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Gov. Edwards, Officials Establish Work Training Program for Medicaid Expansion Recipients

by Minden Press-Herald

Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Dept. of Health (LDH) and Louisiana Delta Community College Chancellor Dennis Epps to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to officially create a collaborative pilot work training initiative between LDCC in Monroe and LDH.

“We are excited to be able to announce this pilot program that will build on the existing success of the State’s Medicaid Expansion efforts,” said Gov. Edwards. It offers a practical and Louisiana-specific approach to connect expansion recipients to viable training opportunities that will lead to better jobs and better-earning potential. Creating a program that is helpful but not punitive is something we have consistently been working on. State lawmakers came together and spoke loud and clear on this issue. And with the recent court decisions against the faulty design of similar programs in other states, we are even more convinced that this is the correct path take. I want to thank everyone who has made this possible and especially Rep. Katrina Jackson and Representative Frank Hoffman for their leadership and guidance in this effort.”

The overall goal of the pilot is to develop a work training promotion program model that can be customized by communities across Louisiana.

“This work-engagement pilot program is an opportunity for those on Medicaid expansion to advance themselves and their families’ quality of life through the dignity of work,” said Dr. Gee. “We look forward to ensuring the success of this model so that it can be replicated throughout our state for so many other Louisianans who are looking forward to the same kind of opportunities.”

Rep. Katrina Jackson authored Act 271, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and serves as the umbrella legislation for this project. It is also in line with the goals of Rep. Frank Hoffmann’s HB 3 from the First Special Session of 2018.

“I want to thank all of my constituents who were part of an advisory council for District 16 who helped develop this bill, Gov. Edwards and everyone who came together to make this happen,” said Rep. Jackson. “This is not just about training but about helping our people transition to a work environment that gives them a hand up and enables them to get to the point where they can take care of themselves and their families by being gainfully employed.”

“The goal of my legislation was never to cause anyone to lose their Medicaid coverage, but rather to help them find solid employment,” said Rep. Frank Hoffmann. “I am pleased that we have reached this point and anticipate great success for those who participate and make the most of this opportunity.”

From the beginning, Gov. Edwards has stressed the following:

  • Medicaid Expansion is by definition for the working poor people of the state. Expansion enrollees by and large are working, have conditions that prevent them from being able to work or have caretaking responsibilities.
  • The main goal is to support people finding jobs and jobs training opportunities. LSU economists have found that overall expansion brought more than 19,000 new jobs, and a study in Ohio showed that employment was boosted by 15 percent due to expansion.
  • The pilot will include two LDCC campuses – the main campus in Monroe and the campus in the city of West Monroe.

“We’re thrilled that LDCC has been selected as the start of this pilot program,” said Chancellor Epps. “Our faculty and staff look forward to working with the students and helping them prepare for a brighter future.”

The first invitations to participate will be distributed this summer and will continue throughout the year. The pilot will be implemented in two stages, and the time participants will have to complete the program depends on which course of study they select. A total of five training programs will be offered:

  • Certified Nurse Assistant (CAN)/Behavioral Health Technician (239 Hours)
  • Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) (160 Hours)
  • Environmental Services Technician (120 Hours)
  • Forklift & OSHA 10 (Wagner Special) (24 hours)
  • Mortgage Documents Specialist (18 Hours)
  • Click here for the MOU.

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