Third Sector and National Governors Association to Expand SNAP E&T Programs

This month, Third Sector will launch a new project with the National Governors Association (NGA) and Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) to identify and address statewide barriers to successfully and equitably implementing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) to increase the number of third-party SNAP E&T providers in 8-10 states. 

SNAP E&T is a federal program each state administers to help SNAP recipients gain skills and find work that moves them toward economic mobility. While every state is required to administer a SNAP E&T Program, they employ many different approaches that do not always take full advantage of available funding and federal flexibilities that the program offers, creating a patchwork of programming that can make it difficult for local service providers to access SNAP E&T state funds to serve recipients. By coordinating with state workforce, human service, and financial departments, this project will help states unlock the potential of SNAP E&T to drive more resources and opportunities to service providers and SNAP recipients. 

"We are thrilled to join the NGA and our partners at SJI to support states committed to expanding opportunities for people looking for training and support to build the skills that will lead to jobs and careers that pay a living wage," said Caroline Whistler, CEO and co-founder of Third Sector. "With NGA as a critical partner, there is great potential to scale these learnings and make a meaningful impact across the nation."

Third Sector has extensive expertise working with state and county workforce development boards across the country to expand SNAP E&T. For example, Third Sector recently implemented a similar initiative with the National Association of Workforce Boards and will leverage its lessons and insights from that partnership in this project. We will work with the NGA and SJI to embed a continuous learning focus on all project activities by leveraging expertise in outcomes-focused government, human-centered design, and equity. 

"Creating and sustaining the kinds of systems that can support people to thrive has to be a collaborative enterprise. And, increasingly, states are seeing the benefits of collaborative spaces that enable them to learn, try new things, and build off of each other's work," said Jess Praphath, Managing Director, Economic Mobility at Third Sector.

There will be two Policy Academies serving 4-5 states each. Through the Academy, senior state officials from human service, workforce development, procurement, and financial management departments will collaborate with NGA, Third Sector, and SJI to create individualized action plans to address barriers to successful, equitable SNAP E&T implementation.

"Governors are focused on increasing opportunities for those in their states, and this new funding allows us to help them achieve that goal. We're excited to work with Third Sector Capital on this project, and the information we learn together will help states more effectively use the SNAP Education and Training program to help their residents move up the economic ladder," said Tim Blute, Director, NGA Center for Best Practices.

NGA, Third Sector, and SJI will administer the project for the next three years and share lessons learned with all states along the way.