$200 million USDA grants fund job training for SNAP recipients

$200 million USDA grants fund job training for SNAP recipients

New job training funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients is authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill

USDA on Friday announced recipients of $200 million in grant funding for job training for persons enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps.

Related: Pricey Farm Bill Mired in Food Stamp Debate (commentary)

The funding will run and evaluate pilot projects in California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington that help SNAP participants find jobs and improve self-sufficiency.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offers opening remarks at the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Food Stamp Act at the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.

"Helping people find and keep good jobs is the right way to transition recipients off of SNAP assistance and ultimately reduce program costs," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday. "These pilots will give USDA and our state partners the opportunity to explore innovative, cost-effective ways to help SNAP recipients find and keep gainful employment in order to build a stronger future for their families."

The funding is authorized under Section 4022 of the 2014 Farm Bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said the projects will help participants "climb the economic ladder."

"I am committed to making sure that SNAP recipients are not trapped by the program and are able to reach their full potential," he said.

USDA said the pilots will focus on target populations identified by the farm bill, including individuals with low skills, able-bodied adults without dependents and SNAP recipients working in very low-wage or part-time jobs.

The selected pilots will include skills training, work-based learning, support services such as transportation and child care, and other job-driven strategies, USDA said. They also reflect the wide geographic diversity of the SNAP population. The grants will fund projects for three years.

Related: House legislators review SNAP history, future in hearing

Secretary Vilsack also announced that two respected research organizations, Mathematica Policy Research and MDRC, will conduct rigorous, independent evaluations of the projects that will help USDA to identify which approaches are most effective for the diverse population of SNAP recipients.

The most effective strategies could then be undertaken throughout the country, USDA said.

For further information about the projects, and cooperating projects, visit the SNAP Employment and Training Pilots website.

Source: USDA

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