FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentuckians in the TENCO workforce development area who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and are eligible for the federally funded Employment and Training (E&T) program will now receive assistance from Kentucky Career Centers to meet education and employment training needs.

To better serve the people of Kentucky, several agencies in the state government created a new system for SNAP recipients to access locally available training opportunities and find open jobs. This new system became available May 1 in the TENCO area thanks to a collaboration between the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), which administers the SNAP program through the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Investment (DWI), and the TENCO Local Workforce Development Board.

The TENCO counties include Bath, Boyd, Bracken, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Montgomery, Robertson and Rowan counties.

Kentucky Career Centers are led in each of the Commonwealth’s 10 workforce development areas by local workforce development boards. This gives each board the ability to work directly with employers, and to determine the job availability and training needs on a local level. Some services provided by the Career Centers include skills assessments, resume building, and interview preparation.

The federal SNAP E&T program implemented in 1996 required able-bodied adults ages 18-49 who do not have dependents to meet work, skills training or community engagement requirements of 20 hours per week to remain eligible for SNAP (formerly known as food stamp) benefits. The requirement was waived from 2008 – 2015 because of the economic recession, but not reinstated when the economy improved.

This SNAP E&T collaboration is considered a pilot of the state’s proposed Medicaid transformation, which includes a community engagement requirement and is expected to begin in July 2018.

“The Medicaid and SNAP populations overlap quite a bit,” according to Kristi Putnam, program manager for the Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid transformation. “To keep things simpler, we have aligned the programs. The Kentucky HEALTH program will feature a similar community engagement aspect that aims to also give members the tools to obtain good-paying jobs and lead to better health and overall well-being.”