SNAP E&T – Opportunities for Alignment with WIOA
Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) is a federal program that supports employment and training activities and related supportive services to help SNAP participants advance to self-sufficiency. The brief presents an examination of the initial impact, if any, on States’ SNAP E&T programs of the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the opportunity it afforded States to develop new plans for their public workforce systems that align programs such as SNAP E&T with WIOA-supported core programs. It reviews State workforce plans that include SNAP E&T as a partner program. It also presents as a case study the approach of Tennessee, a state that has taken important steps to better align its growing SNAP E&T program with WIOA, both at a strategic and an operational level. Finally, the brief discusses the policies relevant to the alignment of WIOA and SNAP E&T as well as suggestions for integrating these programs in a way that is beneficial to the expansion of job-driven SNAP E&T programs.
For state or local adult education administrators, this resource adds to the growing body of work on SNAP E&T implementation strategies. The case study of Tennessee’s SNAP E&T program provides the most useful example to date of state adult serving systems developing an ongoing strategy for braiding SNAP E&T funds with education funds. While the other states profiled in this report offer few details, the Tennessee example names specific roles for state agencies and local providers.
Adult education has long served public benefits recipients but often without thought to aligning services or leveraging funding. Recent efforts by multiple states to align SNAP E&T services with education and workforce development services are enhancing services participants receive and building stronger relationships between organizations seeking to support individuals to economic self-sufficiency.
The case studies are valuable in their descriptions of the complementary use of SNAP E&T and workforce development. Additionally, the section on moving forward proffers ideas that may better align WIOA and SNAP E&T program services including: planning and coordinating processes involving state human/social services and labor/workforce agencies; deepening partnerships between SNAP E&T and America’s Job Centers cross-referrals, common assessment, and alignment through sharing of data and data systems; expanding third-party partnerships; using career pathways as a framework for alignment; and seeking opportunities to better align through the coordination of non-core programs with WIOA programs (e.g., TANF, SNAP, etc.).