The three-year pilot project is designed to provide training for jobs that will lead to a career and reduce the SNAP rolls. The Mississippi Department of Human Services will identify 3,600 recipients who live in one of five community college areas. Career training will target the needs of employers in those communities. Richard Berry is Executive Director of the Department of Human Services.
"We would be looking at some things in the medical field. There's always a need for welders, especially wire welders and maybe some basic computer technology skills. That's why we brought the community colleges in. It's because they know their local labor markets." said Berry
The USDA will follow the progress of the pilot project to develop more strategies to assist low income families with barriers to employment. Governor Phil Bryant says, some of the 20.5 million dollars in funding will address needs like daycare and transportation.
"Some of this funding will go directly to the individual for daycare for example. If they have children and they're trying to work, we'll help fund that program. Transportation, so we can get you to work, if you don't have a car. Equipment, it's important. My dad was a mechanic, so if you don't have steel-toed shoes, if you don't have tools you can't go to work. We are going to prepare these individuals to be self-reliant." said Bryant.
The training will be available for those who live near Itawamba, East Mississippi, Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Colleges and Jones County Junior College. SNAP recipients who refuse to participant in the project may lose their benefits.