After a year-long collaboration working to help four states expand their SNAP E&T programs, NSC and Seattle Jobs Initiative have released a policy brief with best practices for states. The policy brief, “Building Skills through SNAP Employment and Training: Recommendations from Lessons Learned in Four States” offers recommendations to states based on our work with Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon.
Specifically, the brief makes the following recommendations for states looking to expand skills-based SNAP E&T programs:
- Staff and stakeholders should work with SNAP E&T agency leadership to develop a vision for a skills-focused program and implement a strategy to achieve that vision.
- States should use pilot programs to test and refine strategies for expanding SNAP E&T programs.
- SNAP E&T programs should build on the strengths and experience of existing workforce development efforts, and should align SNAP E&T with other programs, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
- SNAP E&T programs should use federal funding and administrative tools to partner with community colleges and community-based organizations as service providers.
The brief also identifies a set of common challenges in developing skills-based SNAP E&T programs and makes recommendations for how state SNAP E&T agencies can address them.
These recommendations are especially timely because states now have an opportunity to align SNAP E&T with WIOA implementation. Last week, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Labor urged State Workforce Administrators, Workforce Development Boards, and American Jobs Centers to do exactly that. (For more on aligning SNAP E&T with WIOA implementation read last week's blog)
This project was made possible through the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.