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2020 SNAP E&T National Forum

SNAP E&T Forum 2020

The 2020 SNAP E&T National Forum, hosted by USDA on Oct. 13-15, 2020, brought together 1700 SNAP E&T stakeholders from across the country to share and learn best practices for promoting and increasing employment among SNAP households through state SNAP E&T programs. Plans for another forum in fiscal year 2022 are already underway. Click the links below to view the recordings from the Forum sessions.

Tuesday, October 13
Opening and Welcome
  • Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
  • Jessica Shahin, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service
  • Moira Johnston, Director, Office of Employment and Training, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food and Nutrition Service
  • Regional Administrators:
    • Pat Dombroski, Mid-Atlantic Regional Office (MARO)
    • Patricia Solis (Acting), Midwest Regional Office (MWRO)
    • Cheryl Kennedy, Mountain Plains Regional Office (MPRO)
    • Kurt Messner, Northeast Regional Office (NERO)
    • Willie Taylor, Southeast Regional Office (SERO)
    • Bill Ludwig, Southwest Regional Office (SWRO)
    • Jesus Mendoza, Jr., Western Regional Office (WRO)


One Workforce: A Federal-State Partnership Initiative for Innovation

This session is an opportunity to hear from agency leadership from the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Labor. The session will focus on ways federal programs can break down silos, align services, and integrate workforce development programs to meet people where they are and move families forward toward self-sufficiency.

  • Brandon Lipps, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Clarence H. Carter, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Lynn Johnson, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • John Pallasch, U.S. Department of Labor


Breakout Sessions
Are You There? Virtual and Hybrid Case Management that Goes the Distance

Case management services serve a critical function in a state's SNAP E&T program, ensuring that participants have what they need to be successful and are connected to the right mix of services. Due to the challenges of COVID-19, state SNAP agencies and E&T providers have had to reimagine how they can bring the same personal touch to a virtual environment. Attend this session to learn the techniques, challenges, and successes that three E&T programs have encountered as they shifted to virtual (and hybrid) case management.

  • Joette Johnson, Capital Community College
  • Wendy Andino-Williams, Capital Community College
  • Deborah Reed-Cole, South Carolina Department of Social Services
  • Brenda Jones, Employment Security Department, Okanogan County


Expanding Pathways to Self-Sufficiency: Experiences Scaling National Models

The core principle of a SNAP E&T program is to help individuals build a better, more sustainable future for themselves and their families. In this session, two workforce development experts will highlight their training programs and explain how they were able to expand their national program model across multiple states, creating better lives for SNAP participants in the process.

  • Renee Martin, Vice President, National Initiatives, FareStart
  • Maurice Motley, Colorado Springs Director, Center for Employment Opportunities


SNAP to Skills - Four Years of Lessons Learned on SNAP E&T Operations

FNS and the Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) will share the lessons they learned through four years of working to help operationalize, expand and improve SNAP E&T programs in dozens of states through the SNAP to Skills Project. Participants will learn about promising practices and common pitfalls to avoid in SNAP E&T program development from both the state agency and provider perspectives. SJI will discuss how these promising practices apply to strengthening programs even in today’s uncertain climate. This session is most appropriate for those in states in earlier stages of SNAP E&T program development who want to see their programs advance as effectively and efficiently as possible.

  • Bri Nguyen, Seattle Jobs Initiative
  • Bob Thibodeau, Seattle Jobs Initiative
  • Nick Codd, Seattle Jobs Initiative
  • Marcie Foster, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Employment and Training, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture


Using SNAP E&T to Expand Post Pandemic Employment Services

SNAP E&T 50/50 funds are an underutilized resource for increasing workforce development capacity and strengthening community-based organizations. SNAP E&T, as an uncapped federal resource, should be a primary option for governments attempting to mitigate COVID-19 related funding losses. Participants will learn how San Diego County successfully scaled its E&T program, identified and engaged new partners, and increased SNAP E&T reimbursement. Participants will learn to develop a SNAP E&T vision; integrate SNAP E&T with existing workforce services; identify and evaluate potential partner agencies; create a reimbursement methodology that accurately calculates the reimbursement and maximizes return; and build strong and lasting partnerships.

