In addition to nutrition assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides employment and training (E&T) services to unemployed and underemployed participants. This study conducted a nationally representative survey to gain a better understanding of SNAP work registrants, SNAP E&T participants, and SNAP E&T service providers. The study also 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 prior comprehensive evaluation of SNAP E&T had been conducted more than 20 years earlier, making this study critically important to understanding E&T participants and programs.
All 53 state SNAP agencies operate E&T programs to help SNAP recipients find work and/or gain skills, training, or experience needed for employment. Each state can decide whether its E&T program is voluntary or mandatory. SNAP participants not exempted specifically by statute are subject to work requirements as a condition of eligibility. In FY 2013, there were 13.3 million SNAP participants registered for work and approximately 634,000 were expected to participate in E&T programs.
Each state has flexibility in designing its E&T program to tailor services to the needs of specific populations or areas, but every program must contain one or more of the following components: (1) job search; (2) job search training; (3) workfare; (4) work experience or training; (5) state, local, or Workforce Investment Act work programs; (6) education programs; and (7) self-employment.
The study included development of a sampling frame, survey, focus group instruments, and collection and analysis of the data. The findings from this study informed policy recommendations and contributed to the knowledge on SNAP E&T services.
- Developed and pretested data collection protocols
- Recruited and conducted focus groups across the country in English and Spanish
- Analyzed and wrote findings from focus group data