WASHINGTON, March 20, 2015 – USDA announced today $200 million in funding that will go toward the development and implementation of job training programs for Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) participants in 10 states.

"Helping people find and keep good jobs is the right way to transition recipients off of SNAP assistance and ultimately reduce program costs,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “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 grantees include a diverse set of pilot projects that will offer skills training, work-based learning, support services such as transportation and child care, and other job-driven strategies, USDA said. The department will fund the selected projects for three years and will evaluate whether they can be executed on a national scale in consultation with research consultancies, Mathematica Policy Research and MDRC.

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House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, praised the USDA’s use of the 2014 Farm Bill funds and said the selected pilot projects “will help able-bodied SNAP recipients climb the economic ladder.”

Projects selected include:

     Fresno County Department of Social Services, Calif.

     Delaware Department of Health and Social Services

     Georgia Division of Family and Children Services

     Illinois Department of Human Services

     Kansas Department for Children and Families

     Kentucky Department for Community Based Services

     Mississippi Department of Human Services

     Virginia Department of Social Services

     Vermont Department for Children and Families

     Washington Department of Social and Health Services

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said in a press release that he hopes the Mississippi partnership (Mississippi Works Career Assessment Program) “will encourage federal policymakers to take a new look at how to improve social welfare programs.”

He added, “While the farm bill incorporated provisions to fight fraud and abuse of the welfare system, it was also critical that this law support innovative new approaches that might be more successful at helping recipients find jobs so that they’ll no longer need assistance.”




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