Core and Non-Core Activities

The following specific federal categories of activities are defined as core and non-core.  Time in core activities can always be used to meet work participation rates.  Time in non-core activities can only be used after the required number of hours in a core activity is met.

Always Core

Always Non-Core

Employment (including self-employment and subsidized employment)

Work Experience Programs

On-the-Job Training

Unpaid Community Service

Providing Child Care Services to an Individual Who Is Participating in a Community Service Program (Iowa does not offer)


Satisfactory Attendance Secondary School - Under 20 yrs old*

  • GED
  • High School Attendance

* As long as a person under the age of 20 has satisfactory attendance in high school or a GED program they are "deemed" as meeting their work participation rate no matter the number of hours attended.

Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment


  • Basic Skills (ABE)
  • English as a Second Language


Education Directly Related to Employment - Age 20 and older


  • GED
  • High School Attendance



The following activities are considered as a core activity until federal limits are reached.  

 Sometimes Core 

Job Search/Job Readiness

  • Assessment
  • Job Seeking Skills
  • Individual Job Search
  • Workplace Essentials
  • Mental Health Treatment
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Other Rehabilitation

Vocational Education

  • Post Secondary Education
  • Short Term Training



Job Search/Job Readiness federal limits are:

            240 hours in a 12 month period for single parents with a child under six and 360 hours in 12 months for others*.

      Job Search/Job Readiness hours can be a core activity for only 4 weeks in a row.  Once a break occurs, it can become core again.

      Once federal limits are reached the hours in Job Search/Job Readiness activities are reported in the miscellaneous category of "other". 

* Iowa is designated a "needy state," thereby increasing the limits from 120 hours to 240 hours and 180 hours to 360 hours respectfully.


Vocational Education federal limit is:

  12 month life time limit

    Once the 12 month limit is reached the hours in Education fall out of the core activity of Education and into the non-core activity of Jobs Skills Directly Related to Employment.