Department of Human Services and Department of Commerce Announce Opportunities for SNAP Pilot Program

For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Contacts :

Meredith Krantz, DHS  

Jacquelyn Reineke, DCEO

Workforce initiative provides participants job training and promotes economic growth

CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced openings are still available for the Employment Opportunities, Personalized Services, Individualized Training, and Career Planning (EPIC) pilot program. This new pilot program is designed to provide SNAP recipients with valuable training and skills to help them gain meaningful employment.

"Working through innovative programs like EPIC, Illinoisans receiving food assistance can gain the education and skills they need on their journey toward self-sufficiency," DCEO Acting Director Sean McCarthy said. "We hope that this program can serve as a launching point for broader engagement of SNAP participants as we support them in their movement toward independence."

"We would like to encourage SNAP recipients to learn about the various education and training opportunities like EPIC that are available to them," said DHS Secretary Dimas. "We are proud to be collaborating across state agencies and with local partners to implement innovative programs like EPIC that have a meaningful impact on the lives of Illinois residents."

The program's primary participants are adults without children who are currently able to work, and are currently SNAP recipients. EPIC services include one-on-one career training, connections to employers in high-growth, high-demand career pathways, and an individualized comprehensive plan to help throughout the career navigation process. The pilot will evaluate the effects of specialized services for the participants.

Illinois was one of ten states across the country to receive a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Services division. Illinois was awarded $21 million to participate in this pilot program.

Counties participating in EPIC include Cook, Winnebago, Boone, Adams, Schuyler, Brown, Pike, St. Clair, Clinton, Washington, Perry, Franklin, Jackson, Williamson; voluntary: Stark, Marshall, Peoria, Woodford, McLean, Tazewell, Mason, Fulton, DeWitt, Macon, Knox, Warren, Henderson, Hancock, McDonough, Monroe, Randolph and Stephenson.

EPIC is a partnership between the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (Commerce), Illinois workNet, and twenty-three community-based organizations. Also, working with this pilot program are the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board.

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