2009-07-22 / Features

Onorato Legislation Extends Self-Employment Assistance

Legislation sponsored by state Senator George Onorato (D-Long Island City) that extends a valuable state employment assistance program for unemployed New Yorkers was signed into law by Governor David Paterson last week.

Onorato, chairman of the senate Standing Committee on Labor, noted that the new law will extend the state's Self-Employment Assistance Program until December 2011, providing continued opportunities for jobless New Yorkers to receive unemployment benefits while working to develop and establish small businesses. Participants in the program must meet a number of rigorous requirements, which include at least 20 hours of entrepreneurial training, meetings with certified business counselors, the creation of business plans and periodic reports to state Labor Department program coordinators.

"With more and more New Yorkers losing their jobs in these highly difficult economic times, the value of this program cannot be overstated," Onorato said. "Not only does it ensure continued unemployment benefits for New Yorkers interested in establishing their own businesses, it offers the promise of even greater job creation throughout the state."

Onorato called the program "a clear winwin" for all of the parties involved. "In the end, the entire state benefits from the creation of new jobs, businesses and tax revenue," he said. "Program participants benefit by having the opportunity to pursue a new career path while receiving the unemployment assistance they need to keep their heads above water. I am delighted that the governor signed this legislation into law, and believe it will be very helpful in helping jobless New Yorkers weather this recession."

Onorato also noted that he is continuing to push his legislation (S.2245) to reform New York's unemployment insurance system, increase maximum weekly unemployment benefit levels for the first time in a decade, and take action to bring the state's bankrupt Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund back to solvency.

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