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Workforce initiative for SNAP participants to begin Friday

3 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 June 30, 2016 5:10 AM in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – A new workforce initiative related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will begin in the state on Friday, July 1.

In April, Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order creating new state standards that will require Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents who participate in the SNAP food assistance program to participate in job training and assistance programs in order to remain eligible.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will administer the new program.

“I promised last year that Louisiana would create an innovative program to connect SNAP participants with the job training they need to be successful,” Edwards said.

“With these new standards, our state is taking advantage of existing successful Louisiana workforce programs to help train and employ more of our citizens,” Edwards said.

Edwards also said that he believes more people will go into the workforce for the long-term due to the new standards. The partnership between DCFS, LWC and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System plan to connect able-bodied SNAP participants to Louisiana job placement programs to ensure a better success rate.

Beginning Friday, the DCFS will refer the SNAP clients to go in-person to participate in one of the 59 Louisiana Workforce Commission Business and Career Solutions Centers.

Upon implementation of these new requirements, Gov. Edwards will be requesting an extension of the current waiver from the federal government, which will help to allow these new Louisiana standards to operate cost-effectively.

For the past 19 years, including every year under the Jindal administration, due to high unemployment rates, Louisiana has qualified for and received a waiver of the federal time limit under SNAP for certain non-disabled adults ages 18-49 living in homes without children under the age of 18. The previous waivers had no job training or workforce initiative combination associated with qualifying for benefits.

The SNAP program provides participants with a maximum of $194 in food assistance each month. Without the waiver, the participants in SNAP are only able to qualify for this food assistance for three months in a 36 month period unless the participant can document satisfactory work, education or volunteer activities, as qualified under federal law.

However, under the waiver, federal rules allow Louisiana and other states to create their own work registration requirements, with federal approval.

Louisiana's SNAP program currently serves approximately 70,000 SNAP participants who qualify as able-bodied adults without dependents. The Department of Children and Family Services estimates that this new workforce initiative under Gov. Edwards' executive order will affect about 52,000, as some 18,000 participants already work, are attending school or are otherwise exempt from the federal work requirement.

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