The Skill Start program provides short-term occupational skill training and job search services to individuals who have been determined eligible for Food Stamps by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and referred to the Department of Career Services.

To be eligible for Skill Start services an individual must be newly enrolled in the Food Stamp Program by DTA and ineligible for other public assistance.

Occupational skill training provided by qualified vendors must meet the following criteria to be approved for the Skill Start program:
  • The total cost of training, including tuition, books, materials, supplies, and any associated license/certification fees, must not exceed $1,500.00 per trainee.
  • Each training course must be completed within 6 weeks (42 calendar days, or less).
  • Approved Skill Start training courses of lesser cost and length may be combined as long as the total cost per trainee does not exceed the $1,500.00 limit and the total length of training is not more than 6 weeks (42 calendar days).

Skill Start may provide a $35.00 stipend at the successful completion of training. A second $35.00 stipend may be awarded after the completion of five job interviews or entry into employment, which ever comes first. These payments are made to offset the costs incurred in travel to the training and job search activities.

The Skill Start payment voucher will be completed and submitted electronically by the training vendor upon completion of or withdrawal from the training program. If a participant withdraws from training, the requested payment amount must be consistent with the terms of the training vendor's refund policy, to be provided in the Standard Contract Agreement as part of the Course outline.

Solicitation of training services for the Skill Start program is a rolling procurement consistent with regulations found at 801 CMR 21.05. Specifications for the procurement of Skill Start training services can be accessed at Comm-PASS RFR File number: SKILLSTRAINING 13-01. Go to