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Reimagining SNAP E&T for 2023 and Beyond

E&T Forum1
By Marcie Foster, Senior Technical Advisor, SNAP Office of Employment and Training

Last month, 350 SNAP Employment and Training, or E&T, state agencies and other partners from across the country gathered for the 2022 SNAP E&T National Forum in Alexandria, VA. Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Stacy Dean, opened the conference with an important reminder, sharing:

“It’s a really exciting time to be a part of E&T … There is so much opportunity and possibility in our future. …We have a president who says he wants to build a stronger economy … one that aims to strengthen and expand the middle class from the bottom up and middle out … and when we set our sights on an economic recovery that helps everyone — and we really mean everyone — it creates opportunity for those that need it most.”

This year’s National Forum included 32 sessions covering a diversity of topics, such as SNAP E&T policy, building E&T programs in rural communities, and using a trauma-informed and anti-racist lens to improve E&T programs. Be sure to check out the recorded sessions and watch the inspirational highlight video.

The National Forum was a culmination of all the work that the Food and Nutrition Service, our local and state partners, and others have already done to reimagine SNAP E&T. In the last decade alone, we have bolstered the potential of SNAP E&T, and more and more states are leveraging it as a powerful tool in their workforce development toolbox. Over half of state SNAP agencies have participated in USDA’s SNAP to Skills project, strengthening their staffing and increasing the diversity and reach of their E&T programs. USDA’s SNAP E&T National Partnership Grants are also expanding provider capacity across the country — our grantees have already worked with 142 providers in 31 states, building capacity to serve more SNAP participants.

In other ways, this event marked a new beginning — this year’s event was the second National Forum, but only the first in-person event. As the nation emerges from the public health emergency, coming together in this way can help us collaboratively problem solve challenges and identify best practices, such as providing comprehensive participant reimbursements and virtual training.

FNS also announced the 2023 SNAP E&T State Institute at the conference. The SNAP Mind the Gap: Building a Bridge from Vision to Outcomes in your SNAP E&T Program will take place on Sept. 20-21, 2023, in Alexandria, VA, in partnership with the Seattle Jobs Initiative. This semi-national convening will provide an opportunity for a select number of state SNAP agencies to re-envision their SNAP E&T program and begin developing a strategic plan to accomplish their long-term E&T goals. The goal of this year’s institute will be for states to carefully determine what’s working and where they can close gaps in their SNAP E&T programs. States will partner with their interagency team to further identify and develop data-driven steps to achieve their E&T program goals. Interested states should apply by Feb. 10, 2023.

Page updated: January 23, 2024