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Agencies Launch Columbus Area SNAP Reemployment Program
Nebraska Ag Connection - 09/08/2017

Governor Pete Ricketts announced the launch of an effective reemployment program that will help Columbus-area recipients of Nebraska's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, find better-paying jobs. The pilot program, which initially launched last year in Grand Island, is a partnership of the Nebraska Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Labor (DOL) and uses their existing manpower and resources.

"DHHS and DOL came together to develop this successful reemployment program for families seeking to improve their quality of life and reduce their reliance on public assistance," said Governor Ricketts. "In our initial launch of the program in Grand Island, we found that through the combined efforts of DHHS and DOL, people were hired for higher-paying jobs which gave them greater financial independence. It is helping Nebraska job creators identify talented new team members and improve family life for hardworking Nebraskans. This is how government is supposed to work for the benefit of its citizens."

SNAP recipients in the Columbus area who are working are now being contacted and invited to participate. Those eligible for the program receive a letter and a follow-up phone call.

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

In July of this year, the program expanded to Hastings. It was launched September 1st in Columbus, and will start in Norfolk in May 2018.

DHHS Division of Children and Family Services Director Matt Wallen thanked Governor Ricketts for building an atmosphere that brings departments together to find new and creative ways to work together for all Nebraskans.

"We appreciate working with the Department of Labor and thank them for their contributions to make life better for our SNAP clients," he said. "This reemployment program helps our citizens with their most basic of needs -- a good paying job."

"This reemployment program helps grow Nebraska by connecting people desiring better, higher-paying jobs with our industries so they can continue to produce, market, and improve our state's position in the local, state, and international marketplaces," said DOL Regional Workforce Development Manager Randy Kissinger. "We are able to use our expertise in finding jobs so those who receive SNAP assistance can become more self-reliant, take pride in their growth, and improve their long-term quality of life and financial stability.

DHHS and DOL meet with clients to identify and provide assistance they need to overcome barriers to their success while enhancing their lives at home. 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 job search and resume assistance, interview training, vouchers to buy clothing for interviews, paying for child care and similar services, occupational skills training services to upgrade their skill set, and work experience and on-the-job training to help them enter into new employment.

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. SNAP funds are administered by DHHS based on federal guidelines. Eligibility is based on many factors such as family size, income and other family resources.

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