The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is a state supervised and locally administered social services system. Providing oversight and guidance to 120 local offices across the state, VDSS delivers a wide variety of services and benefits to over 1.6 million Virginians each year. Among the employment programs are VIEW (The Virginia Initiative for Employment Not Welfare) and SNAPET (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training.
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized up to $200 million for the development, implementation, and evaluation of up to 10 pilot projects designed to reduce dependency and increase work effort under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAPET). Virginia was one of 10 states to receive a grant. The Virginia Department of Social Services is the grant recipient.
Virginia will target innovative employment and training services to SNAP recipients in certain areas of the state through its community college network. There will be three tracks customized to the skill levels of the participants with each earning at least one industry-recognized credential with the ultimate goal of meaningful employment. The community colleges taking part in the project are: Tidewater CC in Norfolk, Thomas Nelson CC in Hampton, Piedmont Virginia CC in Charlottesville, Southside Virginia CC in Keysville, Danville CC in Danville, Patrick Henry CC in Martinsville and Virginia Highlands in Abingdon. All areas served by the colleges will be included with referrals coming from the local departments of social services.