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ETA News Release: [12/23/2013]
Contact Name: Jason Kuruvilla
Phone Number: (202) 693-6587
Email: Kuruvilla.jason@dol.gov
Release Number: 13-2466-CHI

US Department of Labor unveils Self-Employment Training pilot program to help unemployed workers create their own business
Program available for qualifying residents in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties, Ohio

CHICAGO - The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a new three-year pilot program called the Self-Employment Training demonstration. This pilot program builds upon the department's existing efforts to promote self-employment as an effective re-employment strategy by testing effective ways to help dislocated workers start businesses in their field of expertise. The department is seeking interested and eligible participants to take part in the program to gain valuable entrepreneurial resources and to help the department understand how best to serve dislocated workers.

"For workers who have lost a job through no fault of their own, using their skills and creativity to start a successful business may be the best thing they can do for themselves and their community," said Eric Seleznow, acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training. "This Self Employment Training pilot program will help us learn how we can better serve these future entrepreneurs access the resources, information and training they need to get their businesses off the ground."

The pilot program is serving four metropolitan areas around the country: Chicago (City of Chicago and Cook County), Illinois; Cleveland (Cuyahoga and Lorain counties), Ohio; Portland (Multnomah and Washington counties), Oregon; and Los Angeles (Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County), California.

Participants of the SET demonstration are able to access intensive business development support from local service providers specializing in microenterprise development. This support will be available to participants for twelve months free of charge. Services include:

  • Prompt one-on-one engagement by experienced business development consultants
  • Assessment of needs to launch a business
  • Development of a customized service plan
  • Linkages with critical training and consultation services
  • Ongoing follow-up, guidance, and motivation by the business development consultants to help participants overcome potential obstacles
  • Up to $1,000 in microgrant funding to help participants cover costs directly associated with starting-up or operating their businesses. (Participants must first develop a satisfactory business plan and achieve other important milestones for launching their businesses).

The demonstration will include a strong evaluation component that will examine the program's impacts on participants' business establishment, employment, and other important outcomes. Findings from this effort will provide more evidence on the role of self-employment as a reemployment strategy for dislocated workers. The SET demonstration draws on evidence from prior research sponsored by the department, including the Growing America Through Entrepreneurship program (Project GATE) and other demonstrations that indicate self-employment assistance may be an effective strategy for dislocated workers.

Eligible participants are encouraged to apply for the Self-Employment Training pilot program. For more information, including program requirements, please review this brochure and frequently asked question document. The demonstration is open to all dislocated workers, individuals who lost a job through no fault of their own, aged 18 and older. For additional information on, including how to participate in, the Self-Employment Training program, please contact the Cuyahoga County and City of Cleveland Employment Connection at 216-348-4289, the Lorain County Workforce Investment Board at 440-284-4225, or the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.