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SOWELA Partners with LCTCS to Offer Training and Work Experience Opportunities to SNAP Recipients

New partnership will provide workforce training for SNAP recipients in allied health and construction

(Lake Charles, Louisiana) – SOWELA Technical Community College has been named as a partner in the Louisiana Community & Technical College System (LCTCS) and Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to help Louisiana recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits receive workforce training for high-demand jobs.

The newly announced partnership is part of DCFS’s SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) initiative, which offers SNAP recipients the opportunity to gain skills, training, and work experience. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, and its goal is to help participants secure regular employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

SOWELA’s involvement will initially focus on allied health and construction programs. The partnership will allow SOWELA and LCTCS to leverage federal reimbursement for certain SNAP recipient-related expenses to fill gaps for those students – paying for credentials and other supportive services, such as transportation, dependent care, uniforms, equipment, books, supplies and tools.

According to an LCTCS survey, many students say they do not progress through their respective academic programs because of non-academic reasons such as lack of transportation, financial hardship, family responsibilities, scheduling job/work, and other personal demands.

The initial study fields of allied health and construction are both pathways that lead to high-wage, high-demand careers. These two pathways were specifically chosen for the SOWELA-LCTCS partnership in June, following consultation with industry-employer partners and trade associations in response to current employer short-term and long-term needs. Credentials in these areas lead to jobs such as nursing, plumbing, carpentry, industrial maintenance and others, with average salaries in Louisiana averaging $40,000 to $65,000.

“This new SNAP initiative will provide the means for many individuals to get the training and develop the skills they need to pursue and obtain a high wage- high demand job.  This program will help remove many of the obstacles such as the lack of transportation, child care, and financial hardships that prevent students from improving their lives and the lives of their families.  This type of initiative helps SOWELA continue its mission of workforce development for Southwest Louisiana.”

For more information on SNAP E&T, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/snapet.

About SOWELA Technical Community College
SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 80 years. For more information, visit www.sowela.edu.