The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a critical work support for many low-income people. SNAP’s Employment and Training (E&T) program can provide SNAP participants with needed education, training, and support services so they can obtain meaningful employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency.

This study is the fourth annual report to Congress that evaluates ten SNAP Pilot Projects in California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. The report identifies grantees’ enrollment goals and services, as well as their respective programs’ achievements and challenges. The evaluation used a random assignment research design to assess the level of support offered to SNAP participants on job search assistance, training, and basic and vocational education, as well as subsidized and unsubsidized work experience.

The evaluation of each pilot project uses a random assignment research design to designate participants as either treatment or control group members and includes four components:

  1.  an impact analysis that will identify what works and for whom by examining impacts on employment and earnings, public-assistance receipt, and other outcomes such as food security, health, well-being, and housing;
  2.  an implementation analysis that will document the context and operations of each pilot project as well as help interpret and understand impacts within and across pilot projects;
  3. a participation analysis that will examine the characteristics and service paths of pilot participants and assess whether the presence of the pilot projects and their services or participation requirements affect whether people apply for SNAP or continue to receive SNAP benefits; and
  4. a benefit-cost analysis that will estimate the return on each dollar invested

(This document is 42 pages long.)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The authors provided the following findings:

  • The majority of grantees met their enrollment targets, which ranged from about 3,000 to 5,400. Differences in enrollment across grantees reflect different target pilot sizes, recruitment strategies, and pilot-specific challenges.
  • After enrollment ended, pilot staff shifted their focus to reengaging treatment group participants who did not initially engage in services of left the pilot project before completing services.
  • Some of the pilot projects added new services or supports to better serve participants, such as new education tools, additional courses, and expansion of support services.
  • Several pilot projects continued to experience substantial turnover, particularly as the pilot projects began to ramp down.
  • Many participants exited the pilot project before they completed it. Several factors were identified in contributing to this situation, including: 1) Moving between providers; 2) Providing support services before participants can enter training; 3) Delay in starting cohort-based training, and 4) the need for immediate employment.

Key recommendations identified by SNAP Pilot Projects states in this resource are as follows:

  • Increased engagement in subsidized employment.
  • Development of new recruitment processes.
  • Refinement of service flows to increase participation.
  • Establishment and implementation of participant re-engagement processes.
  • Expansion of data collection ability.
  • Development and maintenance of strong local partnerships.
  • Provision of a wide variety of support services.