Pilot program will help SNAP recipients find jobs

Published 12:44 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

On April 13 Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) with its local partners, Brunswick County Department of Social Services, Charlotte County Department of Social Services, Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services, Halifax County Department of Social Services, Nottoway County Department of Social Services and Prince Edward County Department of Social Services, launched a new employment and training pilot program called EleVAte SNAP E&T to help residents who currently receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to secure better jobs in high-demand fields.

Last year, the Virginia Department of Social Services received a $22.3 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and test innovative SNAP E&T strategies. The pilot program will serve approximately 5,386 SNAP recipients who are required to work in 13 counties and 11 cities across both urban and rural areas over three years. The pilot program will provide training and education as well as focus on teaching participants soft skills such as employment readiness and self-confidence, the ability to work in teams and communicate well and help with writing resumes and interview skills. It will also provide limited financial assistance for travel, clothing, exam/certification fees, etc.

Through an innovative three-prong approach, the EleVAte SNAP E&T services will be individualized with an adult career coach providing guidance and support through employment & training, support services, and career counseling. The program will also be tailored to meet the needs of each community, matching participants with labor market opportunities.

Eligible participants could have a chance to access one or more of three different components: EleVAte Virginia Online: an online and in-person program lasting about six to eight weeks.

SNAP recipients interested in finding out more should contact their local Department of Social Services and ask about the EleVAte SNAP E&T Pilot program. Employers, and others interested are encouraged to contact Southside Virginia Community College, LaRoya Walton at laroya.walton@southside.edu or Gloria Westerman at gloria.westerman@southside.edu.