New rule encourages more robust services and opportunities to gain skills for today’s job market
(Washington, D.C., March 5, 2020) – In light of President Trump’s historic economic expansion - with a 3.6% unemployment rate and 6.4 million job openings across the nation - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a proposed rule that will strengthen the way states serve SNAP recipients through Employment and Training.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants have exclusive access to training and support services to help them enter or move up in the workforce. The proposed rule, Employment and Training Opportunities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, makes a wide range of enhancements to these services to empower more SNAP participants to gain the skills, training, or work experience they need to move toward – and into – employment.
“We’ve seen the results and believe work increases the potential for people to have a life full of dignity, respect and hope. Our safety net programs like SNAP were never meant to be for long-term use. Government dependency has never been part of the American dream. This proposed rule will enhance the opportunities SNAP participants have to gain the skills they need to provide for their families and contribute to their communities,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “President Trump has unleashed a booming economy and thriving job market that needs more workers to fill the millions of job openings. We aim to prepare more Americans to re-enter the workforce so they too can experience the benefits of a prosperous economy.”
In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress provided additional tools for USDA and state agencies to bolster the quality of SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) programs. Today’s proposed changes promote evidence-based practices and hold states accountable for providing E&T services that move participants towards work. The changes maintain the flexibilities providers need to design programs that fit the needs of local communities.
“USDA has made it clear that SNAP E&T is a priority for this Administration. The Secretary and I have seen lives changed by E&T programs and witnessed the hope provided when poverty is overcome by work,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps. “While SNAP fills an immediate need, SNAP E&T leads to the transformational power of work.”
Today’s proposed rule is just one of many ways USDA is partnering with and empowering states to improve their SNAP E&T programs. USDA provides over $100 million each year for states to operate their E&T programs. If a state invests their own money - or includes outside funding from any non-federal source - to expand and enhance their E&T programs, the federal government will match those funds, dollar for dollar, without limit. Deputy Under Secretary Lipps recently highlighted the importance and opportunity to expand E&T by directly calling on states to take action. In addition, USDA:
- Actively identifies successful employment and training providers in every state who are ready and willing to service SNAP participants as they seek employment. These providers can qualify for matching federal dollars, providing an immediate increase in a state’s E&T capacity.
- Operates SNAP to Skills, which provides intensive assistance and coaching to states and their partners on building robust E&T programs. This year, 7 states – Oregon, Colorado, Louisiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island – join the 22 other states who have participated since the program’s launch in 2015.
- Provides trainings, such as the SNAP E&T State Institutes and Learning Academies, to develop expertise in administering SNAP E&T among individuals, partner organizations, and state agencies across the country.
- Will host the first ever SNAP E&T National Forum this fall in St. Louis, MO. The forum will take place October 13-14, 2020, and registration will open later this month.
USDA remains committed to listening to and collaborating with customers, partners, and stakeholders to make these proposed reforms as effective as possible and encourages comments on the proposal when it publishes on Regulations.gov.
USDA’s proposed rule will appear in the Federal Register next week. The public will be invited to comment for 60 days.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.
- Proposed Rule: Employment and Training Opportunities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Fact Sheet: Regulatory Reform at a Glance: Employment and Training Opportunities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- March 2020 Letter to States
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.