Pilot program moving people from welfare to work

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAFAYETTE, LA (KPLC-TV) – A state pilot program known as "Connections for Work" is moving more people from government assistance into good paying jobs, according the program's administrators.

Louisianans who receive government assistance, whether it's food stamps, disability, welfare or if they're just not able to pay child support, would be eligible to participate in the program if it's expanded statewide.

The program, which was designed to streamline government services, started last September in Lafayette. Since then, it's been expanded into surrounding parishes. The Louisiana Workforce Commission helps provide participants, referred to them by the Department of Social Services, with the training and other resources they need in order to gain employment.

"When they're ready, they come to us," said Glenn Dugas, executive administrator for the Lafayette Workforce Investment Board. "We help them get off of welfare and food stamps by helping find productive employment."

Though final numbers are not in yet, the program has been able to help 114 of about 300 applicants find jobs in just its first six months. The average job pays $10/hr. Dugas expects final results to be more around 60 to70 percent.

Program participants must be job ready within 90 days.

The official test-run for the program ended on April 30th, however the partnership between the Workforce Commission and DSS has continued in Lafayette.

Dugas said there is a possibility that the program could expand into the Lake Charles area, but state officials will first have to examine the results from the pilot programs in Lafayette and surrounding areas.

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