Welcome to the Washington State Basic Food Employment and Training Resource Website

Program Overview

The Washington State Basic Food Employment and Training (BFE&T or BFET) program provides job search, job search training, self-directed job search, educational services, skills training, and other employment opportunities to Basic Food (SNAP) recipients who are not participating in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) WorkFirst work program.  Services are provided through community or technical colleges and/or community based organizations (CBO).

BFET is an important part of the state’s comprehensive workforce development system serving the needs of low-income individuals, displaced workers, and employers by encouraging financial independence from public assistance through skill acquisition, personal responsibility and gainful employment.

Community Impact

As of Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2015, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in collaboration with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) operates the BFET program by partnering with 27 CBOs and 34 community and technical colleges statewide in Washington State. BFET provides employability assessments and a menu of services to eligible participants.

These services included:  

  • Assessment
  • Case management
  • Job readiness training
  • Basic skills/ESL training (e.g., literacy, math, vocational ESL, high school equivilancy preparation)
  • Vocational training
  • Job search assistance
  • Job placement
  • Participant reimbursements (support services such as transportation, child care, housing, clothing, and skill/wage progression)

It’s important to remember that not all BFET partner agencies provide all of these services.  Many agencies partner with other agencies to serve participants in order to provide better and more lasting outcomes.

Since BFET began in 2005, more than 50,000 individuals receiving food benefits have been served with employment training and support services.

The program has brought in over 40 million new dollars to local nonprofits and Community & Technical Colleges to deliver program specific services to Basic Food recipients.

Outcome data for people who began BFET services during the 3rd calendar quarter of 2011, tracked for 2 years after enrollment in BFET, shows that 73% obtained employment with a median hourly wage over $11.00 per hour.