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Food Stamps Employment and Training

In support of the Department of Human Services, we provide a bridge from dependency to self-sufficiency through life-skills training and career preparation assistance. Our goal is to prepare participants to become successful employees and to place them into jobs.

The Food Stamp Employment and Training Program, strengthened by Food Stamp grants, rescues many Tennesseans who are experiencing a crisis due to social or economic change.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development operates the employment and training program which offers participants nine opportunities.  These opportunities are designed to enhance and assist participants to prepare for employment and to survive and prosper once employed.

Assessment and Employment Plan

The primary goal of the Food Stamp Program is to assist individuals in reaching their employment potential and becoming totally independent of public assistance.  The first step is a face-to-face meeting of the staff and the participant.  At this time, an analysis is made of the client's education, work history, skills, and interests.   From this information, a plan is devised for the participant to achieve small incremental steps that lead to short-term and long-term goals of self-sufficiency.

The interview includes an explanation of the nine opportunities/component activities available in the program.

Program Component Opportunities

  • Job Placement/Supervised Individual Employment Search which may provide immediate employment.
  • Job Success Clinic which is a series of training classes for preparation to become employed and to advance once employed.
  • Life/Survival Skills Training which is a series of ten three-hour classes that prepares the client for success in an educational component or employment.
  • Adult Education (Grades 6-12) - this component enhances chances of obtaining employment and/or furthering education which can lead to obtaining a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
  • Literacy (Grades 0-5) - this component is designed to increase reading and mathematical skills.
  • Post Secondary Education - this component is for participants who have an occupational goal which requires a two-year certificate or a four-year degree.
  • Vocational/Technical Education - training opportunity provided by a local educational facility.
  • Workfare Training - this is a non-paid work experience that gives participants positive life structure, job training, and the chance to display work skills.

A participant can enter one or more of these components/opportunities that have been agreed upon by the staff and the client.  These components have the potential of providing a bridge for the participant to cross over from dependency to self-actualization and fulfillment.

The Food Stamp Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).   Changes in the program were mandated by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.  The central core of the legislation changed the emphasis of service from regular Food Stamp recipients to Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWDs).  Out of this shift of emphasis came the 80/20 percent concept for spending allocated funds.

Eighty (80) percent of Tennessee's allocation of 100 percent federal funds must be spent on serving the ABAWD target group and the remaining 20 percent can be spent on regular participants or ABAWDs.  As a result of this funding mandate, the program is ABAWD driven.

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