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“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.

2012
National Skills Coalition

Virtually all states have made basic program information on the five main state-administered low-income benefit programs — SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps), Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and child care assistance — available to the public via the Internet. Many states, however, go much further, providing information such as application forms and data on the number of participants. A number of states allow individuals to apply for benefits and transact certain related business online. In addition to information provided for the five main state-administered low-income benefit programs, thirty states have General Assistance (GA) programs for individuals not qualifying for any other public assistance, and provide basic program information for GA online as well.

This paper provides links to state information available online for these benefit programs. Individuals seeking information about eligibility and benefits in a particular state will find these links a useful place to start. Most state human service agencies also provide phone numbers for families to seek additional information. In addition, individuals in most states (as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) can call 2-1-1 on any type of telephone for help finding out about many kinds of assistance, including emergency help with food, housing, or clothing, physical or mental health treatment, and assistance for the aged, people with disabilities, and families with children.

2011
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Available financial aid covers only a fraction of what community college students pay for their education.  To finance their studies, many of them enroll in school only part time and/or work more than 20 hours per week, strategies that increase their likelihood of dropping out. To help address this problem, this report highlights strategies adopted by higher education institutions to increase the financial resources of their students. The practices outlined either help students access existing financial aid or provide students with new types of aid. 

PROPOSALS OUTLINED:

  • Helping students access available financial aid by providing one-on-one assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid; mandating that students meet with academic and financial aid counselors; and, implementing student-centered financial aid administration practices.
  • Allocating institutional grants on the basis of need so that students can meet their financial obligations, work less, and focus more on their studies.
  • Developing emergency aid programs that have flexible eligibility criteria, simple application and approval processes, are advertised widely and link students to other financial services.
  • Easing the cost of transportation for students by negotiating discounts with public transportation systems and offering transportation subsidies.
  • Centralizing access to other forms of financial support. Given the income and demographic characteristics of community college students, a substantive number of them may be eligible for federal and state benefit programs (such as food stamps, tax credits, etc) that could help them obtain the financial resources they need to stay in school. Some community colleges help students access this aid by creating a “one-stop shop” on campus for all benefits.
  • Helping students access health insurance by creating consortiums among colleges to purchase affordable and comprehensive health insurance for students; incorporating the cost of health insurance in total expenses for uninsured students; and creating student health centers on campus.
2011
Viany Orozco & Lucy Mayo
Demos

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increased vital resources such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, and housing subsidies available to low-income families struggling through the recession. But not all families were able to gain access to and receive the benefits for which they were eligible. This report suggests that there is a need for funders, states, communities and the federal government to create more programs that low-income families can access.

2010
Shelley Waters Boots
The Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The brief discusses the central role that states play in the delivery of work supports to low-income working families and how policies can be changed to not only increase access to these supports, but to also foster economic family stability and asset building.

 

 

 

 

2011
John Quinterno
Working Poor Families Project, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Mott Foundation

Due to low wages, lack of benefits, and inconsistent employment, many workers are unable to meet their own and their families' basic needs through employment alone. The Annie E. Casey Foundation developed the Center for Working Families® (CWF) concept as a response to the challenges facing such low-income working adults and their families. The CWF approach revolves around offering clients a set of focused bundled services in three overlapping areas:

  • Employment and career advancement - including assistance with job readiness, job placement, occupational skills training, education and career advancement.
  • Income enhancements and work supports - helping clients gain access to public benefits, tax credits, financial aid and other benefits to improve their financial security.
  • Financial and asset building services - workshops, classes, one-on-one counseling and access to well-priced financial products and services to help clients improve their household finances and build assets.

A key aspect of the CWF model is that  programs bundle and sequence services rather than offering just one component, or offering multiple components but leaving it up to participants to discover and seek out additional services. Delivering integrated services requires well-planned program design, the hiring and training of staff with strong skills and backgrounds, and the thoughtful use of technology and data collection. In 2010, the Annie E. Casey Foundation asked CLASP to conduct a scan of federal programs that could potentially be used to support integrated service delivery in these three areas, recognizing the need to access public funds in order to bring this approach to scale. The Federal Funding Integrated Service Delivery Toolkit describe the federal funding programs we identified, with a focus on the components of the integrated strategy that might be publicly supported, the eligible populations and use of funds, and possible issues that might arise.

2011
Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Abigail Newcomer
Center for Law and Social Policy

This letter is to encourage states to broaden their definition of approved training for Unemployment Insurance (UI) beneficiaries, to notify them of their potential eligibility for Pell Grants and other student aid, and to help individuals apply for Pell Grants through One-Stop Career Centers.

2009
U.S. Department of Labor

This guidance from the DOE Office of Vocational Education (OVAE) provides the Department's interpretation of statutory provisions in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) that can be used to support the development of career pathway models.

Office of Vocational and Adult Education

Overview of a number of federal workforce development policies, including WIA titles I and II, Pell, TAA, TANF, Wagnery-Peyser, Perkins, and FSET.

2007
The Workforce Alliance

This toolkit is designed to help interagency state teams identify and use federal resources to support career pathway models. Using the Funding Options Worksheet and the ten Federal Program Summaries, state teams can identify and facilitate "braiding" of federal resources to design and develop career pathways and bridges into them for adults and out-of-school youth. The toolkit also will help state teams identify state policy barriers to using federal resources for career pathways and bridges and, ideally, address them.

Center for Law and Social Policy
Center for Law and Social Policy