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SNAP E&T 2014 Farm Bill Pilot Projects

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (PL 113-79) authorized $200 million for 10 pilot projects to test innovative strategies to increase employment and reduce the need for SNAP among SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) program participants. California, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Mississippi, Vermont, Virginia and Washington began implementing pilots in early 2016 and concluded by mid-2019.

Key Findings

A rigorous evaluation included an analysis of the pilots’ design and implementation, services received, effectiveness on improving participant outcomes, and costs and benefits. Key findings include the following:

  • All pilots increased participation in employment or training-related activities.
  • E&T service design likely affected the activity take-up rates and completion levels. Misaligned service design with participant needs resulted in lower take up rates.
  • Earnings and employment increased for some pilot states.
  • Work-based learning led to longer engagement in SNAP E&T and higher employment and earnings./li>
  • In mandatory programs, individuals who were sanctioned had lower earnings, employment, and SNAP participation than those who were not sanctioned.
Considerations for Improving SNAP E&T

The pilots offered several planning and implementation lessons that provide considerations for improving SNAP E&T programs in the future.

  • State SNAP agencies must “own” the E&T program, including clearly communicating the overall vision for the program, developing policy and procedures for providers, and monitoring and oversight. States found that they could not rely solely on providers to administer and oversee day to day operations. Pilots that hired dedicated staff to manage E&T operations were most successful.
  • Although eligibility staff must screen and refer SNAP participants to E&T programs, relying primarily on them to recruit for SNAP E&T was not found to be a best practice. E&T requires direct recruitment, targeting the program widely, and discussing it as an opportunity, not just a requirement.
  • Fewer funding constraints under the pilots allowed for more flexible service delivery.
  • Reducing the number of hand-offs between organizations and not sending people to multiple locations helped develop consistency and build trust with participants. This resulted in higher engagement and fewer people exiting the program early.
  • Work-based learning can be a useful tool to keep participants engaged and continuing to build critical job skills.

For more information, see the SNAP E&T Pilots Summary of Key Findings and Considerations

Issue Briefs, Reports, and Resources
Issue Briefs & Evaluations

FNS supported an independent, longitudinal evaluation of each pilot project to measure the impact of E&T programs and services on the ability of participants to obtain and retain employment. The following issue briefs highlight cross-pilot findings and lessons learned, including practical tips to help states strengthen and expand their E&T programs.

  1. Implementing the SNAP E&T Pilots: Challenges Encountered and Lessons Learned
  2. Provision of Support Services to Reduce Barriers in the 10 SNAP E&T Pilots
  3. Diversity of Case Management Approaches in the SNAP E&T Pilots

For more information, refer to the full report.

  1. Considerations for Administering SNAP E&T Programs
  2. Effective Recruitment Strategies for the SNAP E&T Programs
  3. Considerations for Providing SNAP E&T through Community Colleges

For more information, refer to the full report.

  1. Effectiveness of Work-based Learning for SNAP E&T
  2. Sanctions in SNAP E&T Mandatory Programs
  3. Finding Work after Occupational Skills Training
  4. Drivers of Participation in Selected SNAP E&T Activities

For more information, refer to the full report.

Annual Report to Congress
Pilot Information & Resources
Page updated: December 28, 2023