Integrating SNAP E&T into Tennessee's State Workforce Strategy

“Working together to navigate a path toward success for all Tennesseans.”

Tennessee’s vision statement embodies the State’s actions to integrate SNAP E&T into the broader statewide workforce strategy. With SNAP E&T, the State is boosting efforts to improve employment and training outcomes for low-income residents.

In Tennessee, SNAP E&T is managed as a partnership between the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) and the Department of Human Services (TDHS). The direct grantee for SNAP E&T funding is TDHS, but there is an inter-agency agreement with TDLWD to provide services through the workforce system.  

The State provides an array of services to support jobs and workforce development in Tennessee. Prior to its selection as a SNAP to Skills State, the program was limited in scope, utilizing exclusively SNAP E&T program grants (100 percent funds), and funding similar services as are typically offered at American Job Centers to SNAP participants in only 13 of 95 counties.  Through its participation in the SNAP to Skills Project, it became clear to the State that a SNAP E&T 50-50 reimbursement program utilizing third-party partners would allow for significant program expansion and diversification.   

A SNAP E&T planning group developed a SNAP E&T Business and Implementation Plan, calling for the piloting of a SNAP E&T 50-50 model in three counties with an eventual target of 42 counties. The Plan established a set of key milestones including: developing initiatives and programs with community-based agencies, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs), and community colleges that can be funded through SNAP E&T 50-50 reimbursement dollars; developing a child care eligibility model for SNAP E&T participants; and, establishing a “reverse referral” process between TDLWD and TDHS.

Through working with SNAP to Skills, TN has achieved the following accomplishments:

  • TN has on boarded four (4) partners under the 50-50 model that include: Goodwill of Knoxville, University of Tennessee Extension, Center for Employment Opportunities, and Goodwill of Middle TN.
  • Services are now being offered in all 95 counties.
  • Processes for reverse referrals between TDHS and TDLWD have been established. Also, the partnership between TDLWD and TDHS has been established to correct and improve processes/procedures.
  • TN now offers childcare to no cost to SNAP E&T participants if the participant has an identified barrier of childcare. SNAP E&T and Childcare Services have designed a plan to maximize the delivery and availability of safe and stable childcare services assisting families seeking to become independent from public assistance enabling parent(s) that are working, attending job training or educational programs in order to become self-sufficient. This two generational change initiative will work to redesign childcare service delivery to move Tennessee families to self-sufficiency. SNAP E&T is piloting this partnership in Knox and Overton counties, after which will expand statewide throughout FFY 2019.

Tennessee and its partners are coming together and are excited to move their SNAP E&T program forward with continued growth and success.