Friday Five: Bipartisan bill proposes expanding Pell Grants to cover short-term job training

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March 22, 2019
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about Maryland’s approved Medicaid waiver; a bipartisan effort to fill the skills gap; how automation could address a shrinking federal workforce; and why one county is encouraging greater SNAP participation among eligible residents.

1. CMS gives the OK to Maryland Medicaid waiver, allowing diabetes management, dental care demonstrations

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) recently approved Maryland’s Section 1115 waiver. Fierce Healthcare reports the approval is an amendment to an existing waiver, which includes a unique payment model. The amendment will allow Maryland to expand access to dental care and substance abuse treatment, while also extending its diabetes management program.

2. Republican-led states pursue Medicaid changes: 7 things to know

Becker’s Hospital Review breaks down potential changes to Medicaid in Republican-led states. These could include decisions about whether or not to expand Medicaid, applying for partial expansion, and changes to Medicaid funding. Also under consideration is implementation of Medicaid work requirements, drug tests, and more.

3. Sen. Portman at Stark State Akron says JOBS Act can fill the skills gap

The JOBS Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation introduced last week, would expand the Pell Grant program to cover short-term job training and be available to students of all ages. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Sen. Portman, who co-wrote the bill, believes it will help individuals learn skills that will enable them to fill open jobs and support local businesses.

4. Automation will be a requirement of a shrinking workforce, not its cause, officials say

The President’s 2020 budget proposal mentions automation as a means of reducing the number of federal employees, but officials say it’s the opposite: As baby boomers retire, there won’t be enough mid-career professionals to take their place. According to NextGov, reducing the number of employees has not been a primary focus in discussions about automation in the past. Instead, the emphasis has been on eliminating low-value work and officials state they won’t be using a reduced headcount as a measure of success.

5. Get SNAP in a snap

Clinton County, New York wants residents to get the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits they are eligible for. In an interview with the Press-Republican, the Clinton County Nutrition Outreach and Education Program Coordinator encourages individuals to apply and breaks down what you can purchase with SNAP, how to apply, and what the qualifications are. She adds that SNAP is a benefit to the local economy and that use of the benefits does not negatively impact other participants in the program.

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