Workforce training programs would receive more federal funds under new Upton bill

Bipartisan legislation introduced on Jan. 25 by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) would support U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) workforce development programs that offer Americans a path toward developing new skills for long-term employment. 

“As we look to put our economy back on track, we need to invest in our workforce and ensure the talent is there to fill in-demand jobs,” Rep. Upton said, noting that the bill “will equip folks with critical, employable skills, helping small businesses and our communities as a whole here in southwest Michigan and across the country.”

Rep. Upton signed on as the original cosponsor of the Revitalize and Expand SNAP Education and Training (RESET) For America’s Future Act, H.R. 487, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). The measure would provide new resources for state and local governments through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers’ offices. 

The legislation would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to expand the law’s operation of the state employment and training programs, according to the text of the bill. 

Under existing regulations, more than half of the funds available through the SNAP E&T program have a matching provision that requires states or local partners to provide funding equal to at least 50 percent of the dollars for which they are reimbursed through the program. Unfortunately, according to Rep. Upton’s office, many states don’t fully leverage these 50/50 funds.

The bill would designate dollars spent through SNAP E&T on evidence-based programs as 100 percent fully federally reimbursable, and invest another $100 million into the program to help states better invest in their workforces in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, H.R. 487 would create a new SNAP E&T provision to let other federal funding streams count toward the required match, among other provisions.

The bill has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.