(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Annette Quijano, Jamel Holley and Yvonne Lopez making the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training Provider Demonstration Project permanent and renaming the program to recognize that it would no longer be a demonstration program cleared the Assembly Human Services Committee on Thursday.

“Ultimately, this program has helped our residents gain skills and training which will help them obtain regular employment,” said Quijano (D-Union). “This has been proven to work, so we should absolutely continue it.”

A state law passed in 2013 which went into effect in 2014 launched this demonstration project to run for 4 years, and these contracts are set to expire in August 2018.
This bill (A-3647) would make the Project permanent, change its name reflecting this, and the Commissioner of Human Services would issue a new request for proposals and select at least 3 partnering providers to participate in the project for each subsequent contract period.

“There is a myth that SNAP discourages work, but studies have shown this to be completely false,” said Holley (D-Union). “SNAP recipients want to work and be self-sufficient, and we should provide them the tools to do just that.”

According to a study conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 87 percent of SNAP households with a working-age, nondisabled adult had a participant working in the year before or after their time on SNAP. More than 60 percent were working while receiving SNAP.

The Program’s purpose is to assist members of households participating in gaining skills, training or experience that will increase their ability to obtain regular employment.
The Employment and Training programs must provide at least one of the following services:

• job search;
• job-search training;
• workfare;
• work experience or training;
• state, local or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act work programs;
• education programs;
• self-employment; and
• job retention services.

“We owe it to our residents to give them every opportunity to succeed,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “This Program helps people, most notably our youth, learn how to acquire and keep a job. It provides valuable lessons which can last a lifetime.”