  • Aaron Korn, Public Consulting Group
  • Andy Hall, San Diego Workforce Partnership
  • Assmaa Elyyat, Agency Operations Chief, San Diego County


Federal and State Employment Collaboration: An E&T Success Story in Kansas

This is the story of how an unlikely partnership led to life changing opportunities for SNAP participants. In this session, we hear how the Kansas E&T program partnered with the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and how that successful collaboration has given SNAP participants in Kansas the necessary skills sets and the pathway to move forward toward sustainable employment. A special guest appearance by an E&T participant now working as an FSIS inspector will be included.

  • Ruth Tipton, Assistant Director FAE&T and Special Projects, Kansas Department for Children and Families
  • Dr. Evan Sumner, Deputy District Manager, Food Safety and Inspection Service
  • Liz Simmons, Management Analyst, Food Safety and Inspection Service
  • Lisa Strunk , Employment & Training Program Administrator, Kansas Department for Children and Families
Wednesday, October 14
Plenary Session: Inspiring Hope and Overcoming Hurdles with SNAP Employment and Training

SNAP E&T programs provide more than just a way for SNAP recipients to meet work requirements and find a job. Quality E&T providers instill hope in their participants by providing holistic/wrap around services that lead to pathways out of poverty towards a future of economic opportunity and self-sufficiency. SNAP E&T participants come from a variety of backgrounds, have experienced hardships, and face numerous obstacles that can make it difficult from them to actively participate, remain engaged, and complete their employment and training programs. Assessing for and addressing barriers such as a lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills, limited resources for transportation, and lack of dependent care is critical to ensuring that people are successful. Hear from SNAP E&T programs about the strategies that they employ to meet the needs of their participants by helping them overcome these barriers to success.

  • JoAnn Mattson, Light House
  • Elaine Carroll, JARC-Baltimore
  • Daiquiri Anderson, Maryland Department of Human Services


Breakout Sessions
Connecting to Employers without Reinventing the Wheel

Each state's workforce development system collects and uses labor market information (LMI) to assist the state and providers in making strategic, data-driven decisions about which employers to engage and how to recruit, train, and place employment and training participants. Learn how state SNAP agencies can partner with the WIOA system as they design E&T programs to ensure that SNAP participants are connected to employer-driven programs.

  • Matthew Waltz, WRTP/BIG STEP
  • Doug Howard, Maximus


Getting the Word Out: Improving SNAP Notices

The policies surrounding SNAP work requirements can be complex. Communicating them in print can be a challenge, especially when households' circumstances vary. These communications are all the more important now, when there are fewer opportunities for SNAP applicants and clients to receive explanations in person. This session will share new materials and tools that were developed through FNS' SNAP Notices Improvement Project that helps states develop clear and actionable notices to communicate about SNAP work requirements, including SNAP E&T.

  • Elizabeth Weber, Associate Director of Policy and Program Development, Insight Policy Research
  • Miles Patrie, Analyst, Certification Policy Branch, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Alfred Tuttle, Survey Methodologist, Center for Behavioral Science Methods, U.S. Census Bureau


Serving and Engaging ABAWDS through SNAP E&T

Able Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDS) are a critical population among state SNAP E&T programs. States often have challenges identifying and engaging these individuals as they help them connect to valuable employment and training services that can lead to employment opportunities. Learn from states and providers who are finding ways to meet the needs of ABAWDS by building strong relationships in the community and providing targeted services.

