If you receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, you can volunteer to participate in employment and training (E&T) programs that can help you get back to school or guide you on your career path. On this page, learn more about the programs that can help you succeed, how you might be able to get help paying for child care, transportation costs, and more, as well as steps you can take to succeed in your program. Your county assistance office (CAO) caseworker and your employment and training case manager can give you more information.

Go to: Available Programs | Program Requirements | Job Assistance Activities

E&T Supportive Services

Individuals participating in approved SNAP activities, including approved E&T activities, are eligible to receive special allowances (SPALs). SPALs are targeted, needs-based grants to cover the cost of items needed to successfully participate in E&T activities.

Learn More About Supportive Services

Available Programs

If you receive SNAP, you may be able to volunteer to go to one of these programs. Programs are offered in select counties. Talk to your caseworker about what is available for you and for more information.

SNAP 50/50

View current SNAP 50/50 locations

SNAP 50/50 sites are partnerships between non-profit organizations, the United States Department of Agriculture, and DHS at the state level. Non-profit organizations leverage their funding with matched funds from the federal government to provide career-specific skills training for people receiving SNAP benefits. SNAP 50/50 program participants gain skills through program completion that help them get a job and excel in career paths like culinary arts, hospitality, banking, health care, and skilled labor. The programs also help with job placement and job retention skills.

  • For you if: You only get SNAP benefits and want to get hands-on learning experiences in skilled job fields.
  • Can help you get and keep skilled employment that allows you to support yourself and your family
  • Benefits:
  • Local community-based organizations offering work experience and skills training
  • Work in fields with a living wage
  • Ability to learn new skills and build work history while getting SNAP
  • Some providers focus on helping people on SNAP with a criminal history or probation/parole

KEYS (Keystone Education Yields Success)

  • For you if: You are already going to OR are interested in attending a PA community college and meet certain additional requirements.
  • Can help you graduate from college with your degree or certificate and start your career
  • Benefits:
  • Help navigating the college system, including financial aid and career exploration
  • Supports to help students succeed
  • Class and some study time are counted activities toward hourly requirements for able-bodies adults without dependents (ABAWDs)
  • Peer groups that link KEYS students for support

SNAP EARN (or CAO-directed)

  • For you if: You are interested in an employment and training program that can include adult education or other independent training programs; OR, you want to get your GED.
  • Can help you use your time to find employment or adult education opportunities to help support yourself and your family
  • Benefits:
  • Support to go to self-initiated education/training at a college or certain career and technical schools.
  • Connections with other agencies, adult education programs, and community service.
  • The opportunity to complete an active job search for up to 60 days in a 12-month period,
  • In some counties, a SNAP Work Ready contractor provides additional case management services.

Program Requirements

Participation in an employment and training program is voluntary for those receiving SNAP. If you are a healthy adult who is not living with children, you could be subject to special time limits that allow a person to get only three months of SNAP benefits unless they are working or are enrolled in an employment and training program. Your caseworker will let you know if these rules apply to you.

If you volunteer to participate, you must participate for a certain number of hours every month in certain activities to stay in the program. The number of hours needed varies depending on your situation and whether special time limits apply to you. Your caseworker will go over how many hours you will need to participate, and your case manager will go over what specific activities are available for you.

Job Assistance Activities

If you are planning to start a training program or go to school on your own, please let your caseworker know as soon as possible. The best time to do so is at least a couple of weeks before your first day. This will help your caseworker make sure you get credit for going to the program and ensure that you get the most help possible paying for the things you need, such as child care and transportation.

Your caseworker will then refer you to a provider who will work with you to make a service plan for how you can succeed in employment and training. There are many ways you can fulfill your hourly requirements at your program.

Activities can include (but are not limited to):

  • Job search
  • Job readiness and preparation
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) education
  • Adult basic education
  • GED/high school diploma preparation
  • Vocational training (all vocational education activities need to be discussed with your caseworker and your case manager before starting, due to time limits on this activity)
  • Enrollment in a KEYS program institution
  • Community service

Need help?

Statewide Customer Service Center
Toll-free: 877-395-8930

Philadelphia: 215-560-7226

Please reach out to your SNAP team if you:

  • Need to report a change
  • Cannot attend your program
  • Have benefit-related questions
  • Need supportive services

The phone number for your caseworker is on the agreement you signed called the Employment Development Plan.

Be Prepared!

Prepare for your first day:

Set up child care (Find your local Early Learning Resource Center)
Arrange transportation beforehand *
Get directions to your program location using the address listed on your Employment Development Plan
Pack a lunch (lunch will NOT be provided)
Take your Employment Development Plan and ID to your program

How to succeed in employment and training:
Attend every scheduled day
Arrive on time
Work with your case manager to develop a plan that meets your needs and fulfills your requirements
Take advantage of workshops, job fairs, etc.
Call your program if you have problems getting there

* If you have trouble arranging child care and/or transportation, call your caseworker so that they can help you. Have a "back-up plan" for times when unexpected problems arise. This will help you to not miss time at your program.

Please Note: ​The information provided on this site never replaces talking to your caseworker or employment and training case manager.