USDA grant to provide workforce training

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tuesday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant announced the creation of a three-year pilot program designed to match SNAP recipients with workforce training and job opportunities.
According to a news release, the state received a $20.5 million grant from the USDA to implement the new program.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services, who will work in partnership with Mississippi’s community and junior colleges, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the State Workforce Investment Board will administer the program, the release states. The goal of this training is to match 3,300 able bodied adult SNAP recipients between the ages of 18 and 50 who do not have dependents with workforce training and job opportunities.
According to the release, over the next three years, this grant will allow the state to invest more than $70 million into workforce training.
“As I said in my inaugural address, my first job is to make sure every Mississippian who wants a job can find a job,” Bryant said in the release. “This workforce pilot program will allow us to coordinate with our outstanding network of community and junior colleges and use our Mississippi Works job system to connect even more Mississippians with work opportunities and help them on the path to self-sufficiency.”
The five community and junior colleges that will be participating in the pilot program are, East Mississippi Community College, Itawamba Community College, Jones County Junior College, Mississippi Delta Community and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the release states.
According to the release, the program will provide support funding to pilot participants. These funds are designed to help cover the costs of test and assessment fees, uniforms and other items required for work, along with transportation and child care.
“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps eligible low-income families put food on the table and supports critical employment skills and job training so that people can become economically self-sufficient. The pilot project award will help USDA and Mississippi identify cost-effective strategies to connect even more SNAP participants to gainful employment,” USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southeast Regional Administrator Robin Bailey, Jr. said in the release.
According to the release, grant funds for this program were approved through the 2014 farm bill, which was pioneered by Sen. Thad Cochran. Mississippi is one of 38 states to apply for this program and one of 10 to receive the grant.

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