Summarizes best practices for states interested in developing robust SNAP E&T programs based on findings from Washington’s SNAP E&T program.

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is part of the Nutrition Title of the Farm Bill. The SNAP Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) program, administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was created in 1985 to help families exit SNAP by becoming self-sufficient through work. Skills are a critical component of family economic security particularly in today’s economy—two in three jobs created in the next decade will require at least some postsecondary education or training. Yet in fiscal year (FY) 2010, four out of five SNAP households did not include anyone with education beyond high school; an estimated one-third did not include a high school graduate. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that limited education and work histories make it hard for SNAP E&T participants to obtain employment (p.i).

Although SNAP E&T has the potential to provide extremely robust services and supports to a population that is often difficult to serve through other workforce development programs, historically the program has been significantly underutilized by most states. Recently, though, there has been growing interest in SNAP E&T at both the state and federal levels as policymakers acknowledge the importance of job training in helping SNAP recipients move into stable employment and, ultimately, off of SNAP. In addition, changes to SNAP E&T made under the recent Farm Bill, including new funding for pilot programs, create a tremendous opportunity to develop significant new, long-term sustainable education and training programs designed to help very low-income and low-skilled SNAP recipients gain the skills they need to move into stable, family-supporting employment” (p.i).

“Since its inception in 2005, the program has become an important part of the state’s comprehensive workforce development system as over 40,000 individuals have received employment, training and support services. Outcome data for people who began BFE&T [Basic Food Employment and Training] services in 2009, tracked for 2 years, show that 71 percent became employed with a median hourly wage over $11.00 per hour. The program has generated over $33M for local nonprofits and Community & Technical Colleges to deliver program specific services” (p.i).

(Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Replicating Success: Recommendations and Best Practices from Washington State’s SNAP E&T Program (BFET)

Major Findings & Recommendations

Recommendations and best practices reported by the resource include: • “The Value of SNAP E&T’s Flexibility” (p.1) • “Place Skills at the Center” (p.1) • “Tie to Local Labor Market Demand” (p.1) • “Complement, Don’t Duplicate Other Workforce/Related Programs” (p.2) • “The Value of Third-Party Match Models” (p.2) • “Consider Starting With Focused Pilot Programs” (p.3) • “Build on the Strength of Local Partnerships: Collaborative, Not Directive Approach” (p.4) • “Foundational Elements: Strategic Plan, Fiscal Expertise, Technical Assistance and Tools” (p.4) • “Integrate Support Services into SNAP E&T” (p.5) • “Build Upon Existing State Administrative Structures/Capacity” (p.5) • “Consider All-Voluntary Programs” (p.6) • “Encourage Community College/Community-Based Organization Collaboration” (p.6) • “Streamline Eligibility and Billing Systems” (p.7) • “Include Outcome Measures, Data Collection and Reporting” (p.7) • “No Wrong Door (Honest Broker Approach)” (p.7) • “Partnership with FNS” (p.8) • “Utilize 100 Percent Funds to Build Program Infrastructure” (p.9) • “Utilize 100 Percent Funds to Seed Growth of New Providers” (p.9) • “Building 50-50 SNAP E&T Funding Models” (p.9) (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)