Influencing National Policy

Onondaga Community College’s Eliyahu Lotzar testifies on Capitol Hill.

Onondaga Community College’s Economic and Workforce Development office is helping influence national policy. In July the Congressional Subcommittee on Nutrition held a public hearing titled, “The Next Farm Bill: Pathways to Success for SNAP Households.” SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The subcommittee was chaired by Glenn Thompson, a Congressman from central Pennsylvania. The purpose of his hearing was to better understand how SNAP households can improve their education and labor force involvement with the goal of self-reliance.  Three expert witnesses were asked to share their stories with the subcommittee including representatives from Georgetown University, Catholic Charities in Fort Worth, Texas and Onondaga Community College.

Eliyahu Lotzar represented OCC at the hearing. He’s a Student Success Coordinator with the College’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development who knows first-hand the struggles Central New York residents experience on a daily basis. “I wanted to let them know the Workforce Development model OCC uses is an effective way to replace benefits with sustainable careers and that work requirements need to be accompanied with a path out of poverty,” said Lotzar. “I also wanted them to know training programs should include a focus on soft skills and mindset. We have had success with those here.”

Lotzar appreciated the opportunity to be part of the conversation and to see lawmakers from both sides of the aisle work together. “They were committed and caring. They presented their positions and listened to their colleagues for the most part. It gave me hope and encouraged me to keep speaking, keep stating my beliefs, keep listening and keep trying to make a difference.”

You can view the hearing here. Lotzar’s testimony begins at 17:36.