Press Releases

DelBene Program Brings Washington $22 Million for Job-Training

The Department of Agriculture announced Washington will receive a grant to provide job-training to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients

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Washington, DC, March 20, 2015 | comments

As a result of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s (WA-01) bill, which was included in the Farm Bill, Washington state received $22 million to conduct a pilot program that will help those most in-need of finding stable employment.

“Helping people find good-paying, long-term employment in a high demand industry is the best way to ensure everyone has access to economic opportunities,” DelBene said. “These funds will help SNAP recipients become self-sufficient by giving them the specialized training and education needed to increase their earning potential. What’s more, this pilot will help reduce SNAP costs in the long run, while reducing hunger and unemployment in our state.”

As a member of the Agriculture Committee, DelBene helped shepherd a five-year Farm Bill to final passage last year by serving on the conference committee. Using criteria from Washington’s successful Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) program, the Congresswoman was able to include $200 million for  U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) competitive grant pilot programs to expand job-training opportunities for recipients of SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, in 10 states over three years.

In addition to Washington, projects in California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia and Vermont were chosen.

“I was honored to play a leading role in negotiating a deal that was not only good for agriculture, but will also help those who have fallen on hard times,” DelBene said. “It’s important to remember that these investments we make not only have an incredible effect on our economy, but also on people’s lives. This is a prime example of how investing a little money in a targeted way can save the government money in the long run.”

During the Farm Bill negotiations, DelBene fought Republican attempts to cut $38 billion from SNAP. Nearly 400,000 Washingtonians receive SNAP benefits, many of them children.

“Having been involved in Washington’s BFET program from the beginning, we have seen firsthand how effective it is helping people move from poverty toward self-sufficiency through skills attainment and good jobs,” said David Kaz, Policy Director at Seattle Jobs Initiative. “We are thrilled for our state to now have the opportunity to build on the program’s successes to help many more families move off SNAP.”

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