Pennsylvania program aims to help those in need

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Moving people from prison to the workforce. That’s the goal of a program here in Pennsylvania and officials want to double it in size by the end of the year.

The SNAP 50/50 program provides job skills training and ultimately a path to full-time employment to people who rely on food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits.

“The SNAP program has work requirements. Federal work requirements. So, it’s important for us to then have supportive services to help people, particularly people who are re-entering society with a criminal background,” Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller said.

The program is a partnership between non-profit organizations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state’s Department of Human Services.

“For every dollar of private money, 50 cents of federal money is matched,” Miller said.

On Friday, Miller visited one of the organizations in Pennsylvania using the program. The Center for Employment Opportunities, or CEO, in Harrisburg, provides job skills training to those recently incarcerated looking to re-integrate into society.

“People don’t necessarily feel very supportive once they’re out of prison. And these programs really wrap those supportive services around, and help people make that transition and do it successfully,” Miller said.

Workers at CEO utilizing the SNAP 50/50 program to move from poverty into the workforce.

“We’re really looking to expand these programs because we really want to lift more people out of poverty,” Miller said.

14 organizations in Pennsylvania currently use the SNAP 50/50 program. The goal is to expand that to 30 by the end of the year.

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