JOBS FIRST EMPLOYMENT SERVICES (JFES) including “STEPS TO SUCCESS” Orientations are currently suspended.

During the suspension, your attendance at the American Job Center for JFES appointments or activities are not required. The Department of Social Services (DSS) will continue to issue cash payments as long as you remain eligible.

DSS or your JFES Job Seeker Consultant will be contacting you for updates. Staff will be checking voice mail and email during that time. 

Contact DSS at (855) 626-6632 or visit www.connect.ct.govwith questions regarding your cash assistance benefits.


Become Independent from cash assistance

The Jobs First Employment Services (JFES) program serves residents of South Central CT who are recipients of Temporary Family Assistance, or cash assistance. Participants are referred to JFES by the Connecticut Department of Social Services.

Every year, about 3,000 participants are referred to the American Job Centers in New Haven, Meriden and Middletown for job counseling, individual and classroom training, and work experience, starting with the Steps to Success orientation.

Our Goals:

  • Utilize employment to achieve independence from cash assistance by the end of the 21-month time limit.
  • Support workers to remain employed and independent from cash assistance.
  • Provide basic skills, job coaching, occupational skills and work experience

Support Services:

  • Transportation Assistance
  • Access to Child Care Assistance

Work Search Activities

  • Jobs First participants are assigned work search activities until they are able to obtain employment. Whenever possible, Jobs First combines work activities with education and/or training to increase potential earnings and to become self-sufficient.

Work Experience (Subsidized Employment)

Jobs First matches candidates with little or no work history with employers willing to provide valuable work experience — all while earning wages.

Through this unique program, Jobs First participants receive a paycheck via the American Job Center and are placed at work sites for up to 20 hours a week. Employer components:

  • Meet and interview candidates
  • Provide 12 weeks of paid on-the-job training
  • Complete employee performance evaluations
  • Hire well-performing candidates into permanent employment after training
Contact Cathy Geremia at (203) 624-1493 x 285 or

Vocational Education/Occupational Skills Training

Individuals who need vocational or occupational skills training to get a job and leave cash assistance may receive tuition assistance to attend a program on Connecticut’s Eligible Training Program List.

Job Development

Following training and work search activities, Jobs First participants work with specialists and participate in job clubs to facilitate finding and keeping subsidized, permanent employment.