Colorado Employment First


Colorado Employment First banner image

In Colorado, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) program, known as Employment First (EF), promotes long-term self-sufficiency and independence by preparing SNAP recipients for meaningful employment through work-related education and training activities. The EF program is administered in 32 Colorado counties at local county human/social services offices and through organizations around the state, known as Third-Party Partners.

Please note: If you're looking for the Colorado Office of Employment First, a collaboration of the University of Colorado's JFK Partners and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, you can find it here.

How to access Employment First services

View an interactive version of the map below to find out the Employment First Operator(s) serving your county. To learn more about Employment First and to access services, contact your county’s human services department or Third-Party Partner.

Colorado county map

Program eligibility

To be eligible for the Employment First program, you must be receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. View the SNAP page for details, including how to apply.

Employment First services

Employment First offers work-based learning activities such as education, employment and training services, and work-based learning. When appropriate, some of these services may be combined for you to meet your monthly work requirement. The following activities may be offered in your county:

  • Supportive payments during your initial case management appointment and after you find a job
  • Supervised job search
  • Job coaching to retain employment
  • Self-employment training
  • GED preparation and testing 
  • Adult Basic Education (Pre-GED basic skills education)
  • Basic literacy education such as reading and writing
  • If you’re enrolled in school or a training program and working towards a degree or certificate
  • English language learning classes
  • Interview skills and resume assistance
  • Work-based learning experiences to build job skills while you work with an employer or an apprenticeship/pre-apprenticeship

Although supportive payments may vary by Employment First partners, every Employment First partner provides broad assistance to eligible SNAP recipients and applicants to help them establish economic security, enhance their quality of life, and promote employment goals. There are two ways to request supportive payments:

  • Make a request online using the Colorado PEAK website. Click here for a guide to managing your account. PEAK will need the following information from you: household member (dropdown), category (dropdown), amount requested, and to describe your situation. 
  • Make a request through the MyCOBenefits app, which is available in the Apple and Android app stores. (Click here for a guide.) The following information will be requested from you: the supportive payments category (drop-down), the amount you are requesting, and a brief description of your situation.
  • Request through one of our Third-Party Partners.

To find out more about allowable supportive payments, contact your county human services department.

Colorado Employment First Program State Plan 

Colorado Workfare Program 

In Colorado, the Section 20 Optional Workfare Program of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2018 is called the Colorado Workfare Program. 

Employment First counties partner with workfare sites across the state to provide clients an opportunity to obtain work experience and enhance their job skills.

If you are interested in becoming a workfare site, please contact your county human services department to obtain additional information.

Rules and Regulations


Expand the sections below to view resources for Employment First partners. 
Employment First Partners

FNS: SNAP E&T Policy and Guidance

SNAP E&T Program Toolkit 

CDHS Memo Series

EF Program Operator Handbook FFY24

EF Allocation Letter

EF CFMS Codes for FFY24

Program Forms and Resources
Third-Party Partners

Colleges, community-based organizations, and various other organizations that provide employment and training services to SNAP recipients may be eligible to become Third-Party Partners. Third-Party Partners may be reimbursed up to 50% of any non-federal funds they spend down to provide employment and training services to SNAP recipients and applicants. Please find a list of current Third-Party Partners listed under the “How to access Employment First services”.


If you are interested in applying to become a Third-Party Partner, please do the following: 

  • Review the Third-Party Partner flier here.
  • Open the Colorado VSS Vendor Registration at https://vss.state.co.us, which takes you to the Colorado VSS Home screen.
  • Click on the icon “Click here for VSS system,” located on the right-hand side of the screen. 
  • You can log in, register, or click the “Public Access” button to search for the RFA.
  • Use the Keyword Search box to enter "Colorado Employment First Third Party Partner."
  • Once you locate the RFA, click the Details button to open the solicitation. Materials for the RFA can be accessed within the Attachments tab.   

Additional information

To learn more about Employment First, reach out to the State Staff:

Get a job with the state

Resources for job seekers interested in employment with CDHS
  • Visit the State of Colorado Job Board.
  • Filter by department and select Department of Human Services.
  • Search positions by keyword, filter by location, etc.
  • Review the job requirements listed in the job posting.
Helpful tips for submitting your application
  • Please read the entire job announcement and complete the entire application.
  • Make sure you meet the minimum qualifications and conditions of employment.
  • Review the preferred qualifications. Include any experience that is relevant to the minimum and preferred qualifications. Do not type “see resume” in place of answering these questions.
  • Answer the supplemental questions thoroughly.
  • Attach any required documents.
  • Be sure to submit your application before the closing date.
Got questions about the application process?

Our Talent Acquisition (TA) specialists are here to help:

Have an upcoming job fair?

For more information on current CDHS openings, visit our Careers page.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

Read the USDA Nondiscrimination Statement.