DLT Director Fogarty Set to Announce Continuation of Program Designed to Help Eligible Unemployed Rhode Islanders Launch Their Own Businesses
> Center for Women & Enterprise partners with DLT to deliver intensive, nine-week classroom training to students — who are entrepreneurial-minded UI claimants.
August 6, 2014
RI Department of Labor and Training Director Charles J. Fogarty will announce this morning that DLT can continue offering a collaborative program along with the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) that helps eligible, entrepreneurial-minded Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants take an idea for a business from business plan to launch — while continuing to receive their UI payments.
DLT’s Business Workforce Center partnered with CWE in 2013 to start the Self-Employment Assistance Rhode Island program (SEARI). It consists of three weeks of classroom training by the end of which participants must develop and write a business plan. For the next six weeks, students receive direct feedback on their plans and one-on-one mentoring from successful Rhode Island businesspeople whose career experience matches the students’ chosen ventures or career pathways.
Today’s ceremony honors students who have successfully completed their classroom training and business plans. They will start working with their mentors next.
DLT sought and earned a grant of nearly $160,000 from the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to fund the program last year. Fogarty will use money from DLT’s authorization from the Fiscal Year 2015 State Budget to extend SEARI for another year, at a cost of about $100,000.
“Successful companies and organizations adjust to business cycles and are constantly positioning themselves for their next opportunities. Successful workers do the same thing — they spot opportunities and prepare to seize them,” Fogarty said. “In the same way, DLT is innovating to respond as quickly as we can to the needs of the workforce. The SEARI program has shown us that for the right cohort of UI claimants, entrepreneurship training can be an important alternative to traditional re-employment training and services.”
Since DLT’s and CWE’s first SEARI class graduated last August, 110 students have gone through the program, 25 of whom have launched businesses. To be considered for eligibility, a UI claimant must have at least 13 weeks of his/her current UI program year claim (of the 26-week maximum) remaining and must be able to start in SEARI no later than the eighth week of their claim.
Being able to work and available for work are the two bedrock requirements of anyone collecting UI payments. Because of the intensity of the SEARI program, however, ETA program regulations permit students not to have to conduct a job search.
ETA program regulations encourage state workforce agencies to collaborate with both Women’s Business Centers and local Small Business Administration (SBA) staff, and with SBA’s service providers, to best serve SEA participants and support their success as entrepreneurs.
ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.