Senator Larsen Comments on the Passage of SB143 the “Pathway to Work” Bill

CONCORD – Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen released the following statement regarding the Senate passage on SB 143, which creates a fourth component of the New Hampshire Working program called “Pathway to Work” designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own small businesses.

Senate Democrats continue their focus on job creation through economic opportunity, innovation, and growth. Senate Bill 143 was cited as a top legislative priority for Senate Democrats when they outlined their jobs agenda back in January.

“The New Hampshire Working program is a successful three-part jobs initiative we created with Gov. Lynch in 2010 to assist workers to Stay at Work, Return to Work, and Get Ready to Work. Senate Bill 143 would build on that success by adding a fourth component, “Pathway to Work,” which is an innovative program designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs and perhaps provide jobs for others by starting their own small businesses.”

At the public hearing representatives from the Department of Employment Security and the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center testified in support of this bill which is sponsored by Democrats and Republicans.

“Senate Bill 143 provides the pathway for unemployed participants to work with our state’s Small Business Development Center to engage in entrepreneurial training, business counseling, and technical assistance. This will allow them to have access to resources and training needed to establish a business and become self-employed.”

In order to be eligible for the “Pathway to Work” program, an unemployed worker must be: 1) eligible to receive regular unemployment compensation 2) permanently laid off from his or her previous jobs 3) identified (through NH state’s profiling system) as likely to exhaust regular unemployment compensation 4) participate in “Pathway to Work” activities such as entrepreneurial training, business counseling, and technical assistance 5) actively engage on a full-time basis in activities relating to the establishment of a business and becoming self-employed.

“This is a no cost program allowed under Federal Unemployment Compensation laws. Several other states including New York, Oregon, and New Jersey have a greater than 50% success rate in transitioning entrepreneurial unemployed persons into meaningful work. Senate Democrats and Republicans talk about ensuring NH workers have the skills and opportunities they need to succeed. Passing “Pathway to Work” is a way to do that for unemployed people, particularly older more experienced workers, who are more likely to exhaust their state benefits.”

Senator Larsen put a particular emphasis on the fact this program will not cost the state any additional money than would be incurred if the state had not participated in “Pathway to Work.”