Updated August 2017
This public benefits system provides monthly food-related assistance to qualifying individuals. Federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), CalFresh collaborates with partners to identify education programs as potential components of CalFresh Employment & Training (E&T). Partners also help develop protocols to verify exemptions for individuals enrolled in a postsecondary education/training while still qualifying for E&T benefits, and processes to verify participation in educational programs.
Resources: Legislation (AB1930, Welfare and Institutions Code Section 18901.11)
The CalFresh initiative is largely supplemental—opportunities to enhance it via a career pathways system are limited, but do exist.
Connecting CalFresh Employment & Training programs with WIOA career pathway programs and identified in-demand sectors—and likewise connecting WIOA participants with CalFresh—could help ingrain a self-sufficiency model into the initiative and contribute to a key outcome goal of a career pathways system. Encouraging CalFresh administrators to connect eligible participants with additional benefits and resources could facilitate this goal.
California Department of Social Services All County Letter No 17-05 details an expanded list of programs that qualify a student for an exemption from the student eligibility rule including Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), College Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS), Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE), work study eligibility, and others. Applying this directive could qualify otherwise ineligible students for CalFresh exemptions.
California currently has two CalFresh innovations underway: the California Community Colleges Foundation CalFresh initiative Fresh Success and the SNAP E&T pilot at Reading and Beyond at Fresno State. There is also opportunity to receive 50% reimbursement for SNAP E&T funds, incentivizing provision of student support services.