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What is the Pathways to Work Program?


DTA made a number of changes and suspended a number of rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guide notes in red when a rule was suspended during the pandemic.

Produced by Deborah Harris and Betsy Gwin, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2022

DTA’s Pathways to Work Program (formerly the Employment Services Program or ESP) covers employment, education, and training services for TAFDC recipients and some former TAFDC recipients. Pathways to Work includes community service, job search, education, and training. Pathways to Work also provides child care for TAFDC recipients who are working or participating in a DTA-approved education or training program and provides some transportation assistance for TAFDC recipients in approved education or training programs. 106 C.M.R. §§ 707.000, 707.100.


Pathways to Work is voluntary unless you are subject to the time limit and the Work Program. DTA regulations provide for sanctions for failure to comply with an Employment Development Plan, 106 C.M.R. § 707.200, but these regulations do not apply to volunteers. See DTA Field Operations Memo 2001-9 (Feb. 20, 2001). During the pandemic, DTA suspended the time limit and stopped sanctions for failure to comply with an Employment Development Plan.


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