CADIZ - Harrison County Board of Commissioners met Thursday. The board had postponed its usual meeting to Thursday so that the commissioners could provide testimony on House Bill 375 Wednesday afternoon in Columbus.
Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) presented four agreements before the board related to helping food assistance recipients find work
DJFS Director Scott Blackburn said the objective is to eradicate poverty.
"It is important that in addition to providing a monetary food assistance benefit that we provide some training," Blackburn said. "The local economy is improving and we did not qualify for the unemployment exemption.
The 16 counties in which the work requirement will be waived are Adams, Brown, Clinton, Coshocton, Highland, Huron, Jefferson, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Pike and Scioto.
"With these agreements we can provide job training and work experience that will hopefully lead to a career and a pathway out of poverty," Blackburn said.
According to DJFS, in accordance with federal law, able-bodied adults without dependents may receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for only three months in any three-year period, unless those individuals work or attend job training for at least 20 hours each week. The 20-hour-a-week requirement was waived in Ohio during the recession, but as the economy recovers and the job market improves, ODJFS will reinstitute that requirement in most counties. The change will affect approximately 134,000 Ohioans out of the more than 1.8 million who receive food assistance.
The work requirement applies to adults between 18 and 50 years old who are physically and mentally fit for work and who are neither pregnant nor have children younger than 18.
County departments of job and family services are required to ensure that able-bodied adults without dependents are attending a qualifying work or training program for at least 20 hours each week. Individuals who are not meeting the 20-hour-a-week requirement after three months risk losing their SNAP benefits. SNAP is a federally funded program that provides approximately 1.8 million Ohioans with an average benefit of $132 per month. More than 40 percent of recipients are children. SNAP benefits can be spent only on eligible food items and cannot be spent on alcohol, tobacco, restaurant food or other prohibited items.
Under agreement 8-14 the DJFS will contract with Goodwill Industries for training not to exceed $1300. Agreement 9-14 contracts with the Ohio State University Extension Office for training including interviewing skills and budgeting not to exceed $9,967. Agreement 10-14 contracts with Midwest Career and Technical Center not to exceed $7,582. Also included in the bundle is agreement 11-14 which contracts with Harrison County Rural Transit for transportation of clients to and from training and their 20 hour work assignments not to exceed $25,000.
Commissioner also were requested by Blackburn to pass agreement 7-14 which is a modification for the wind storm grant. The board received an update from Mike McGlumphy, Workforce Investment Act director at the Jefferson County CAC on the heavy wind storm grant clean up operations.
The program is currently working three 8 man crews and currently have three openings for qualified laborers. Dislocated workers, long-term unemployed and under-employed are eligible along with anyone whose business or employment was closed by the storm given first priority. To apply go to either the Harrison or Jefferson County Job Center.
McGlumphy said that the program had been a success to date with 62 workers having gone through the program. According to the director 21 employees are still active and 41 have exited the program. The program has sent 19 of those workers on to other employment,
"Which is real good," said McGlumphy. "That is close to fifty percent and again these are long-term unemployed we have taught work skills and have got back into the work force."
In other business:
Jonathan Roales, Agriculture and Natural Resource Technician for The Harrison County Soil & Water Conservation District told the board that he had received permission to place a tree at the Rural Transit offices in Cadiz. The board approved the purchase and planting of a species to be named at a later date depending on availability. Roales also introduced the new Watershed Management Specialist for Harrison and Carroll counties. Josh Britton was hired with grant funding and will split his time between the two counties.
Sheriff Ronald J. Myers commended Bethel and Norris for testifying before the Ohio House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. The sheriff also reminded that the monthly gas and oil safety meeting will be held Monday , Jan 27 at 10am in the meeting room of the library in Cadiz.
County Auditor Patrick Moore asked the board to extend the deadline for dog tag purchases from Jan, 31 to Feb, 4 due to the date falling on a Friday. The board agreed to the extension. "That will allow the dog wardens time to go out and pick them up on Monday and Tuesday and alleviate any penalties for people who buy them at the end of the week,"
The board passed agreement 6-14 a memorandum of understanding with Harcatus Senior Nutrition.
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