Self-Employment Assistance Grant Boost for Dislocated Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the award of a two-state grant of almost $2.5 million ($2,335, 270) to be divided between Mississippi and New York for the implementation and enhancement of Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs respectively.

With the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 expanding funding for the SEA program, Dislocated Workers receive a self-employed allowance, in lieu of normal Unemployment Insurance while creating their own jobs and small businesses. The benefit of the program is that the allowance (which is the same weekly amount as the worker’s regular UI benefits) enables participants to turn launching their own business into a full-time job.

Mississippi, not currently enrolled in the SEA program, will receive $356,271 of the grant joining Delaware, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island as an active state. The fund is to be used in developing, implementing, and administering a permanent program in partnerships with businesses, nonprofits and government organizations.

New York, with an SEA program already in place, will receive the remainder of the grant money as an enhancement aid for the existing program, enabling the Empire state to—along with other upgrades—” improve customer service and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of operations by teaching participants how to complete applications, certifications, benchmark forms and surveys online.”

The DOL has been active recently in attempting to get Dislocated Workers back into the workforce. They announced a $58 million state grant infusion to promote training for long-term unemployed Dislocated Workers (which KRA Corporation highlighted in a recent post Getting Dislocated Workers Back to Work).

The move is one that Acting Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Eric M. Seleznow, foresees being the gateway for future job creation beyond those looking to create their own jobs. He was quoted as saying that it would help “unemployed residents create their own jobs and eventually start hiring employees of their own,” as well as “form their own businesses while potentially boosting economic activity in the state.”

KRA Corporation understands the importance of aiding Dislocated Workers. Our WIA Adults/Dislocated Workers operations provide vital services—including training services that link customers to job opportunities in their communities, including both basic skills and occupational training skills—to Adult and Dislocated Workers.

KRA Corporation applauds the DOL’s innovative attempt at infusing new direction into the UI program, and we support any of those individuals that seek to utilize this opportunity to create their own enterprise and in doing so potentially help to generate economic growth, develop the workforce, and strengthen communities in those participating states.