published on July 31, 2017 - 1:24 PM
Written by David Castellon

Rep. Jim Costa has introduced a bill to bolster federal funding of employment and job-training programs for people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

He introduced the Results Through Innovation Act of 2017 bill to the House on Friday.

SNAP provides financial assistance to poor and unemployed people to purchase food.

If Costa’s bill is passed, it is intended to help SNAP recipients to gain employment through work-related education, job training, and job advancement classes so they can ultimately become self-sufficient, states a press release from the Congressman.

“For years I have been following how pairing education and training programs with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has transformed people’s lives in the San Joaquin Valley, and we have seen the success of programs that focus on helping individuals find long-term employment and start real careers,” Costa said in the release.

“These types of programs help individuals raise themselves out of poverty and become self-reliant, which is good for the individuals, good for their families, good for our communities and good for our nation.”

 The 2014 Farm Bill authorized funding for the development, implementation and evaluation of 10 SNAP employment and training pilot projects for three years in order to learn how to make such programs as effective as possible.

One of them was built on existing programs offered by the Fresno Bridge Academy, and “For seven years now, we have demonstrated at the Fresno Bridge Academy that we can help SNAP beneficiaries lift themselves out of poverty, and we can do so while earning very positive returns for taxpayers,” Pete Weber, founder and chair of the California Bridge Academies, said in a written statement.

“Congressman Costa’s bill will help millions of Americans lift themselves out of poverty while saving taxpayers billions of dollars in outlays for public assistance.”

Funding for the employment and training projects authorized in the Farm Bill ends in 2018, while funds for the grant program that Costa hopes to create through his bill would be available in 2019. That bill states each employment and training programs should meet certain requirements that include increasing short-term and long-term employment, as well as the earnings of households receiving SNAP benefits. They also should support a range of rural and urban areas and provide support services to help people participate in the programs — which can include transportation reimbursement and childcare.

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