  • Kelly Tessitore, Jewish Vocational Services-Boston
  • Philip Schuchert Jewish Vocational Services-Boston
  • John Briscoe, Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Corinna Adams, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services


Innovations in the Management and Operations of SNAP E&T Programs

As SNAP E&T grows across the country, states continue to innovate and experiment to ever-changing demands, economies, and environments. This session will give insight on two organizations' new approaches to bring positive change to the management and operation of their E&T programs.

  • Anastasia Polda, SNAP Employment and Training Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Ann Meyers, Adult Career Pathways Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Greg Ericksen, REDF
  • Manie Grewel, Head of Policy, REDF
  • Ryan Dean, FareStart
  • Jay McIntyre, Central City Concern


Using Human-Centered Design to Increase Engagement in SNAP E&T

Putting the individual at the core of service delivery is key to successful SNAP E&T programs. Attend this session to gain insight about behavioral science and how states can put these concepts into practice to tailor engagement, messaging, independence planning and promote participation in SNAP E&T programs.

  • Clinton Key, Research Associate, Center for Applied Behavioral Science, MDRC
  • Jason Dunn, Director, Division of Family Support, Department for Community Based Services, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • David Glenn, Deloitte Digital, Specialist Master, Human-Centered Design Lead Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Ruth Tipton, Assistant Director FA E&T and Special Projects, Kansas Department for Children and Families
  • Jenny Welch Buller, Research Project Manager, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, University of Kansas


Career Services – A Customized Approach to the Labor Market and Employer Relationships

State SNAP agencies need to understand their local labor market(s) and have strong relationships with employers. There are unique challenges to employer relationships in rural and small urban areas including larger geographic areas with smaller pockets of employers, lack of public transportation access and low-level awareness of the full labor market. In this session, attendees will learn how CW Solutions and Wood County Human Services Department addressed these challenges and how they can implement this approach within their own organization.

  • Thomas Prete, CW Solutions
  • Melissa Walsh, CW Solutions
  • Megan Stanchick, CW Solutions
  • Ronda Seubert, CW Solutions
  • Lacey Piekarski, Employment & Training Manager, Wood County Human Services Department


COVID-19 – Looking Back and Moving Forward – Reflections on SNAP E&T from State Agencies

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented situation, requiring rapid action to mobilize and adjust services in nearly every sector of human services, including in SNAP E&T. Now, nearly ten months after the pandemic's emergence, state agencies have taken this opportunity to reflect on their efforts to immediately transition to a mobile workforce and engage in creative solutions to continue providing meaningful services throughout the pandemic. This session will include representatives from state human service agencies and policy staff from the American Public Human Services Association discussing lessons learned from COVID-19 and their plans for moving forward.

  • Mary Nelson, Policy Associate, American Public Human Services Association
  • Ashley Snyder, SNAP E&T Expansion Specialist, Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Bridgette A. Acklin, Supervisory Vocational Development Specialist, SNAP E&T Program, DC Department of Human Services
  • Kristen Halverson, Program Coordinator, Tennessee Department of Human Services
  • Suzie Miller, Workforce Programs Manager, Arapahoe/Douglas Works
  • Brittany Polinski, Program Manager - Employment First, Denver Human Services


Going from Plain Vanilla to the Cherry on Top: Maximizing the Power of Intermediaries

Federal and private non-profit presenters for this session will provide insights and examples about how using “intermediaries” in a state SNAP E&T program can provide value to states by increasing the program's resources, providing technical assistance, and onboarding new providers. Intermediaries can also influence state program policy and identify necessary system enhancements, increasing efficiencies, and ultimately improving performance outcomes.

  • Jenny Taylor, Vice President, Career Services, Goodwill of North Georgia
  • Nick Espinosa, E&T Analyst, Southeast Regional Office, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Jamene Dahmer, Senior Vice President, Long Term Recovery, United Way of Southeast Louisiana
  • Mike Williamson, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Southeast Louisiana


Making the Business Case: Employment Opportunities for the Long-Term Unemployed

Given the impacts of the global pandemic and unemployment at near historic levels, the need to hire the long-term unemployed is ever-increasing. This target demographic includes special populations such as Dislocated Workers, Returning Citizens, and Homeless, among others. Attendees will hear from effective programs and learn about resources that are available to help these individuals re-enter the workforce.

