National Skills Coalition and Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) have selected four states to receive technical assistance with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) programs. Starting this month, we will work with teams in Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon to help them advance skills-based SNAP E&T programs. These states are aiming to build the skills of SNAP participants through partnerships between state SNAP E&T agencies, community colleges, and other organizations.
The federal SNAP E&T program provides resources for employment, training, and support services for SNAP recipients. In addition to E&T formula funds, the federal government provides “50-50 reimbursement grants” that can reimburse states for up to 50 percent of E&T program costs such as those for adult education and training, as well as supportive services necessary for individuals to participate in SNAP E&T, such as child care, transportation, and supplies and books. Only expenditures covered by certain non-federal resources are eligible for reimbursement. SNAP E&T can build skills-based programs by leveraging the expertise and resources of third-party partners, such as community colleges and community-based organizations.
The four states participating in this project will benefit from SJI’s experience helping Washington State create, grow, and document its well-respected Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) program. BFET is the only statewide “third-party match” program in the nation, utilizing 50-50 funds to partner with community colleges and community-based organizations in SNAP E&T service delivery. Just as importantly, NSC and SJI will work with participating states to identify opportunities to connect their SNAP E&T programs to broader state workforce development strategies.
NSC and SJI’s SNAP E&T partnership started in 2014, with generous support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. In 2014, the partnership produced a detailed toolkit to guide states through the process of establishing skills-based SNAP E&T programs using 50-50 funds and third-party partnerships. With the support of Kellogg and Casey Foundations, we also hosted a full-day training session to provide step-by-step guidance based on Washington State’s BFET program.
The NSC-SJI partnership will provide technical assistance to Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon through 2015 and will share key lessons learned in early 2016. For more information on this project, please contact Brooke DeRenzis, National Skills Coalition or David Kaz, Seattle Jobs Initiative.