Washington State’s Basic Food Employment and Training Program

By the Seattle Jobs Initiative

June 4, 2014

Summary

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.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

How Washington State Took its SNAP E&T Program to Scale Quickly

In 2004, a group of government, community college and community-based organization (CBO) leaders came together in Seattle to utilize SNAP E&T in an innovative way to better meet the needs of low-income and low-skill residents. The Washington’s Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) program grew from $150,000 at its launch in October 2005 to more than $29 million today, expanding from Seattle to the entire state, and from one community college and a handful of CBOs to all 34 of the state’s colleges and more than 30 CBOs.

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.

Outcomes Summary

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