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Strategies to Empower People Program (STEP)
The goal of the Strategies to Empower People (STEP) Program is to provide 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.
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.
What Supportive Services are Provided?
Participants in the STEP Program are provided supportive services to enable them to participate in various work activities and to progress toward self sufficiency. Services may include:
- Child care
- Hearing aids
- Medical exams and drug tests required for employment or training
- Uniforms/clothing, safety equipment, tools, and some other items needed for work or training
Who Must Participate in 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 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.