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Andrea McConnell, 2017 Learning Academy participant

Andrea McConnell is the SNAP E&T Program Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She began her SNAP E&T career in 2015 as a Workforce Development Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Andrea plays an important role in building Minnesota's SNAP E&T Program, especially as the State strives to better serve low-income families by leveraging more 50 percent reimbursement funding. She felt that the Learning Academy was an excellent opportunity for her to learn more.

Learn more about Andrea's experience in the Learning Academy:

In your specific role, how did the Learning Academy support you in building your skills and having an impact on SNAP E&T?

As the SNAP E&T Program Specialist, my job is to learn as much as I can about the program in order to provide guidance and technical assistance to our SNAP E&T providers across the State. There is considerable flexibility in the delivery of the program. My understanding of this and the 50 percent reimbursement option were supported by the Learning Academy. Having access to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Seattle Jobs Initiative, and other States doing the same work proved to be an integral part of my skills growth.

Tell us about your Learning Academy project. How did it advance your learning? How does it help advance SNAP E&T?

Participation in the Learning Academy included the design and completion of a product that could be adapted for use by others doing this work. As the SNAP E&T Program Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, I developed a provider handbook for State contracted partners.

Minnesota is a State supervised, county administered State, adding extra layers to our SNAP E&T system. The development of the handbook facilitated the design of a standard process and understanding between the State, the county, and the provider receiving 50 percent reimbursement. The handbook helped to identify the various topics and steps that needed to be addressed along the way. It is a working document, always progressing to support system changes and improvement.

What are your plans for the future? How do you plan to continue your SNAP E&T work?

Minnesota continues to take on new providers and find ways in which to simplify the process for all entities. Our SNAP E&T team plans to continue making improvements to our State’s policy and provider tools, and sharing our program knowledge.