- President Joe Biden’s Department of Agriculture is dishing out $6 million to state agencies so they can advance “racial equity” in programs that train food stamp program participants, according to a grant application released in June.
- States that run a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) must demonstrate their employment and training (E&T) program will collect data to promote racial equity.
- The Department of Agriculture released an equity action plan in April that explained how the agency has been ordered to “incorporate equity into farm, family, and food programs that touch every American’s life – including fortifying civil rights where improvements need to be made.”
The Department of Agriculture is offering roughly $6 million to state agencies so they can advance “racial equity” in a training program used to assist food stamp program participants, according to a federal grant application.
The grant is in connection with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) employment and training program (E&T) that helps food stamp participants “gain skills, education, training, and experience that lead to good, stable jobs and greater economic stability.” It was released roughly two weeks ago and applications are due by late August.
“Proposed projects should ultimately advance the ability of States to use data to continually assess and adapt SNAP E&T policy and operations to improve and maintain equitable access and outcomes of E&T programs for all participants,” the grant says.
The Democratic Party’s lurch toward equity, which emphasizes equality of outcome, has been criticized by Republicans as discriminatory. Equity is defined as “the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment,” according to the White House.
Every state in the U.S. must operate a SNAP E&T program and agencies receive federal funding annually for program upkeep, according to the department. E&T programs “hold significant potential in advancing equity for underserved populations,” however states might not have the experience or resources to evaluate whether they are acting “equitable,” the grant says.
Programs do not currently have a “user-friendly way to collect data” to promote racial equity, says the grant. In order to qualify for the funding, states are required to collect data on E&T program participants.
Applicants are supposed to provide the Biden administration information on whether their group’s leadership is diverse and examine if their E&T programs may be fostering “inequitable outcomes,” such as in the case of food stamp participation.
“How will the project reduce racial/ethnic disparities in participation and outcomes of SNAP E&T programming? How will the project promote equity?” says the grant application.
Equity has continued to be a priority of the Biden administration. Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office rescinding a Trump-era order that banning federal contractors from offering diversity programs and trainings in workplaces and also directed federal agencies to conduct “equity assessments.”
Biden also signed an order in June 2021 that directed federal agencies to require diversity trainings. The order was intended “to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the Federal workforce” and directed the Office of Personnel Management to review wage regulations to ensure there is “pay equity.”
The Department of Agriculture released an equity action plan in April that was “in support” of Biden’s January 2021 order. The plan described how the agency’s programs have been ordered to “incorporate equity into farm, family, and food programs that touch every American’s life – including fortifying civil rights where improvements need to be made.”
The Department of Agriculture did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment, nor did The White House.
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