Assessment of Mandatory E&T Programs

Project Overview

The Food Security Act of 1985 established the SNAP E&T (employment and training) Program to help recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) gain the “skills, training, or experience that will increase their ability to obtain regular employment.” While all states must operate a SNAP E&T program, they have flexibility in designing their programs, including whether to make them mandatory or voluntary, what E&T components or activities to include, and what populations and locations to target.

This project examines administrative practices of mandatory state E&T programs and assesses how they affect E&T participation, sanctions, and employment for mandatory E&T participants. Although the purpose of sanctions is to enforce mandatory work requirements, little is known about how specific E&T processes and services affect participant outcomes. FNS identified three objectives of this study:

  1. Conduct an evaluation to understand the process for screening, notifying participants, and enrolling them in mandatory E&T programs.
  2. Determine the main reasons mandatory E&T participants are sanctioned.
  3. Assess how well mandatory programs help SNAP E&T participants gain skills, certificates, and credentials; gain stable, well-paying employment; and move toward economic self-sufficiency.

As part of this project, Insight—

  • Reviewed state E&T plans and activity reports, staff training materials, state and local policy manuals and memos, notices, handbooks, desk guides, and reported outcome measures
  • Conducted six site visits to states with mandatory E&T programs, including administrative data collection and a total of 120 in-depth interviews
  • Conducted process mapping exercises with 12 local offices
  • Analyzed administrative data from SNAP case records and E&T providers to assess mandatory E&T participation rates, sanction rates, and subsequent employment


Final report