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snap employment and training

SNAP E&T Learning Academy Builds National Leadership for the Program

As the labor market continues to strengthen, so too are SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) programs across the country. Since 2014, FNS has diligently worked with states to grow their SNAP E&T programs and adopt more effective, employer-driven practices that help SNAP participants find not just any job—but a good job that reduces their need for SNAP.

These efforts have been successful. The program has grown to serve more than 1 million SNAP participants each year and more and more states are seeking best practices and expertise on how to build a quality program that gets people jobs. The demand for this program is growing—and rightly so—the SNAP E&T program is one of the strongest assets we have to ensure that every SNAP participant has the opportunity to gain the skills they need to find a good job.

SNAP E&T Boosts Job Skills, Transforms Lives

On a recent trip to California,  I took part in a wonderful event in San Francisco’s Mission District - also known as “The Mission” - one of the most racially and economically diverse areas in the nation.  After parking the car, Jesus Mendoza Jr., Regional Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service’s Western Region, escorted me to a room buzzing with activity and excitement. Now given my role as Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), you might expect that we were visiting a food bank or a meal program for low-income children.

But this visit wasn’t about food.

It was about jobs!

New SNAP E&T Initiatives Aim to Help SNAP Participants Find Jobs

Getting a good job these days takes more than good intentions because today’s jobs require a higher level of skills than ever before.  This is why the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s Employment and Training Program (SNAP E&T), administered by states across the country, has such an important role to play in helping SNAP recipients gain the skills they need to find and keep good jobs.  This is also why the U.S. Department of Agriculture is committed to supporting this effort.

USDA demonstrated that commitment in two new initiatives launched just this week, the SNAP E&T Learning Academy and a new website for the innovative SNAP to Skills Project, led by the Food and Nutrition Service. The Academy breaks new ground, as a first-ever opportunity that will help address an identified need. You see, though SNAP E&T programs operate across America, we’ve found that there is an opportunity for further sharing of best practices and lessons learned by developing resources that spread the knowledge base throughout the country. The two new projects launched this week will use a “train-the-trainer” model to create new leadership capacity to build the next generation of SNAP E&T programs.

SNAP Participation Shows Marked Decline

The number of people participating in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been declining now for several years from a high of nearly 48 million people back in 2013 to a little more than 43 million in June. That is a drop of about 4.4 million people. This downward trend is encouraging but should come as no surprise. SNAP is designed to respond to the economy by expanding and contracting based on economic conditions. As the economy continues to grow and recover from the recession, recent data shows household incomes beginning to rise. I’m confident that we’ll see these numbers shrink even more.

The best way to keep the numbers of SNAP participants on a downward trend is to connect recipients with opportunities to develop skills for in-demand jobs in their communities. Many Americans have gained employment but still do not have an income high enough to transition off the program. SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) programs can help individuals find jobs that allow working families to make ends meet without public assistance.