This study investigates how local integration strategies that prioritize a work-first approach affect refugee's participation in language courses and their medium run labor market outcomes. We utilize a gradual rollout of the work-first approach (on-the-job training within the first year after arrival) combined with a dispersal policy of refugees across municipalities in Denmark. We find that being placed in municipalities emphasizing the work-first approach is positively associated with later employment and earnings but show that the associations are temporary. A higher local propensity to use the work-first approach is negatively related to time spent in language courses, level of courses completed and the grade point average for language course exam attendees. We discuss whether the reduced language course attendance could be an explanation of the lack of a persistent labor market effects.