INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
The District could greatly expand access to employment-related education and training by taking better advantage of the employment and training component of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the food stamp program). The SNAP Employment and Training program (SNAP E&T) offers an opportunity for DC and the states to access federal funds to support workforce development efforts, but the District is not taking full advantage of this opportunity.
This policy brief provides background on the SNAP Employment and Training Program and offers recommendations for expanding it in DC. With unemployment in the District still near 11 percent, one of the highest levels in the past 30 years, efforts to expand access to education and training are extremely important.
SNAP E&T provides federal funding to cover 50 percent of the costs of a wide array of services intended to improve employment for SNAP participants, including job search assistance, GED preparation, community college tuition and materials, job skills training, counseling, and supportive services such as child care and transportation. The District and the states can receive SNAP E&T funds to support services operated by a variety of government agencies ‘ such as the Department of Employment Services and the Department of Human Services ‘ and also to help nonprofits expand their education and training efforts.
Because eligibility for SNAP food benefits is broad, covering many residents under 130 percent of the federal poverty level, SNAP E&T can support education and training for a large share of DC’s low-income population. Under federal rules, SNAP E&T can be used to serve SNAP recipients other than those also receiving TANF cash assistance. This means that the program can serve low-income single and married adults without children, non-custodial parents, and parents caring for children if they are not on TANF. This is likely to include a large share of DC’s 140,000 SNAP recipients.
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