This report provides an extensive overview of Washington’s Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) program and, more broadly, of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T).
BFET is viewed as a national model for expanding SNAP E&T programs by building on the existing service delivery capacity of community colleges and community-based workforce training providers. This paper covers the history and development of the BFET program; the nuts and bolts of how the BFET program operates; how the BFET program is utilized by community colleges and community-based organizations; and a short overview of program outcomes. The paper summarizes the best practices that have emerged from BFET and offers recommendations to other states and localities in expanding SNAP E&T programs.
How Washington State Took its SNAP E&T Program to Scale Quickly
Findings & Stats
The Growth of Washington State’s BFET Program
The growth of Washington’s BFET program budget went form $1.31 million in FFY 2006 to $29.6 million in FFY16.
Employment and wage-rate outcomes of Washington State’s BFET programs show impressive gains.
The Complex Eligibility and Invoicing Processes
The complex eligibility and invoicing processes of Washington’s BFET program seeks to balance accuracy and efficiency. Third-party match SNAP E&T models – particularly those utilizing a “reverse referral” model like BFET – require similar processes that are facilitated by a shared case-management database.
Statements & Quotations
[BFET] has been designed as a true workforce development program, one that benefits low-income and low-skilled individuals by focusing on skills attainment needed to help people advance to living-wage jobs. Unlike some mandatory programs, it was never conceived as a way to force those living in poverty to simply do something to meet their requirements.
Because BFET is based on leveraged funds, its success is in part driven by the fact that multiple players – the federal government, the state, the community college system and individual colleges, community-based organizations, local government and philanthropic organizations – all have a stake in the program’s success.
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