In Their Own Words: Voices of Study Participants in the Self-Employment Training Program

In Their Own Words: Voices of Study Participants in the Self-Employment Training Program

Published: Jul 30, 2016
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica
Associated Project

Self-Employment Training Demonstration

Time frame: 2012-2018

Prepared for:

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


Irma Perez-Johnson

Mary Anne Anderson

Samia Amin

Key Findings

Key Findings:

  • Participants had a variety of motivations for applying to SET, with the access to one-on-one assistance and classes most often reported as the primary reason.
  • All 24 participants found at least one aspect of the program helpful, with many citing multiple beneficial components.
  • Some participants said they disengaged from SET because self-employment did not work for them, the classes were unsatisfying, or they had not established satisfying levels of communication with their SET advisors.
  • Most participants recommended more investment in programs like SET.

A key dimension of any program’s effectiveness is its usefulness to participants. This brief explores the experiences of those who received services from the Self-Employment Training (SET) pilot program. The Self-Employment Training (SET) pilot program was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to test strategies for supporting dislocated workers interested in starting their own businesses. Unemployed and underemployed workers who proposed businesses in their fields of expertise were eligible to participate. SET participants received free access to 12 months of case management, customized training and technical assistance, and up to $1,000 in seed capital microgrant funds for business start-up costs. We interviewed participants on why they applied, how SET benefited them, why some left the program, and how SET could be improved.

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