“Moving Low-Skill SNAP Recipients Toward Self-Sufficiency,” a publication from the National Skills Coalition, is designed to help the workforce field better understand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T, formerly the Food Stamp Employment & Training or FSET program).
First established in 1985, SNAP E&T is one of the few federally-supported programs specifically designed to provide employment and training services to extremely low-skilled, low-income adults. Each state is required to operate a SNAP E&T program, though they have considerable discretion in the types of services that may be offered (including job search assistance, work experience, and job training) and the types of SNAP participants to be served.
In recent years, a number of states have begun to recognize the value of SNAP E&T in connecting SNAP recipients with meaningful education and training opportunities leading to industry-recognized degrees and credentials with value in the labor market. States have used SNAP E&T funds to support innovative partnerships with community colleges, community-based organizations and other stakeholders, and have successfully used SNAP E&T funding to leverage additional non-federal public and private resources. However, many states and workforce system partners remain confused about who may be served, and what services can be provided, which has likely limited the growth of SNAP E&T programs on a national level.
By offering a basic overview of the program and highlighting certain issues that are important to consider when designing or implementing an E&T component, this guide is meant to help begin addressing some of these issues for the field. It provides an introduction to the administrative structures, participant eligibility requirements, and funding mechanisms under SNAP E&T, as well as an overview of key program elements that can help ensure SNAP recipients are receiving the full range of training and supportive services necessary for success in the labor market. The guide also highlights examples of how states are using SNAP E&T to help low-skilled individuals find jobs in high-demand industries, and addresses unique issues facing partnerships between state agencies and community colleges. The goal of this publication is to help ensure that SNAP participants have access to high-quality employment and training services that help them gain the necessary skills to obtain stable, family-supporting employment.