March 24, 2015 In News
JACKSON—At a press conference this morning, Gov. Phil Bryant and United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Southeast Regional Administrator Robin Bailey Jr. announced Mississippi has received a $20.5 million grant from USDA to conduct a three-year pilot program to match SNAP recipients with workforce training and job opportunities.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services will administer the pilot program and will work in conjunction with Mississippi’s community and junior colleges, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, the State Workforce Investment Board and other partners to match about 3,300 able bodied adult SNAP recipients ages 18-50 who do not have dependents with workforce training and job opportunities.
Combined with Gov. Bryant’s “Workforce #1” proposal (Senate Bill 2457), the USDA grant will position Mississippi to invest more than $70 million into workforce training over the next three years.
“As I said in my Inaugural Address, my first job is to make sure every Mississippian who wants a job can find a job,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “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.”
Five community and junior colleges will participate in the pilot program and provide training to participants:
- East Mississippi Community College
- Itawamba Community College
- Jones County Junior College
- Mississippi Delta Community College
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
The program will also provide support funding to pilot participants to help them cover the cost of things like test and assessment fees, uniforms and other items required for work, 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 announced today will help USDA and Mississippi identify cost-effective strategies to connect even more SNAP participants to gainful employment,” said Robin Bailey, Jr., USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southeast Regional Administrator.
The grant funds for the program were authorized through the 2014 farm bill, which was spearheaded by Sen. Thad Cochran.
Mississippi is one of 38 states to apply for the grant program and one of 10 states to receive an award. California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia, Vermont and Washington also received grants.