CEO’s ED, Sam Schaeffer,Testifies Before U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on SNAP Employment & Training Programs



Phone: 202-360-2853

Filmed and produced by the US Senate Recording Studio. Screenshot captured on September 14 via live web stream of the hearing. Watch the full video here.

WASHINGTON, DC, September 14 — Sam Schaeffer, chief executive officer and executive director of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry today about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) initiative and the benefits it offers formerly incarcerated people. More than 600,000 Americans return home each year from prison, and many will grapple with food insecurity and unemployment. Finding and keeping a job is essential to escaping food insecurity and leading a productive, fulfilling life. In his testimony, Schaeffer offered recommendations for the future of E&T funding, among them that more public-private partnerships and information sharing at the federal and state levels of government will lead to more impactful and cost effective programs.

CEO began operating as a SNAP E&T partner in New York in 2009 and since that time has leveraged $2 million of SNAP E&T 50/50 funds to serve more than 1,600 people across the state. As CEO replicated its program in other states, it established public-private partnerships with new SNAP agencies. Through these partnerships, CEO provides a comprehensive suite of employment and job placement services for men and women who are both recently released from incarceration and reliant on SNAP.

“SNAP has helped millions of Americans avoid hunger and food insecurity and saved millions more from suffering the most extreme effects of poverty. The employment and training services within SNAP are essential for supporting strong, healthy communities,” says Schaeffer. “People who are hungry are incapable of focusing on the things we ask them to making a career plan, showing up ready to work, being patient with co-workers and supervisors. As one of few government programs that specifically supports employment and training resources for adults with low incomes, SNAP E&T is a critical CEO partner.”

[WATCH NOW! Sam testifies at 1:36:50 and answers questions at 2:41:24.]

In addition to recommending continued support of E&T funding, Schaeffer recommended an increased emphasis on funding programs proven through rigorous evaluation to increase employment or reduce hunger. Schaeffer also recommended that states be encouraged to develop more robust networks of public-private partnerships, in order to deliver tailored services to meet the varying needs of SNAP recipients. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to workforce development and job training,” says Schaeffer, “so we must ensure that states have the flexibility and incentives to work with community-based organizations to design effective employment training programs that truly help SNAP recipients achieve self-sufficiency.”


The Center for Employment Opportunities is a nationally recognized leader in helping formerly incarcerated people gain the work experience, skills, and confidence needed to find and retain employment. CEO’s highly structured and supervised programs offer participants the tools needed to overcome considerable barriers to employment and to lead stable, productive lives. An evidence-based model forms the foundation for the organization’s program offerings. In a random control trial conducted by the independent research firm MDRC, CEO was found to reduce rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration among the study’s test group by (statistically significant) margins of 16 to 25 percent for three years following their release. CEO’s program is further remarkable in that it recognizes that every young adult faces his or her own unique risks and needs, and tailors its program to ensure younger participants receive services that are developmentally appropriate. And as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, CEO’s services are a cost-effective use of government funds. The 2012 MDRC study also found that, for every $1 spent on CEO services, the organization generated up to $3.30 in savings per taxpayer.

To read Sam’s full written testimony >

To read Sam’s oral testimony >

To view a full list of witnesses and read/watch their testimonies >

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