Spanberger, Upton introduce legislation to strengthen workforce training
Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Fred Upton (R-MI-06) introduced bipartisan legislation on Monday to strengthen support for USDA workforce development programs.
The bipartisan Revitalize and Expand SNAP Education and Training (RESET) For America’s Future Act would provide new resources for state and local governments through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program.
To make sure taxpayer dollars are leveraged more effectively and that families receiving services get the help they need, this legislation would specifically target these new funding opportunities towards evidence-based workforce and job training programs.
“SNAP E&T has a proven record of helping American workers obtain the skills and training they need to find regular employment and provide for their families. To come out of this pandemic stronger than before, we must focus on both improving our nation’s workforce development programs and increasing access to critical opportunities like SNAP E&T,” Spanberger said. “Our RESET for America’s Future Act provides USDA with additional tools to better coordinate and align SNAP E&T with the needs of our communities on the ground. In the face of our current economic crisis, I’m committed to responding to the long-term and short-term needs of Central Virginia’s economy – and this legislation gives Virginia workers additional avenues to achieve their career goals. I’d like to thank Congressman Upton for his partnership on this important legislation.”
“As we look to put our economy back on track, we need to invest in our workforce and ensure the talent is there to fill in-demand jobs,” said Upton. “The RESET for America’s Future Act will equip folks with critical, employable skills, helping small businesses and our communities as a whole here in southwest Michigan and across the country.”
Specifically, the RESET for America’s Future Act substantially increases federal reimbursement for programs and services that are rigorously proven, rigorously evaluated for the first time, or include a contract that ties at least 20 percent of funds to positive outcomes – such as improved future earnings.
Under existing regulations, over half of the funds available through the SNAP E&T program have a matching provision which requires states or local partners to provide funding equal to at least 50 percent of the dollars for which they are reimbursed through the program. Unfortunately, many states don’t fully leverage these 50/50 funds, and it is expected that the additional financial stress of COVID-19 has made these funds even more difficult to access.
The bill would designate dollars spent through SNAP E&T on evidence-based programs as 100 percent fully federally reimbursable, while also putting $100 million more in federal funding into the program, to allow states to better invest in their workforce in response to COVID-19.
“As the nation begins to recover from the pandemic and its devastating economic impact, we need to ‘build back better’ and help put people back to work in careers that pay a living wage,” said Duke Storen, commissioner, Virginia Department of Social Services. “This good government legislation creates incentives for states to implement evidence-based services that are proven to help families rise out of poverty while meeting the needs of employers.
“In Virginia and every state across the nation, we need the additional resources and program flexibilities this legislation provides to better serve low-income families and to efficiently knit together the various education and training programs offered to states by the federal government,” Storen said.
“To make progress on recovering from the pandemic and the economic crisis at the pace and scale our country needs we must invest in people and build skills that advance economic mobility,” said Michele Jolin, CEO & co-founder, Results for America. “The RESET for America’s Future Act’s focus on integrating evidence and data into the SNAP E&T program is vital to getting that done.”
“This bipartisan bill will drive better program outcomes and provide relevant stakeholders with much needed flexibility to meet the real-world needs of communities. It has the potential to make our federal workforce development system more equitable and more accountable to the people it is meant to serve,” said Caroline Whistler, co-founder & CEO, Third Sector Capital Partners. “I especially appreciate Representatives Spanberger and Upton for listening attentively to the feedback of local officials, providers and nonprofits who depend on the SNAP E&T program, and taking that feedback under careful consideration in crafting this legislation.”
“This bold legislation will make our federal workforce development system more inclusive, more innovative, more coordinated with other relevant programs, and more focused on measurably improving equitable outcomes for families and communities across the country,” said Deborah Smolover, executive director, America Forward. “I applaud Representatives Spanberger and Upton for their bipartisan collaboration, and thank them for working closely with America Forward Coalition members to develop and introduce this timely legislation.”
Additionally, the RESET for America’s Future Act would:
- Allow 100 percent of SNAP E&T funds to go to additional support services supporting evidence-based, outcomes-based payment activities authorized under this bill,
- Allow program participants covered under this bill, who are eligible for any services or enroll in any programs or projects covered under this subsection, to remain eligible for up to six months,
- Create a new SNAP E&T provision to let other federal funding streams, such as other workforce-development funding under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), count towards the required match, and
- Allow 100 percent SNAP E&T reimbursement of state level data costs, within certain limitations, to facilitate program enrollment and inter-program alignment.
Click here to read the full bill text.