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Last week, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) pilot program. Eligible applicants should submit letters of intent by September 26, 2014, and applications are due to FNS by November 24, 2014. FNS plans to award the grants in February 2015.
The 2014 Farm Bill, which authorizes SNAP E&T, made several critical improvements to the SNAP E&T program, including providing increased funding for SNAP E&T, introducing new monitoring and reporting requirements, and establishing pilot grants to test innovative strategies to improve employment outcomes for individuals on SNAP. These important changes to SNAP represent an opportunity for states that previously may not have taken full advantage of the SNAP E&T program, to pursue new strategies to help SNAP recipients move into stable employment, and ultimately, move off of SNAP.
The Farm Bill authorized $200 million for the pilot projects, an independent evaluation, and related administrative costs. Pilot grants will be awarded to up to ten states, and will provide them with additional funding to test E&T strategies designed to enable more SNAP participants to obtain unsubsidized employment, raise SNAP participants’ earnings, and reduce their reliance on public assistance. Grant awards will range from $5 million to $25 million. The types of E&T programs states could operate includes any existing SNAP E&T components and services, as well as work and education and training programs allowed under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
The RFA identifies a set of strategies and approaches FNS is interested in seeing in project proposals, including activities or services targeting populations with significant barriers, case management, career pathways, work-based learning, and public private partnerships. Additionally, in accordance with the Administration’s job-driven training action plan, the RFA selection criteria incorporates elements of the job-driven checklist, which agencies are to use in reviewing grants relating to training or employment.
Earlier this year, NSC hosted a webinar explaining the major changes made to SNAP E&T under the Farm Bill, and highlighting opportunities for states to expand their E&T programs, and in July, National Skills Coalition, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) hosted representatives from 11 states interested in developing, strengthening or expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) programs in their states.
As states move forward with expanding their E&T programs, NSC will provide guidance and assistance on how education and training can be better integrated into E&T. Visit NSC’s website for more SNAP E&T resources.