USDA Encourages States to Engage SNAP Participants in Employment Opportunities
Washington, DC, November 20, 2019 -- USDA today reminded states that as partners in administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) they have an opportunity to address challenges and provide support to program participants as they move towards – and into – employment.
In a letter to state agencies today, USDA outlined how the SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) Program is a valuable resource that helps participants gain the skills they need to become more competitive job candidates, successful employees, and accomplished professionals. SNAP E&T should be an integrated part of the work support system that extends to other federal agencies, state and county governments, and local service providers who engage participants with demand-focused training and development programs.
“There is no better time to secure a strong foothold in the job market than now—when unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been in 50 years,” said Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps. “The Trump Administration has produced a robust economy, creating opportunity for all. Today, we have more jobs available than workers to fill them.” Labor Department figures for September 2019 show 7.0 million job openings and only 5.8 million people actively seeking employment.
The 2018 Farm Bill also gives states significant new opportunities to work across the workforce system to serve individuals and employers. The law requires states to do more to engage and support individuals as they progress through SNAP E&T and allows for more evidenced-based approaches that provide the skills that employers need.
To advance these efforts, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is preparing to host the first ever SNAP E&T National Forum, a three-day conference slated to be held in St. Louis, Mo., that will bring together SNAP E&T stakeholders from across the country to share and learn best practices; network with peers, experts, and leaders; and receive updates and refreshers on federal SNAP and SNAP E&T policy. The date of the conference will be announced in the coming weeks.
FNS recognizes that engaging workers with skills-building strategies is a win-win for employers and potential employees. “Now is the time to help more families move forward and realize their American Dream,” said Deputy Under Secretary Lipps.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.