Basic Food Employment and Training program expands to assist additional students
Yakima, Wash. — More recipients of Basic Food (SNAP) in Washington State will be able to take advantage of Yakima Valley College’s Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET) program with an expansion of eligibility to include transfer students. BFET provides services to Basic Food (SNAP) recipients to help them succeed in obtaining a college degree.
The BFET program provides employment readiness opportunities to Basic Food (SNAP) recipients who are not receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. BFET services are offered at YVC through a partnership between the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the college.
“I am so happy to finally see that the BFET program will include transfer-seeking students,” stated Workforce Program Coordinator Josefina Garza. “This expansion is something that has been advocated for over the last four years. We are thankful for the support of DSHS and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). Our students here at Yakima Valley College need to have the opportunity to focus on their education and not to worry who is going to be taking care of their children.”
At Yakima Valley College, BFET students receive supports including:
- Eligibility for a childcare subsidy (Working Connections Child Care) through the DSHS
- Eligibility to receive Basic Food Benefits (Food Stamps) while enrolled in college
- Tuition assistance
- Financial assistance with other college-related expenses (e.g., school supplies and books)
- Personal career assessment and planning
- Case management and employment plans
- Job search assistance and employment retention services
BFET partners with 33 of the 34 Washington Community and Technical Colleges to provide educational training such as vocational education, GED, High School Equivalency and basic skills.
Garza noted the approval of additional programs opens a significant number of opportunities for students.
“Students will now have the opportunity to enroll in a greater variety of degree programs. These programs offer pathways to careers that are in demand and offer family-sustaining wages for students living in the Yakima Valley. Programs like these will be critical in helping our region recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” continued Garza.
Students are eligible to receive BFET services if they meet the following criteria:
- Receiving or eligible to receive Basic Food benefits (SNAP)
- Household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty rate
- Must not be receiving TANF
- Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
- Must be enrolled in a professional/technical or transfer program
- Able to work, look for work or engage in work-study on campus for at least 20 hours per week and engage with a case manager.
Student Stormy Slack has found the support provided by BFET helpful in pursuing a college degree.
She states, “Being a BFET student has helped me in more ways than just financially. The monthly reports help me stay on track with my college career. This program helps me financially because I am currently only working two days a week because of my school schedule and COVID. The main thing that is helping me though is the monthly reports to look back on how I did that month and what I need to improve on.”
BFET is an important part of the state’s comprehensive workforce development system, helping low-income individuals, displaced workers, and employers reach their potential by encouraging economic well-being through skill acquisition, personal responsibility, and gainful employment.
Over the last year, YVC workforce staff along with the staff at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges have been working with DSHS to expand BFET eligibility in Washington State.
YVC is accepting applications now for spring quarter 2021. Enrollment in BFET is based on eligibility and availability of funds. Students may apply for BFET services at any time and must reapply each quarter. Apply for BFET services at YVC.
Learn more about YVC’s BFET and other special funding options at yvcc.edu/specialfunding.