Matching Up-Skilled Workers to Living-Wage Jobs

The Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) envisions a future where Food Supplement Program (SNAP at the Federal level) participants have access to job-driven training and career pathways that enable them to successfully compete for sustainable living-wage jobs. Despite major overhauls in the State’s Food Supplement Employment and Training (FSET, Maryland’s SNAP E&T) Program this year — including transitioning to a voluntary program and implementing ABAWD time limits – DHR is working to create a solid foundation on which to start building its program.

DHR worked with SJI to build the infrastructure needed to expand its FSET 50-50 reimbursement program. In this model, training services are provided by colleges, community-based organizations, and other organizations. Their investment of non-federal funds in these services may be reimbursed by USDA using 50-50 funds. Using this model, DHR can increase its capacity to provide education and skills training so FSET participants can get living-wage jobs.

Recently, DHR changed its service delivery model from a job-search-only program to one that provides more intensive services directed at ABAWDs in areas that have lost their waivers of the time limit. In addition, it will soon launch a 50-50 reimbursement pilot project in Baltimore City that includes five community-based organizations and one community college. The pilot, which focuses on high-barrier populations, will provide wrap-around and supportive services, as well as vocational education in manufacturing, construction, and green jobs. DHR is hiring additional staff and plans to implement a centralized model for FSET staffing. Plans are underway to modify its TANF MIS to accommodate FSET participants, and improve the collection of outcome data. DHR is moving closer to making its vision a reality.