently receiving unemployment benefits ◦Eligible to receive unemployment benefits ◦Exhausted unemployment benefits within the past 48 months ◦Displaced homemaker (loss of primary income due to becoming widowed, separated or divorced within the past 48 months) ◦Military veteran discharged within the past 48 months. Students may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits while attending school and not participate in job search activities if the training meets the Commissioner Approved Training criteria approved by the Employment Security Department. The Worker Retraining program at Big Bend provides assistance with tuition and books for one quarter of attendance. Funding for subsequent quarters depends on availability of funds.

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