Just a few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Goodwill of North Georgia Career Center in Decatur, Ga., to see firsthand how they help people in need in their community. The Career Center plays an important role in the lives of many hardworking men and women as home to several SNAP Employment & Training Programs (SNAP E&T) designed to help Georgians acquire the skills needed to find jobs that will enable them to support themselves and their families.
While there, I had the chance to speak with graduates and current participants of SNAP E&T programs. Mr. Kenneth Hudak, a graduate of the Apartment Maintenance/Building Technician employment and training program at Goodwill, told me about the 10 years he spent unemployed while caring for a friend with multiple sclerosis. Mr. Hudak decided to pursue air conditioning repair and replacement because he believed the industry was largely immune to economic fluctuations and would provide stable employment. Mr. Hudak worked to receive HVAC certifications through the Goodwill program and is now working in the HVAC maintenance field and no longer participates in SNAP.
I also had a chance to meet with several trainees in the Women in Non-Traditional Occupations: Highway Construction program. It was their first day in the program, and they were clearly excited about the opportunities that would be open to them with the skills and knowledge they would gain over the next seven weeks. We talked about the barriers they face to getting – and keeping – work and how the SNAP E&T program was helping equip them for their next steps.
I was impressed to see how the programs were working to empower SNAP participants and put them on a path to a better, self-sufficient life for themselves and their families. FNS is committed to supporting work and self-sufficiency among SNAP participants, and we rely on our partners to help provide them with the tools to qualify for, secure, and maintain steady employment. We all share in the responsibility of helping those in need. Thanks to the work of the Goodwill Career Center and others like it, we’re heading in the right direction.