Self-Employment Training Demonstration

Prepared For

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Unemployment can be a devastating experience for individuals, their families, and their communities. Self-employment and microenterprise development can offer dislocated workers—the unemployed and underemployed—a pathway to self-sufficiency, especially if they are also members of underserved populations.

The Self-Employment Training (SET) Demonstration, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, is a random assignment evaluation of an innovative program to help dislocated workers. Specifically, the program helps these workers get back in the labor force by helping them start businesses in their fields of expertise. Its design is based on the available evidence base on business development.

SET was launched in summer 2013 in four metropolitan areas—Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon. Randomly selected participants were given access to free, intensive business development services for up to 12 months, including:

  • Training and consultation on self-employment
  • Ongoing guidance and support from experienced business development advisers
  • Up to $1,000 in microgrant funds

The SET evaluation will provide rigorous evidence on the effectiveness and feasibility of intensive supports for self-employment as a reemployment strategy.



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