What Works


Promising Practice of the Month

USING SNAP 50-50 to Expand Workforce Services, Generate Revenue & Sustain Programs – Worksystems Inc.

Portland, OR

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 50-50 is a federal grant program that reimburses providers with 50% of all costs used to improve existing services or create new services for SNAP recipients. States are required by law to operate a variety of SNAP programs, including Employment & Training (E&T) programs which provide SNAP participants with the skills and training they need to succeed in the workforce. In Oregon, the state Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for managing the SNAP grant program and determining SNAP recipients.

Worksystems Inc. is an organization in Portland, Oregon, that supports the regional Workforce Development Board and invests in workforce development activities for SNAP recipients under Portland’s SNAP E&T 50-50 “Career Boost” program. Worksystems plays an intermediary role by convening and coordinating service delivery partners within a consortium program. Service providers such as community colleges and nonprofits deliver program services for SNAP participants, including career coaching, vocational training opportunities, and job placement services. The consortium approach allows Worksystems to also provide services such as transportation assistance, childcare, or housing to SNAP 50/50 recipients – benefits that are not typically included under SNAP 50/50 but fall within Worksystems’ network of providers.

Over the last three years, Worksystems has been able to quadruple its federal match funding from $355,000 to an anticipated $1.5 million in the upcoming year, double the number of SNAP recipients served from 402 to an anticipated 910, and increase the number of partner organizations it works with from 12 to 14. Through its consortium approach, Worksystems is now better able to serve SNAP recipients and the larger community under a “One-Stop System” which provides workforce development resources for over 50,000 people on an annual basis. Rather than competing for federal funding, providers in the area are now able to cooperate as part of a single team and provide greater benefits to the community through a single point of contact.

Have a best practice you want to share? Be next month’s Promising Practice of the Month by submitting an application here. For more information on the WDC’s Best Practice Committee contact Megan Judge, mjudge@usmayors.org or (202) 861-6735.