Over the last two decades, labor force participation rates across the nation have shrunk while food stamp enrollment has skyrocketed.
These two datapoints should be sounding alarm bells.
Federal and state assistance programs were created to offer support and stability to people who are unable to work, or as temporary help for able-bodied adults who fall on hard times. But decades of welfare-expanding policies have warped many federal and state assistance programs into permanent income sources trapping able-bodied adults into lives of dependance and limiting resources for the truly needy.
However, as the Foundation for Government Accountability’s VP of Communications, Nick Stehle explains, “While the federal government continues to expand welfare and trap people in dependency, states have powerful yet underutilized tools like Employment and Training (E&T) programs at their disposal.” E&T programs provide participants with work training, job coaching, and other resources to help them re-enter the labor force and eventually get off food stamps. Stehle continues, “By using already existing E&T programs, states can provide able-bodied adults an alternative pathway into the workforce, which helps tackle labor force participation, welfare enrollment, and inflation.”
The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) has been the nationwide leader in research and advocacy for E&T programs and is leading the charge on implementing E&T in as many states as possible.
To help champion E&T programs across the nation, FGA’s experts knew they needed to show policymakers the real positive impacts E&T programs create, and how states can implement them into law.
To do this, FGA embarked on a year-long campaign producing research on the wide-ranging benefits of E&T programs. The papers FGA produced included:
While FGA’s campaign spurred discussion and debate around E&T programs in many states, the biggest victory of FGA’s campaign came from Kansas. According to FGA’s Marketing Director, Victoria Eardley, “FGA’s biggest accomplishment regarding the E&T work requirement was the passing of HB 2448 in Kansas. The state’s Republican legislature overrode Gov. Kelly’s veto to replace a traditional work requirement that DC has banned until the end of the public health emergency. With this new law, Kansas now requires nearly 15,000 able-bodied adults without dependents to find work or sign up for job training as a condition of receiving food stamps.”
On a federal level, FGA worked with Representative Rodney Davis (IL) on The America Works Act of 2022. This bill would reinstate work requirements (that had been suspended since 2020) for able-bodied adults without dependents on food stamps. FGA also worked with Senator Rick Scott (FL) to introduce the Let’s Get to Work Act of 2022 which would end the current suspension of SNAP’s work requirements for most able bodied adults.
All these reforms (and the discussion and debate around the reforms) were made possible by FGA’s campaign, and today—thanks to FGA—more Americans are on a path to self-sufficiency.
FGA’s VP of Policy and Research, Jonathan Ingram framed FGA’s campaign accomplishments best when he said, “With over 10 million open jobs and more than 3 million persons missing from the labor force post-pandemic, businesses are desperate for workers. As the federal government prolongs the federal work requirement suspension for the food stamp program, states can take action into their own hands to assign food stamp recipients to participate in E&T programs. This can kickstart state economies and bolster the workforce.”