Emphasizing Education & Skills Training

Client Success Story

Laree Postoak began her journey with the OK SNAP Works program with an orientation at community-based provider Public Strategies on September 20, 2017. Ms. Postoak had been incarcerated for nearly two years. She began Public Strategies’ Work Forward workshops on September 25 and was dedicated in her attendance to every training session. After several weeks of consistent participation and diligently searching for employment, Laree was hired by Urban Farmhouse Designs on October 31, 2017. Laree has received several promotions during her tenure and was granted the privilege to travel to Dallas, TX to train other employees. She feels OK SNAP Works has been a great support to her, and believes it was the factor that helped her to move on to the next chapter of her career.

Ms. Postoak continues to stay connected to the OK SNAP Works program by referring people to the program and encouraging her employer to hire individuals from OK SNAP Works. She believes in giving back and sharing her story with others. Laree experienced the level of care that is provided, the importance of the content that is taught, and how one life can change when determination meets hard work.

Oklahoma State Highlight

Prior to 2016, Oklahoma’s SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program was operated internally as a mandatory job search program in only one Department of Human Services (DHS) Center in Oklahoma County. The SNAP E&T program was funded completely with an $80,922 federal grant. In 2016, a pilot program was initiated to transition the SNAP E&T program from a mandatory to a voluntary program and was expanded to all of Oklahoma County. Instead of operating the program internally, a contract was procured with Public Strategies Inc. (PSI). Throughout the pilot, PSI provided Guided Job Search, Job Search Training, Basic Education, High School Equivalency, Vocational Education, and Job Retention components to all SNAP recipients who volunteered for the program.

In 2017, Oklahoma began the process of expanding the SNAP E&T program to Tulsa County, the State’s second-largest county. It was determined by the DHS Contracts and Procurement team that a Request for Proposals (RFP) would be required to add additional providers. Numerous contacts were made with various potential providers, philanthropists, and governmental entities. These new potential providers would be paid using the 50/50 reimbursement model. 

In 2018, Oklahoma began participating in the FNS SNAP to Skills program. Through this partnership, the State was able to receive technical assistance to develop the processes and tools necessary to efficiently implement the growing program. It was also decided to rebrand the SNAP E&T program as the OK SNAP Works program to emphasize the program’s changing emphasis on education and job-skills training.

In August 2018, the RFP process in Oklahoma County resulted in a continuation of the partnership with PSI, as well as a new partnership with the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). The CEO was also awarded a contract in Tulsa County. Other RFP recipients in Tulsa are Madison Strategies Group, Tulsa Goodwill, and Women in Recovery.

The expertise provided by SNAP to Skills assisted OK SNAP Works staff with the information to onboard our new providers successfully. In 2019, the continuation of SNAP to Skills in Oklahoma will allow OK SNAP Works to continue expanding its knowledge and prepare greater expansion. Oklahoma is currently seeking to contract with a Tribal nation and considering other areas of the State for expansion.