Work and Career Development Requirements for ABAWD SNAP Participants
WHEREAS, for the past nineteen years, due to high unemployment rates in Louisiana, the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service has granted Louisiana’s request to exempt certain able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) in Louisiana from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) time limit set forth in the federal regulation 7 CFR 273.24;
WHEREAS, without this exemption, ABAWDs seeking SNAP assistance are only able to qualify for benefits for three months in a thirty-six month period unless the participant can document satisfactory work, education, or volunteer activities, as qualified under federal law;
WHEREAS, recognizing the daily challenges faced by those receiving government assistance, it is a goal and a priority in the State of Louisiana to provide access to needed benefits while also providing ABAWD participants in Louisiana’s SNAP program with tools to help achieve meaningful and sustainable employment;
WHEREAS, Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) currently operates fifty-nine (59) Business and Career Solutions Centers around the state that offer skills assessment services, job search assistance, and referrals to adult education programs seeking to connect individuals with meaningful and sustainable employment;
WHEREAS, Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) currently operates Louisiana’s comprehensive adult education system, WorkReady U, and partners through co-enrollment with LWC’s Business and Career Solutions Centers, offering services at nearly 200 adult education instructional sites around Louisiana;
WHEREAS, approximately one in four ABAWDs are eighteen- to twenty-four-year-olds who would qualify for certain federal incentives provided through LWC, expressly aimed at assisting unemployed youth who are out of school to obtain basic educational certifications, job skills, and sustainable employment;
WHEREAS, the State of Louisiana, through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), in order to provide structured support in the pursuit of meaningful and sustainable employment, is permitted to create and enforce Louisiana’s own work-related requirements of ABAWDs who are not currently employed, attending school, enrolled in a job training program, or otherwise exempt from current federal work registration requirements, including requiring participating in basic skills assessment and remediation, and obtaining assistance with resumé preparation, job searches, and enrollment in education and training courses.
NOW THEREFORE, I, JOHN BEL EDWARDS, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: DCFS and LWC shall partner to require that, in order to continue participating in SNAP through DCFS, all ABAWDs who are not currently employed, attending school, enrolled in a job training program, or otherwise exempt from current federal work registration requirements shall register and participate in-person with programs offered by LWC Business and Career Solutions Centers providing basic job skills assessments, training and employment assistance.
SECTION 2: DCFS and LWC shall develop policies, procedures and an implementation schedule to effect these requirements on or before July 1, 2016 for all ABAWDs who are not currently employed, attending school, enrolled in a job training program, or otherwise exempt from current federal work registration requirements, and shall adopt any administrative rules necessary to implement this Executive Order.
SECTION 3: All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the State of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed, within their respective authority, to cooperate with DCFS, LWC, and LCTCS in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 4: This Order is effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 21st day of April, 2016.
John Bel Edwards
Secretary of State