Ricketts unveils program connecting SNAP clients to better job opportunities

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts unveiled a new, job initiative to help increase the income levels of participants in Nebraska’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.

The first year of a joint pilot program has connected families who receive SNAP benefits with better-paying jobs. The program is a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and Department Of Labor and utilizes the departments’ existing manpower and resources.

The pilot program, launched last year in Grand Island, involved 27 families so far. Fourteen SNAP clients changed jobs, resulting in an average increased annual salary of $6,900. Because of higher salaries, eight receive fewer SNAP benefits, and six no longer receive SNAP funds.

The program was also launched this month in Hastings and is scheduled to start in Columbus in September and Norfolk in May 2018.

DHHS and DOL meet with clients to identify and provide needed assistance. A plan is developed and the DHHS case manager coaches and supports clients to overcome the barriers keeping them from higher-paying jobs. DOL provides training in preparing SNAP clients to find more-suitable jobs through résumé writing, learning how to search for a job, preparing for job interviews, and working with employers for on-the-job training.

Families not only have increased income, but the program also has helped improve their quality of life. Many participants now have stable work hours, which has given them more time to spend with family.

SNAP helps people with low-incomes buy food, and was previously known as food stamps. SNAP funds are administered by DHHS based on federal guidelines. SNAP eligibility is based on many factors such as family size, income, and other family resources.

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