Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana issued an executive order that will institute workforce training requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents who receive food stamp benefits.
Gov. Edwards issued the order on Apr. 21. It is expected to impact 47,000 Louisiana residents, WBRZ reports.
Federal law states Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) aged 18-49 who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program must work at least 20 hours a week or be enrolled in a job training program. If they do not comply within three months, then they lose their food stamp benefits.
Louisiana has one the largest rates of unemployment in the country, its flailing oil and gas industry made worse by the drop in crude prices. For 19 years, the state’s governors have requested and been granted a federal waiver exempting their constituents from the federal SNAP requirement, according to The New Orleans Advocate.
Former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal declined to renew the waiver in 2015, his last year in office. Gov. Edwards swiftly requested the waiver after his Jan. 11 inauguration, and is now seeking to implement new SNAP requirements unique to Louisiana.
The 47,000 ABAWDs residing in Louisiana will be required to participate in job training programs, according to the new rule that will be implemented in July 1.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission and the state’s Department of Children and Family Services will contact ABAWDs who qualify for the new requirements and help them enroll in new job training programs, WWLTV reports.
Those who refuse will lose their SNAP benefits.
“Louisiana values both compassion and sustainable employment that provides for our families,” Edwards said in a statement.
The governor added that his executive order “establishes practical work-related requirements, while recognizing the daily challenges faced by those receiving government assistance and connecting these citizens with the tools to help achieve meaningful employment."
The job training programs will largely be federally funded, WBRZ reports.
Do Children and Family Services secretary Marketa Walters vowed that her department “will meet each individual participant where they are to help make a difference in each life in a meaningful way.”