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If you are a work-eligible individual receiving Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) benefits in Louisiana, you must participate in the Strategies to Empower People (STEP) Program.
STEP provides opportunities for work-eligible families of FITAP to receive job training, employment and supportive services to enable them to become self-sufficient. STEP is the result of the Personal Responsibility and Universal Engagement Act of 2003 passed by the Louisiana Legislature.
Are you eligible for the STEP program?
All work-eligible FITAP applicants/recipients of the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) must participate in the STEP Program. Work-eligible recipients are defined as FITAP adults under age 60 and FITAP teen heads of household, excluding those FITAP adults and teens heads of household who are disabled or caring for a member who is disabled.
What activities are included?
With certain limitations, the following activities may count toward program participation requirements:
- Any paid employment, including subsidized employment.
- Unpaid work experience programs which provide on-site experience and general job skills development.
- On-the-job training (OJT) provides on-site training for a specific job skill, and subsidized salary.
- Job Readiness/Job Search provides job-seeking skills and training in how to keep a job.
- Vocational Education develops specific marketable job skills.
- Secondary school attendance, GED preparation, and education directly related to employment.
Benefits you may receive by participating in STEP:
- Hard skills training in an in-demand industry
- Soft skills training in communication and customer service
- Job readiness training and placement
- Work experience
- Resolution of barriers to employment, such as criminal record, legal services, or driver’s license suspension
- Support from personal career navigator and success coach
- Referrals to other community services
To help support you and remove possible problems you have in completing the STEP program, you may be receive assistance for these and other expenses:
- Child care cost
- Hearing aids
- Medical exams and drug tests required for employment or training
- Items needed for work, such as work clothing, tools, or textbooks
What Is the Penalty for Failure to Participate?
When a FITAP recipient who is required to participate in the STEP Program fails to participate without good cause, the agency, as a last resort, will sanction a family. The sanction results in a loss of FITAP benefits and could affect Food Stamps and Medicaid benefits.