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Human Services Executive Deputy Secretary Visits Bidwell Training Center, a Pittsburgh Program Helping SNAP Recipients Gain Job Skills, Find Careers

07/13/2022

Pittsburgh, PA - Today, Department of Human Services (DHS) Executive Deputy Secretary Andrew Barnes visited the Bidwell Training Center in Pittsburgh, a SNAP 50/50 site that provides job-specific skills training and creates pathways to employment for people who receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.   

“DHS seeks to help Pennsylvanians live with dignity and safety by ensuring they can meet their most essential needs, but this should not be where our work stops,” said Barnes. “We are always looking for ways to help the people we serve take an economic step forward, and employment and training partners like Bidwell do incredible work to provide the support people need to help Pennsylvanians invest in themselves and their futures.” 

SNAP 50/50 sites are partnerships between non-profit organizations, the United States Department of Agriculture, and DHS at the state level. Non-profit organizations leverage their funding with matched funds from the federal government to provide career-specific skills training for people receiving SNAP benefits. SNAP 50/50 program participants gain skills through program completion that help them get a job and excel in career paths like culinary arts, hospitality, banking, health care, and skilled labor – in demand fields with good paying jobs. The programs also help with job placement and job retention skills, supports that can help people adjust to employment and be empowered to succeed in their new career.  

SNAP 50/50 partnerships come at no cost to the commonwealth and create great value by helping participants gain in-demand skills that can help them find a career path and move off public assistance like SNAP and reach self-sufficiency. By helping participants move into the workforce, SNAP 50/50 supports communities that need skilled workers and supports the broader workforce infrastructure and economy. 

There are currently 28 SNAP 50/50 programs around Pennsylvania, offering a different array of education and training opportunities. Learn more about SNAP 50/50 partnerships in PA here.  

For more than 50 years Bidwell Training Center (BTC) has provided pathways out of poverty at no cost to qualified Pennsylvania residents. BTC has six educational programs that reflect current workforce needs of the Pittsburgh region. As reported in BTC’s 2018 Annual Report, their job placement rate was 85 percent. Their innovative approach of partnering with area industries to tailor educational programs to better help adults-in-transition find careers is a part of an educational model that is replicated across the world. 

For more information on DHS’ employment and training programs, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina - ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov

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