  • Robert Kight, Director, Adult Services and Workforce System, Office of Workforce Investment, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Gary Antonio, Chief Business Development Officer, NCIA
  • Karima Rose, Ed.M., Executive Director, First Step Staffing
  • Ebonee Nelson, Regional Workforce Development Training Lead, NCIA


Social Distancing as a Skill Set in a COVID Environment

The current COVID-19 outbreak is a global crisis and an opportunity for leaders to support their customers and communities. COVID has created waves that are rippling through the economy with record high unemployment and industry-specific effects that disproportionately impact low-income workers. Leading in a caring, empathetic manner during these difficult times has the potential to create real connections that will outlive the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. Socially conscious organizations across sectors and geographies are finding ways to get involved and support their customers and communities. Attend this session to learn about strategies the panelists have incorporated in their organization's service delivery models to continue operations for SNAP E&T participants into what may be the “new normal.”

  • James Sanchez, Goodwill of Colorado
  • Candice Sporhase-White, Goodwill of Colorado
  • Les Johnson, ARCHS
  • Steven Ingram, Better Family Life
  • Ramona Mundwiller, Missouri Community College Association
Thursday, October 15
Closing Plenary and Q&A with the Food and Nutrition Service
  • Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
  • Jessica Shahin, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service


Breakout Sessions
Building Partnerships across Workforce and Human Service Systems to Serve SNAP E&T Participants

Stakeholders of SNAP E&T have a responsibility to our clients to serve and support our vulnerable populations by helping them easily enter the workforce. This panel highlights ways that states and providers can partner across workforce and human service systems to help SNAP participants connect to employment opportunities.

  • Dana Alfred, Maximus
  • Tara Williams, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
  • Marsha Sloan, Sunrise County Economic Council, Family Futures Downeast
  • Kim Runion, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services


Strategies to Move People Forward in Rural Areas

Nearly 20% of people living in the U.S. are in rural areas and these groups often face unique challenges accessing critical workforce services and employment. During this session, two seasoned SNAP E&T providers will share information about how their program design gets results while focusing on the specific needs of populations in rural areas.

  • Katie Hogarty, Director of External Relations, Climb Wyoming
  • Molly Kruger, Director of Programs and Systems, Climb Wyoming
  • Clint Cummings, Extension Specialist – Skill Up Tennessee, Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Tennessee-Extension


How Community College Systems and SNAP Agencies Can Take Career Pathways to Scale

Oregon's Community College STEP Consortium is a first-of-its-kind project intended to provide meaningful career pathway opportunities and supports to SNAP recipients at each of the 17 community colleges across the state. This $8 million initiative has more than doubled the number of SNAP students receiving critical success coaching and student supports - including tuition, tools, and books - and has established a solid foundation for expansion in the years ahead. In this session, panelists will discuss the unique systems-level partnership that has sustained this effort, provide insights on how other states can use SNAP E&T scale up their own statewide career pathways strategies, and highlight policy reforms at the federal and state level that could enhance the success of these partnerships.

  • Kate Kinder, Career Pathways and Skills Training Director, Portland Community College
  • Dan Haun, Director of Self-Sufficiency Programs, Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield, Senior Fellow, National Skills Coalition
  • Kermit Kaleba, Managing Director, Policy, National Skills Coalition


Lessons Learned Starting Up and Scaling SNAP E&T Partnerships

As a state's SNAP E&T program expands, so does its operational complexity. What worked for managing a handful of E&T providers may not work for managing dozens of providers across the state. To manage growth efficiently, states and organizations must develop new processes and procedures to maintain compliance with federal program requirements and ensure program integrity. Speakers from this session will share insights about the operational considerations and lessons learned when scaling a 50/50 partnership at the state, county, or system-level.

