Employment and Training Programs Are Underutilized but Remain Within Reach of All Americans

New research from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) shows how states can utilize existing employment and training options to help food stamp recipients connect with work, pursue opportunities through education, improve their skill sets, and more.

According to FGA’s report, there are now 11.3 million open jobs—a near-record high. Meanwhile, nearly three million individuals are missing from the workforce since the beginning of the pandemic—leaving businesses desperate to find workers.

The report shows that one underutilized tool is employment and training (E&T) programs, which states may use to connect adults ages 18 to 59 who are receiving food stamps with opportunities and help them gain freedom from government dependency.

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Even in rural states, most Americans live within commuting distance of an E&T program. Many states—such as Utah, Oregon, and Massachusetts—include virtual options as well, allowing participants to engage with E&T programs no matter where they live. Research also shows that 10 of the country’s most rural states have multiple E&T options available, with most states averaging four to six different program options.

“As the federal government prolongs the federal work requirement suspension for the food stamp program, states must take action into their own hands,” said Hayden Dublois, data and analytics director at FGA. “Lawmakers can and should assign food stamp recipients to participate in E&T programs in order to bolster their workforce and kickstart their economy.”

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