Skills2Work program can help dreams become reality

Mississippians have a new pathway to achieve their career goals through partnerships between the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), Mississippi community colleges, and other employment and training programs within the state.

The SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) Program, Skills2Work, was designed to assist eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) E&T recipients by providing potential tuition assistance and other support services for Adult Basic Education, Career/Technical pathways and/or Workforce Skills Training programs.

The Division of Workforce Development and Partnership Management within MDHS has established Skills2Work partnerships with the following Mississippi community colleges and other workforce skills training partners to provide E&T services to qualified SNAP recipients:

  • Hinds Community College (Hinds CC) offers career/technical programs, workforce skills training programs, Adult Education, and Smart Start classes. E&T participants also have access to wrap-around services that will help eliminate barriers to completion.
  • East MS Community College (EMCC) offers Workforce Training programs, Career and Technical Education programs, the MS Works Smart Start Career Pathway Model and Adult Education classes. EMCC also connects participants to support services to help participants complete the training programs.
  • Refill Cafe offers Education/Vocational Training and Work Experience through a holistic approach addressing immediate barriers to employment and provides a year-long commitment to SNAP E&T participants in Hinds, Rankin, and Madison counties through eight weeks of classroom instruction, work experience, and additional support services.
  • Mississippi Low-Income Child-Care Initiative (MLICCI) serves as a technical assistance resource to childcare providers of low-income, working, single moms, connecting them to Job Search Training, Basic Education, Vocational Training and Job Retention activities, along with support services.
  • Goodwill of South Mississippi (GSM) offers the Goodwill Customer Service Program (GCSP), a two-part training program designed to help entry-level participants gain customer service skills directly related to frontline work in both Harrison and Jackson counties. The GCSP is an 80-hour training program consisting of 60-hours classroom-based, instructor-led training and 20-hours work experience at one of Goodwill’s retail stores.

“The Skills2Work program is a perfect example of our mission to provide tangible help today to create a lasting hope for tomorrow,” MDHS Executive Director Bob Anderson said. “This program provides SNAP recipients the opportunity to develop skills that will make them desirable to local employers.  This program also is part of this agency’s focus on helping individuals and families transition from crisis, to stability and, ultimately, to sustainability.”

An example of the success of the Skills2Work partnerships is Michael Ahner of Vicksburg.

At age 46, Ahner decided his job was not fulfilling his need to help others, so he applied for the Skills2Work program through Hinds Community College.  On December 18, 2019, Michael graduated with a Practical Nursing degree and is now another step closer to his goal of living a life to help others. He plans to earn an associate degree and become a registered nurse.

The Skills2Work program is a reimbursement program funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.