OTC launches new program to benefit food stamp recipients.

Published: Feb. 20, 2017 at 4:53 AM CST
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Ozarks Technical Community College is one of two institutions in the state of Missouri picked to pilot a unique education program.

"The SkillUp Missouri program is geared towards offering training tuition to people who are on food stamps," said Jim Abramovitz, Executive Director of the OTC Center for Workforce Development.

Those who meet this qualification can take free courses, either for a certificate or college credit, in one of the most in-demand fields for this region.

"[It offered for] programs like allied health, chemo dialysis, CNA, pharmacy technician, medical coding technician," said Abramovitz.

The program is being paid for through a federal grant. In addition to OTC, several other agencies were given funds to assist with this program.

"Tuition is free for this program and also if additional assistance is needed with babysitting and transportation our partner, the Missouri Job Center will handle that part of the program," Abramovitz explained.

The job center will also help those enrolled in the program find work.

"Because of the fact that we work with so many local employers we are also going to be helping people with their resumes whenever they're finished or while they're working on it. We'll also help direct them through any upcoming hiring events or just the jobs we have posted," said Megan Short with the Missouri Job Center.

Right now only 12 people are enrolled in the program through the OTC Center for Workforce Development. Organizers hope to get 60 people on board by September 30th.

"This is going to change their lives completely. Taking a course like a certificate course, for example learning how to become a chemo dialysis technician, that type of job is much in demand. It's a steady job that pays good benefits and the income level should allow them to sustain their families long term and get off of food stamps, that is the main goal," said Abramovitz.

SkillUP Missouri is a program piloted by the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA), the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division and University of Missouri Extension. The program is a component of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Family Nutrition Services (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

For more information or to enroll in the SkillUP Missouri program, call OTC's Center for Workforce Development at 417-447-8888.

For additional information on this program visit the following website: https://mydss.mo.gov/food-assistance/missouri-employment-training-program