Friday, August 15, 2014

Local colleges offer job training to SNAP recipients

One of the smartest and most effective means of addressing poverty and food insecurity is also one of the least known, but Foodshare’s SNAP Outreach program and Hunger Action Teams are changing that. The program, called SNAP Employment and Training, is exemplified by Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield. Through grants from the state, the college offers free job training and career-focused education to SNAP recipients (SNAP was formerly called Food Stamps). The college conducts extensive research to find out which careers are most in demand and likely to stay that way, then they off training and classes in those fields. SNAP recipients get a full scholarship for the training. 

And because daycare poses a particular hurdle for some SNAP recipients, the school has set up a free cooperative daycare facility, in which student parents who don’t have class on a given day watch the children of their fellow students who do, then the students switch duties on the other days. The college also recognizes the challenges of transportation and offers SNAP students free bus passes to get to class.

The training is mostly in health-related fields, and the college says that 80 percent of its graduates find employment in that field within six months of graduating. Asnuntuck is one of several public and private colleges in the greater Hartford area offering SNAP Employment and Training.

All in all, the idea seems to be the very model of an effective government program, but few people know of it, including the people who would most benefit from it: SNAP recipients. So Foodshare is getting the word out. Foodshare’s Hunger Action Team in Enfield is promoting the program, and our SNAP Outreach coordinator puts a note about it into every communication with SNAP recipients and applicants. The goal is to have the program completely filled; then we can push for expanding it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment