BATON ROUGE (DCFS) - The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) are partnering to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients develop high-demand job skills and move toward self-sufficiency.
An estimated 163,500 working-age SNAP recipients will join the LWC's pool of job seekers. Beginning January 21, SNAP applicants and recipients classified as Mandatory Work Registrants will be required to enroll with LWC, giving them access to job training, job postings and other services online and from LWC staff.
"By expanding this partnership statewide, SNAP recipients have the opportunity to gain necessary job skills and training needed to enter, rejoin or improve their opportunities in Louisiana's workforce," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Matching the job seeking tools and training resources of the Louisiana Workforce Commission with citizens that rely on public assistance has tremendous potential to increase the financial independence of Louisiana children and families."
Previously, only Mandatory Work Registrants living in areas with active Louisiana Job Employment Training (LaJET) programs - Rapides, Lafayette, Orleans, Ouachita, and Caddo Parishes - were required to register with the LWC.
After registering, LWC staff will assess job seekers' skills and interests and match them with well-paying, high-demand jobs, or with training to qualify for those jobs in their area. LWC pays for training for low-income individuals who qualify.
By registering, job seekers gain access to customized, in-person services, as well as web-based tools that allow them to search for jobs, build and post résumés, and find training programs and information on local employers. Employers also will be able to seek them out as qualified candidates for jobs.
"We're at the beginning of what we anticipate will be a boom in construction, shipbuilding and other manufacturing, and we continue to push hard to develop a workforce for allied health fields and many office jobs," LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said. "This partnership will grow the available workforce and help employers remain competitive while providing a great opportunity for Louisiana families and individuals."
According to Eysink, the LWC's resources will connect SNAP recipients to high-demand jobs or the training they need to qualify for them. "Many unemployed or under-employed SNAP clients possess the qualities needed to excel at those jobs," Eysink said.
Affected SNAP applicants and recipients will be notified of the LWC registration requirement at their initial application interview and redetermination interviews conducted approximately every six months. SNAP Mandatory Work Registrants will be required to maintain an active LWC account, which includes searching and applying for jobs in the system. An LWC account that remains inactive for more than 90 days will be deactivated, and SNAP clients must reactivate the account to be eligible for benefits.
Mandatory Work Registrants are those SNAP recipients who do not meet any one of the following criteria:
Persons under the age of 16 or age 60 and over.
Persons age 16 or 17 attending school, or enrolled in an employment-training program on at least a half-time basis, or not the head of household.
Persons age 18 through 59 enrolled at least half-time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education. The exemption continues during normal periods of class attendance, vacation, and recess if he intends to return.
Parents or other household members personally providing the care of a dependent child under age 6 or a disabled person of any age.
Regular participants in drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Persons who are temporarily or permanently disabled (physically or mentally). A pregnant woman must register unless a doctor's statement verifies incapacity.
Persons working an average of 30 hours per week or receiving average weekly gross earnings equivalent to 30 multiplied by the federal minimum wage. Migrant and seasonal farm workers under contract or similar agreement with an employer or crew chief to begin work within 30 days are exempt.
Persons subject to and complying with Strategies to Empower People (STEP) or have met the minimum work registration requirement through STEP within the past 12 months.
Persons receiving unemployment compensation benefits (UCB). A person who has applied for but is not yet receiving UCB is also exempt if that person is complying with the work requirements of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Any Louisiana resident seeking employment or a better job can enroll with the LWC and qualify for its no-cost employment services. To register with LWC, visit www.louisianaworks.net/HiRE and create a free online account.
Individuals are encouraged to report cases of suspected SNAP, Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or the Kinship Care Program (KCSP) fraud by calling the DCFS toll-free hotline at 1-888-LAHELP-U and selecting option 7 from the main menu or by visiting www.dcfs.la.gov/ReportFraud