  • Emily Dean, The Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Eileen Peltier, Connecticut Community College System
  • David Kaz, Seattle Jobs Initiative


The Employment Landscape for SNAP Participants in a Post Pandemic World

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, low-wage workers have seen an unprecedented loss of employment and a drastically changing work environment. Many employment opportunities for SNAP participants may never come back. How does a SNAP E&T program adapt to this new reality? We'll look at the latest information on unemployment and the labor market—who is struggling to find work and what barriers do they face—in order to understand what kinds of services and supports from E&T providers can help SNAP participants gain or regain employment. This information can be helpful in planning and designing E&T programs in the new reality.

  • Ed Bolen, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Angela Rachidi, American Enterprise Institute


Braiding Services for the Best Outcomes

In this session, presenters from the Missouri workforce development system will share how they communicate available resources to the customer, and how they use the customer information to decide which partners to convene to achieve the best outcome. They will discuss the benefits of braiding services, provide examples of successful partnerships, and share the importance of communication at all levels. Attendees will also hear how the panelists navigate multiple complex funding streams from WIOA, TANF, and outside grants as well as the resources the partners bring to the table, using technology to achieve these goals.

  • Diane Simbro, Executive Director, Northeast Missouri Workforce Development Board
  • Sally Payne, Interim Director, Workforce Development for City of Springfield, Ozark Region
  • June O'Dell, President/COO of the Workforce Development Board of Southeast Missouri


SNAP E&T Pilots: Lessons Learned from Offering Innovative SNAP E&T Services under Pilot Projects

In 2015, FNS awarded grants to 10 states to test innovative strategies for providing SNAP E&T services. The grantees established new partnerships, developed new activities (including intensive case management and subsidized employment), and created recruitment and engagement processes to enroll thousands of participants. This panel will describe the pilots' characteristics, and three grantees will share their experiences in planning and implementing their pilots. The panel will describe the successful strategies grantees used and the challenges they faced. Learning how grantees resolved these challenges can provide lessons to states as they strengthen and expand their SNAP E&T program services.

  • Gretchen Rowe, Senior Researcher and Deputy Director for Nutrition Policy Research, Mathematica
  • James Mabli, Executive Director of Human Services, Mathematica
  • Felicia Talbott, Program Manager, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) Program
  • Marc Adams, Director of Research and Innovative Programs, EAP Program, Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation Department
  • Tracy Collier, Program Improvement Manager, Children’s Integrated Services, Children’s Development Division, Vermont Department of Children and Families
  • Hayley Turner-Lawyer, ICAN Program Manager, Vermont Department of Children and Families
  • Todd Trap, Assistant Director of the Division of Family Support, Kentucky Department for Community Based Services


Targeting E&T Services to Unique SNAP Populations

One of the strengths of SNAP E&T is the opportunity to flexibly adapt services to meet the needs of diverse communities. This session will highlight unique approaches to customizing services to meet the needs of unique SNAP populations, such as older workers, unstably housed and homeless individuals, and English language learners.

  • Kyle Wicks, America Works
  • Marsha Netus, America Works
  • Jacqueline Chernoble, JVS-Boston
  • Lucinda Accime, JVS-Boston
  • Lucy Burriss, JVS-Boston
  • Devin Hearns, AARP Foundation


Treating the Whole Person: A Recipe for Long-Term Success

More than a quarter of SNAP work registrants report three or more barriers to obtaining and retaining employment. These are most often health issues, transportation, lack of education, and caring for a family member with health issues. This session focuses on the importance of E&T beyond just helping participants find a job. Hear the experiences from three different faith-based organizations on how they have helped SNAP participants assess their comprehensive needs and identify long-term strategies for success.

  • James Kelly, Executive Director, Covenant House
  • Janet Simmons, President and CEO, HOPE Ministries
  • David Tidwell, Director, HOPE Ministries
Page updated: November 03, 2023