USDA continues to estimate that WIC reaches only half of the eligible population, with particular difficulties in quickly onboarding pregnant women and retaining children as they grow. Recognizing that WIC’s service delivery must be updated to reflect practices long implemented in healthcare settings and retail grocery locations, Congress authorized $390 million in the American Rescue Plan Act to support outreach, innovation, and program modernization for WIC and the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).
Through direct funding to State WIC agencies and cooperative agreements and grants to external partners, USDA is driving forward a new era of innovation. WIC providers are already working to scale up new technology solutions that will enhance the WIC experience, including online shopping platforms and digital tools to streamline certifications. These new investments in technology are balanced with investments in the dedicated workforce that is the backbone of WIC services – including through workforce development strategies and direct hiring to expand WIC’s footprint in out-of-clinic spaces, including retail grocery stores.