SNAP Cohort 2 Grant Cycle Opens
The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) is pleased to announce the completion of Phase One of its SNAP Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) grant program. In 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service awarded $1.2 million over the course of 3 years to the Network, in partnership with JVS Boston. The funding is being used to build the capacity of Network member agencies interested in becoming certified SNAP E&T providers for SNAP beneficiaries. The grant supports 15 member agencies over the three-year period. The project began in January 2022 with 5 agencies and the first cohort has successfully completed Phase One, which consisted of a six-session technical assistance (TA) learning curriculum. In Phase Two these agencies will continue to receive individualized TA and coaching from member agency and partner in this project, JVS Boston, who has been managing a successful SNAP E&T program since 2015. With an additional 5 agencies to be trained in each of the next two years, NJHSA is seeking agencies interested in participating in Cohort 2, which will begin in December 2022.
Why SNAP E&T
Concerned that communities and workers across the nation continued to grapple with the impacts of an uneven economic recovery, NJHSA applied to the USDA for a SNAP E&T training grant. America’s workers and families have not been impacted equally by the pandemic. Black, Indigenous, people of color, women, immigrants, people without a college degree, and workers in low-wage jobs and in rural communities continue to face systemic barriers to good jobs and economic mobility in the recovery. Often underutilized, the USDA’s SNAP E&T program offers States the ability to leverage and expand existing policies, programs, and funding streams to provide opportunities to grow supports and connections needed for increasing access to high-quality education, vocational training, and employment services to give those with barriers to employment the skills needed to participate in the economic recovery. Through partnerships with nonprofit human service agencies such as NJHSA, institutions of higher education and others, States can create pathways to accessing skills for SNAP beneficiaries who are unemployed and underemployed.
The SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program, serving 41.5 million people nationwide in 2021, with many households not having sufficient income even with SNAP benefits to get them through the entire month without hunger or being forced to sacrifice nutritional quality. Although most SNAP beneficiaries receive some earned income, only 20% of households (according to a 2019 USDA report) have gross monthly incomes above the federal poverty level. Helping SNAP beneficiaries to achieve a viable, sustainable wage is of utmost importance. Per Sarah Welch, NJHSA Vice President of Workforce Development Services: “NJHSA member agencies consistently work to holistically help all job seeking clients move to self-sufficiency. By assisting SNAP beneficiaries to obtain the skills and training that allow them to gain meaningful employment, we can reduce the number of families struggling with poverty and food insecurity. We can restore the dignity of SNAP beneficiaries.” By becoming SNAP E&T providers, NJHSA agencies can partner with their State programs to provide the needed services and supports to their SNAP clients.
NJHSA’s SNAP E&T National Partnership Grant program works with member agencies across the United States, providing them with the information and training they need to become certified SNAP E&T providers. At the end of each six-session learning cohort, agencies will understand and be more knowledgeable about SNAP E&T services, client eligibility requirements, USDA reporting, reimbursement processes, and successful SNAP E&T models. Agencies also receive assistance to prepare them to seek inclusion in their State’s plan as SNAP E&T providers.
In addition to the virtual and in-person group trainings, individual technical assistance sessions are provided to each agency along with a stipend to support their time and staff investment in becoming SNAP E&T providers. NJHSA staff also make site visits to participating agencies to learn more about their workforce programming, and for in-person consultation, additional technical assistance and support.
NJHSA’s SNAP E&T training program gives workforce member agencies additional tools and access to funding to better serve job seekers, who are also SNAP recipients, with employment services and training to secure sustainable employment. NJHSA staff works with each agency cohort to build strong SNAP E&T programs into their existing workforce programming by strengthening the comprehensive services and supports that member agencies provide. The program is a win-win for both the agencies and their clients receiving SNAP benefits. Agencies have additional resources to respond to their SNAP clients’ needs, and clients and their families are able to move towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.
NJHSA member workforce agencies that meet the criteria and wants to receive technical assistance to create new ways to support SNAP beneficiaries should attend the upcoming informational sessions.
The kick-off for the 2nd cohort is scheduled for Thursday, December 8th.
Please contact Lizzie Harrington, Program Director for the Network’s SNAP E&T partnership grant for more information, at LHarrington@networkjhsa.org.