The Work First approach requires an additional investment in intensive job training for clients with severe handicaps. An important part of these disadvantaged job seekers have real opportunities in the employment market. It’s made possible by a combination of work training and ‘coaching on the job’. This method is widely used in Norway for the benefit of disabled people and in the USA for the unemployed with serious obstacles.

In Norway, the participants often go through a short, intensive job training in a sheltered workshop first, before they are placed with a regular employer. Then the participants are intensively coached in the workplace and the immediate colleagues and supervisors are involved. The employer can be eligible for a wage costs subsidy. In the USA so called ‘transitional jobs’ are increasingly created at regular employers. During a period of 6-12 months, the participants are intensively coached on a paid workplace. In addition, the workload and responsibilities are gradually increased to a level which the participants can handle. After the ‘transitional job‘ participants are either acquired by the relevant employer, or placed with another employer.