Watertown-Sonyo Lee Ferstl-- New York continues its steady unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, higher than the 8.1 national average. The 9.1 percent of New Yorkers unemployed may feel uncertain as of what to do. Those that have been unemployed for some time begin to get discouraged after looking and not finding work, many unemployed give up on the search.
According to an NPR article written back in May of this year “ ‘Dejected’: Unemployed Give Up The Hunt” economists claim that “Many of those workforce dropouts were "discouraged" workers who moved to the sidelines after months, even years, of trying to nail down jobs.” The latest Bureau of Labor statistic released on September 7th, 2012 estimated that there were 844,000 discouraged workers in August of 2012. The U.S. Department of Labor defines “Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.”
The numbers of workers who feel like there is no hope, may potentially feel fortunate for living in New York. There are only 5 states that promote self-employment: Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon. Those fortunate enough to live in these five states can participate in the Self-Employment Assistance Program or otherwise known as (SEAP). Those 9.1 percent unemployed in New York might consider taking advantage of SEAP. Those who participate in the program would have to enroll in a training program that is approved by the Employment Security Department’s commissioner, be eligible for Commissioner approved training (CAT), and be currently on unemployment with the potential to run out of benefits.
According to SEAP, the training programs that they approve are the following:
Requirements to engage in activities relating to setting up a business and becoming self-employed
North Country residents can attend Jefferson Community College, as JCC is one local college with an approved SEAP program. ABC50 interviewed the Eric Constance, Regional Director of Jefferson Community College- Small Business Development Center. Mr. Constance has been with JCC for 15 years. He stressed the rewards of enrolling with the Small Business Development Center, as one can learn the following tools:
Business Plan Development
Loan Information Assistance
Procurement- Contract Assistance
Assistant Professor of Business at JCC explained to ABC50 the importance of supporting small business and the benefits it would have on the economy- “We are hoping that the small business sector will continue to grow and that we will continue to emphasize local produce in a lot of our small business and that will be a positive impact on the economy overall.” The Small Business Development Center offers one-on-one counseling appointments with qualified and experienced business counselors such as Assistant Director Ann Durant and adviser Sarah O’ Connell- working in the field for over 20 years.
The center works a lot with Fort Drum and offers military friendly guidance to the majority of military families transitioning out of the military or for spouses looking to expand their skill set. It is easy to get discouraged in this economy, but there is hope living in one of the 5 states in the U.S. to offer those that are unemployed, an entrepreneurship incentive. Those that are unemployed in the North Country can benefit from diving back into a SEAP approved training program. Such a program might change a discouraged, unemployed worker into one that is self sufficient and most importantly self-employed.