Preferred Worker Program
Information for Workers
A Unique Concept:
- The Preferred Worker Program offers a unique concept as part of out return-to-work services.
- While this program is designed to encourage the re-employment of North Dakota's injured workers, it also offers cost-saving incentives to employers participating in the program.
To be eligible to participate in the Preferred Worker Program, an injured worker must have:
- Sustained a compensable work injuring in North Dakota, resulting in an obstacle in their ability to return to work.
- Not been released for, nor returned to, regular work.
- Not refused an offer of appropriate employment with the employer of injury.
To participate in the program:
- An injured worker meeting the above eligibility requirements may contact the Preferred Worker Coordinator for program information.
- An injured worker meeting the above eligibility requirements may register to participate in the program by completing a registration form. The form can be completed online. There is also a paper form that can be completed and mailed to WSI.
- If an injured worker is approved to participate in the program, WSI will provide the worker with a Preferred Worker Identification Card that lists an Identification Number.
Benefits to participating:
- Return to substantial gainful employment: This program provides a valuable tool for Preferred Workers in finding employment taking into consideration their work abilities, education, experience, and transferable skills.
- Work Search Allowance: Once the vocational assessment is received and an injured worker is deemed eligible for the program, a work search allowance will be provided to the preferred worker in the amount of $250 to be utilized for appropriate interviewing clothing, uniforms, travel expenses, or other items deemed mandatory for employment. Maximum benefit in this category is $250.
- Work Search Assistance: Work closely with a re-employment specialist who will assist in the preparation of job search skills, job leads, and job placement utilizing the workers knowledge, skills, and capabilities.
- Certification, Licensure or Related Testing Costs: Testing for certifications, licensure or related testing requirements for employment may be reimbursed. This includes physical examinations or membership fees required for the job. Maximum benefit in the category is $500.
- Moving Expenses: Relocation expenses to move the household to the locale where the preferred worker has actually located work and the distance is greater to or equal than 35 miles from the primary residence. Moving expenses shall be paid in accordance with N.D.C.C. 65-05.1.
- Reimbursement for Lodging, Meals and Travel Expenses Relating to On-The-Job Training: WSI may reimburse the preferred worker for lodging, meals and travel expenses (public transportation or mileage) to attend on-the-job training. Reimbursement shall be paid at the North Dakota state rate existing at the time of travel.
- Tools and Equipment: Upon WSI approval, the preferred worker may be reimbursed for tools, equipment or starter sets deemed mandatory for employment. Maximum benefit in this category is $2,500.
- Union Dues: Includes initiation fees and one month's current dues.
How the program works:
- At the time a worker is approved, WSI will issue an Identification (ID) Card. This card has important information as well as instructions for the Preferred Worker and potential employers.
- The Preferred Worker may use the Identification Card with any North Dakota employer in good standing.
- At the time a Preferred Worker is hired under the Preferred Worker Program, the ID Card will be completed by the employer and returned to WSI.
- Once approved, a Preferred Worker Agreement will be generated. Once signed by the employer and the Preferred Worker, the benefits are activated.
- Once the Preferred Worker Agreement is in effect, WSI will issue the Preferred Worker a second card, which is an Eligibility Card.
Check out our Job Seeking Workshops page for tips on obtaining employment!