New Bipartisan Bill Bolsters Effective Job Training Programs
CEO Media Contact:
Megan Giovannetti | [email protected] | 310.905.7811
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Training and Nutrition Stability Act fixes “Catch 22” that unfairly penalizes many Americans who utilize federal job training programs
New York, NY – May 8, 2023 The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), the country’s leading provider of comprehensive employment services to people recently released from incarceration, applauds the introduction of the bipartisan Training and Nutrition Stability Act, H.R. 3087. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), and Rep. Marcus Molinaro (R-NY) fixes a “Catch-22” in federal job training and nutrition assistance programs that denies benefits to those seeking quality job training and new employment opportunities.
Under current law, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollees who are taking part in a SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) program, or in other federal workforce training programs, risk losing their nutrition security because of earning temporary wages in job training or work-based learning programs. H.R. 3087 would remedy that by allowing jobseekers in programs supported by SNAP E&T, and other workforce programs, to leverage federal training dollars and maintain their nutrition benefits, leading to better training outcomes, permanent employment, and self-sufficiency.
“CEO applauds Reps. Espaillat, Adams, Miller, and Molinaro for their leadership in developing this bipartisan legislation,” said Sam Schaeffer, Chief Executive Officer of CEO. “The Training and Nutrition Stability Act would ensure the SNAP E&T program meets its Congressionally authorized mission of helping participants gain new skills and transition smoothly to permanent employment and self-sufficiency, all while maintaining critical nutrition support during their training program.”
In the last Farm Bill (the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018), Congress enabled state agencies administering SNAP to reimburse E&T partners, like CEO, for paying temporary wages to participants in E&T-authorized subsidized work-based learning (SWBL) programs. However, earning wages under this new provision leads to individuals being disqualified from SNAP, and therefore E&T, because wages newly earned in SWBL count against SNAP income eligibility calculations. Congress must step in to make technical corrections to the law to ensure it works as intended, and wages earned in a job training program do not negatively impact eligibility for SNAP and E&T supports thereby inadvertently closing off quality training experiences before they are completed.
“No one should have to choose between job training that will help them find economic security and putting food on the table,” Schaeffer continued. “CEO looks forward to continuing to work with the sponsors of this bill, along with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, to make this needed correction that will allow more people access to quality training and the tools to find a job and achieve economic security.”
“Currently, individuals in high-quality, evidence-based employment and training programs risk losing their nutrition security because of temporary earnings they receive through their participation,” said Congressman Espaillat. “Rules on whether these earnings count against SNAP participants’ eligibility are applied inconsistently across federal programs and funding streams, and this misalignment in policy has created confusion and benefit cliffs for affected individuals who are working to invest in their economic future. It is critical that we work to strengthen workforce opportunities and training opportunities so that individuals are not forced to choose between employment opportunity and skills development or food security.”
“Qualified SNAP recipients should not be penalized for working or seeking the education they need to support themselves. This legislation ensures that their nutritional needs are met without forcing them to abandon their goals of breaking out of the cycle of poverty. This bill will benefit eligible SNAP recipients and taxpayers alike in the long run,” Congressman Miller said.
“Food security programs shouldn’t punish people for building skills and seeking employment,” said Congresswoman Adams. “That’s why the Training and Nutrition Stability Act ensures that earnings from employment and training programs do not decrease SNAP benefits for hungry families, nor prevent participation in federal job-training programs where SNAP eligibility is a requirement. Making the choice to participate in job training should reduce food insecurity, not perpetuate it. This bill helps ensure the original intent of bipartisan legislation that included subsidized employment and apprenticeship as part of SNAP employment and training activities.”
“Under current law, participants in temporary job training programs are at risk of losing their SNAP benefits as they seek permanent employment. This bipartisan bill will strengthen the SNAP program and ensure job seekers who are working to advance their careers are not unfairly penalized,” stated Congressman Molinaro.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively to people recently released from incarceration. CEO currently operates in over 30 cities and is dedicated to ensuring that justice-impacted job seekers have opportunities to achieve social and economic mobility. For more information please visit: https://ceoworks.org