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USDA FNS SNAP E and T Pilots

Last Published: 04/12/2017
Funding Opportunity #: 
1
Open (Posted) Date: 
08/25/2014
Closed Date: 
11/24/2014

Section 16(h)(1)(F) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act), as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79), provides $200 million for the development, implementation, and evaluation of up to ten pilot projects designed to reduce dependency and increase work effort under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These pilots allow USDA and State partners to test a number of existing and new employment and training (E&T) activities in order to increase the number of SNAP work registrants who obtain unsubsidized employment, increase earned income, and reduce reliance on public assistance. Pilot projects may be in effect for up to three years.

 

SUMMARY

Section 16(h)(1)(F) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act), as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79),  provides $200 million for the development, implementation, and evaluation of up to ten pilot projects designed to reduce dependency and increase work effort under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

These pilots allow USDA and State partners to test a number of existing and new employment and training (E&T) activities in order to increase the number of SNAP work registrants who obtain unsubsidized employment, increase earned income, and reduce reliance on public assistance.  Pilot projects may be in effect for up to three years.

FNS will publish a Request for Applications (RFA) by August 2014 and State SNAP agencies will have at least 90 days to respond to the RFA.  FNS will award funding in the form of cooperative agreements and announce grantees by February 2015. 

The Act requires an independent longitudinal evaluation of each pilot project in order to measure the impact of E&T programs and services on the ability of participants to obtain and retain employment.  FNS will select the independent evaluation contractor through a separate solicitation.

 

INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS

The RFA for these pilots will be announced in August 2014.

To be eligible to participate in a pilot project, a State SNAP agency shall:

  • agree to participate in the independent evaluation and provide evidence of a robust data collection system;
  • commit to collaborate with the State workforce board and other job training programs in the State and local area; and 
  • commit to maintain the same level of State funding for SNAP E&T programs and optional workfare as the State expended in fiscal year (FY) 2013 for each year of the project. 

Interested State agencies should begin working with partners now, including the State workforce board and other job training programs, to build relationships and identify possible target populations, activities, and project areas.

 

RESOURCES

While there is little current study on effective interventions for the SNAP population, there is a great deal of literature and research on work strategies for other populations that might be useful to State agencies when considering what types of interventions they might be interested in testing with the SNAP population.  The SNAP population is very diverse—some have had recent attachment to work, others have work history, but may have been unemployed for an extended period of time, and some have been out of the workforce for a very long time.  Able-bodied adults without dependents may experience unique barriers to employment, and are the most at-risk because they are subject to time-limited eligibility for SNAP benefits unless they are working or participating in work activities for 20 hours or more a week.

The following resources include government-sponsored studies or tools and are meant to provide interested State agencies with information they may want to consider as they explore options in applying for these important pilots.

Screening and Assessment Tools

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families’ funded a study by The Urban Institute to explore issues and challenges to the screening and assessment of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients assigned to work strategies.  The following paper provides some useful insights for SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) programs:http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/screening_and_assessment.pdf

Employment and Training Activities

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration’s Know Your Region Project explores regional and local approaches to economic innovation and competitiveness across the United States. The Project’s web site includes an online clearinghouse with tools to help local officials, economic development practitioners, community leaders and citizens assess local and regional assets, needs and visions in a global context, leading to long-term regional prosperity and sustainability: http://www.knowyourregion.org/

The U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Research provides research and studies on effective adult basic education and secondary education programs: http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/projects/program.asp?ProgID=15

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation provides research and promising practices for increasing economic self-sufficiency and reducing dependency through work strategies:http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/research/topic/overview/self-sufficiency-welfare-employment

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s Workforce System Strategies site provides a range of potential strategies informed by research evidence or peer expertise: http://strategies.workforce3one.org/

The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse provides materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practices, and research:https://www.opressrc.org/content/publications