Local and state agencies are teaming up to bring a new program to eight Eastern Kentucky counties that they hope will help increase employment among residents who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
Partners in the Paths 2 Promise pilot project include the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), the Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment branded as the Kentucky Career Centers (KCC), Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE), and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).
“Paths 2 Promise will help us determine how we can best assist a segment of our workforce in getting on the right track to rewarding and sustaining careers through a combination of services provided by our partner agencies,” said Traci Nolen, project manager for EKCEP. “This really is an inclusive effort to solving issues with employment in our service area, and one that we hope will be a model for the rest of the nation.”
Partners and employers in the Promise Zone counties, which include Bell, Harlan, Clay Letcher, Leslie, Perry, Knox, and Whitley counties, will coordinate to help educate and skill up participants through work-based learning opportunities, internships, and on-the-job-training (OJT), as well as educational and training programs.
Eligible participants in the pilot include current SNAP recipient work registrants who are deemed eligible by DCBS. Involvement in the program is voluntary and participants will not lose benefits if they decline to participate in Paths 2 Promise.
The program will begin March 1, 2016. SNAP work registrants will be able to enroll for one of the open slots in the program. Participants will be randomly split into the expanded services or general services group.
Participants assigned to the expanded services group will begin the process of intensive career advising services with a personal career navigator to create a personalized career plan. Then, a team of experts, including a success coach, will help support the participant in meeting their goals outlined in the career plan. For example, enrolling in classes at the local community college to become a certified medical assistant. Participants assigned to the general services group will have an opportunity to receive services currently available to the public.
Once assigned, participants in the expanded group will begin the process of intensive career advising services with a personal career navigator to create a personalized career plan. Then, a team of experts, including a success coach, will help support the participant in meeting their goals outlined in the career plan. For example, enrolling in classes at the local community college to become a certified medical assistant.
“People who enroll in Paths 2 Promise really have nothing to lose by participating, but possibly quite a lot to gain,” Nolen explained. “Slots in this pilot are limited, so I encourage anyone interested in getting help to go back to school, getting certified for a new career path, or finding full-time employment to contact us as soon as possible.”
If you have any questions regarding the program or how you can be enrolled, contact your local Kentucky Career Center at one of the following locations:
- Bell or Whitley Co. - Martha Williams, 606-337-3044, ex 207
- Clay County - Sherry Marcum, 606-598-5127, ex 261
- Harlan County - Jill Blevins, 606-573-5330, ex 238
- Knox County - Candace Smith, 606-546-2639, ex 16
- Perry, Leslie, or Letcher County - Allison Brown, 606-436-3161, ex 5016
Potential participants can also contact Kentucky Adult Education centers in Bell, Harlan, Clay, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, and Whitley counties, or a Paths 2 Promise Success Coach at Hazard Community and Technical College, Southeast Community and Technical College, or Somerset Community and Technical College. You can also register online at www.paths2promise.com.
The Paths 2 Promise pilot study is a SNAP and Employment & Training national research project designed to discover what helps unemployed and low-wage working SNAP recipients increase their earnings and advance in the workplace. Results of the study will be used to help shape future employment and training programs locally and nationally.
This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider.
EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services, administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program for dislocated coal miners and their spouses, and is the White House-designated lead organization for the federal TechHire designation for Eastern Kentucky. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org, http://www.jobsight.org and http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.