KIRKLAND, WA – Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced legislation that would make it easier for Americans participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) to access job training services. SNAP is the federal program that provides nutritional assistance to low-income families so they can put healthy food on the table. The SNAP E&T Enhancements Act (H.R. 5362) would broaden the participant eligibility for the SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Program, make it easier for states to administer, and increase the types of support provided to participants.

SNAP is our nation’s most important and effective anti-hunger program. The E&T Program is a critical tool for helping SNAP participants gain skills, training, and work experience, increasing their ability to obtain regular employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency. The program also helps to reduce barriers to work by providing support services, such as transportation and child care, as participants prepare for and obtain employment. Each state is required to operate a SNAP E&T program and receives federal funding annually to administer the program.

In fiscal year 2022, over 41 million Americans benefitted from SNAP (12% of the population). In Washington, the state’s SNAP program (Basic Food) supported nearly 875,000 residents (11% of the state population) and over 4,000 Washingtonians participated in the state’s E&T program.

“The E&T Program has been an effective tool in helping Americans on SNAP get the job training, skills, and experience they need to become self-sufficient, but we know this program can do more,” said DelBene. “The legislation I’m introducing today would allow more people to access the E&T Program and support state administration so more people can find full-time employment.”

“SNAP is an essential program that helps people in poverty put food on their tables. For those same people, a strong SNAP Employment & Training Program is a lifeline that helps them gain valuable skills so they can find high-quality jobs that lift them out of poverty,” said Claire Lane, Director, Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition. “This bill makes SNAP E&T better equipped to help more people successfully complete job training with fewer barriers, less red tape, and more opportunity for long-term economic security.”

“When families experiencing hunger seek out services to find a career that can provide family-sustaining wages, we have a responsibility to ensure we are offering the tools they need to succeed,” said Matthew Lyons, Senior Director, Policy & Practice, American Public Human Services Association American Public Human Services Association. “The SNAP E&T Enhancements Act builds upon what’s already working in the SNAP Employment & Training Program to make common sense improvements that will help families transition off of SNAP assistance and achieve economic mobility.”

The SNAP E&T Enhancements Act would:

  • Extend the timeline of when states must spend allocated and reallocated funds so that they have sufficient time to provide services to E&T participants.
  • Extend E&T provider job retention service eligibility from 90 days to 180 days.
  • Provide an increase in funding for the SNAP E&T program on par with the percentage increase in the 2018 Farm Bill.
  • Reduce barriers to reentering the workforce by excluding wages from apprenticeship programs, which combine education credentials with on-the-job training and represent one of the clearest pathways out of poverty, from counting toward SNAP eligibility.
  • Allow for the reimbursement of on-the-job training wages under the E&T subsidized work-based learning activities.
  • Provide E&T providers with the ability to conduct screening to determine whether an individual qualifies for SNAP E&T or a “reverse referral” to reduce barriers to enrollment.
  • Allow states to reimburse E&T participants for additional basic necessities (i.e. utilities) if the state determines they are reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the program.

This legislation is endorsed by the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition, Northwest Harvest, the WA State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, the American Public Human Services Association, and the Association of Community College Trustees.

More information about the SNAP E&T program can be found here.

Information about Washington state’s Basic Food Employment & Training program can be found here.

The bill text can be found here.

Source: Office of U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene of Washington

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