The Food Security Act of 1985 established the SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) 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 study addressed the growing interest in potential SNAP E&T expansion. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (“Farm Bill”) had recently mandated the testing of innovative strategies to connect more SNAP participants to employment and required additional reporting by States on E&T. The prior study of SNAP E&T had been conducted more than 20 years earlier, making this study critically important to understanding E&T participants and programs today.
This study was designed to gain a better understanding of the SNAP E&T program, including SNAP work registrants, SNAP E&T participants, and SNAP E&T service providers. The study included both a nationally representative survey of SNAP work registrants and SNAP E&T participants and qualitative research with SNAP E&T participants and SNAP E&T service providers across the United States. The qualitative research included focus groups with SNAP E&T participants to enhance understanding of their skill gaps and training needs, the services they receive from E&T providers, and the barriers they face in finding and retaining employment. The findings informed policy recommendations and contributed to knowledge of the characteristics of registrants and participants, the challenges they face, and the services available to them.
For this study, Insight—
- Developed and pretested data collection protocols
- Recruited SNAP E&T participants and conducted focus groups across the country in English and Spanish
- Coded, analyzed, and wrote findings from focus group data