The GAO report publicly released on Feb. 8 could endanger $18 billion annually in federal job training funds. The report revealed that nine separate agencies with 47 separate job training programs were unable to demonstrate any correlation between job training and a job. In fact, the vast majority of these 47 programs did not attempt to measure their outcomes.
What does this mean for Micro Enterprise programs in a Republican Congress? The likelihood is that the Republican leaders, such as Senator Coburn, will seek to abolish most of these programs and definitely cut funding from all of the programs, since none demonstrated a strong correlation between training and job placement. However, the Republican Party is at least as pro small business as the Democrats. Therefore, if Micro Enterprise programs work together, including those in areas with key Congressional leaders, it is quite possible that a significant portion of this $18B could be allocated to support self-employment and entrepreneurship.
In fact, last year the Dept. of Labor issued a report, “Think Entrepreneurship” making the case for tapping the job creating potential of the nation’s unemployed. In December, DOL even issued a guidance letter (TEGL 12.10) encouraging the use of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding for Self Employment and Entrepreneurship by local Workforce Investment Boards. Deploying WIA funding for self- employment training fulfills President Obama’s commitment to job creation.
Last year CAMEO members assisted over 21,000 entrepreneurs to start or grow a small business. These largely start- up businesses supported 47,000 jobs! With additional WIA funding for training and Technical Assistance, our members could help many thousands of unemployed Californians create their own job, and over time, jobs for others.
What we can do:
1. We in CA should develop a plan that would channel up to $800m a year for Micro Enterprise and other entrepreneurial programs, since our state’s annual share of these 47 separate job training programs would be approximately $2.5B annually.
2. Micro Enterprise development programs in CA should join together with other small business allies and our counterparts in other states to promote use of job training funds for Self Employment and Entrepreneurship.
3. Go to Washington DC and meet with key congressional leaders and key federal job training agencies and tell our story of the positive economic impacts of small and micro business development programs.
CAMEO will be in Wash. DC during the week of March 14th to continue our advocacy on this issue.