A bill that could help California's unemployed start their own small businesses cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.
The California Assembly Insurance Committee passed AB 152, which was authored by Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D–Davis, and sponsored by the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO).
AB 152 creates a Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program that allows "unemployed-would-be-entrepreneurs to keep their unemployment benefits while they start their own small businesses, without having to look for other full-time work," according to a press release.
"As the U.S. labor market continues to evolve, it is increasingly important to provide an array of services to the unemployed," Yamada said in a statement. "SEA is one component of a broader workforce strategy to promote entrepreneurship and micro-business development, both as a reemployment strategy and to support economic development through job creation."
Related story: "US Weekly Jobless Claims Rise Slightly"
The bill was first introduced in January. If the bill becomes law, the state will be able to access $5.3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to run the SEA program, according to CAMEO.
CAMEO's mission is to boost entrepreneurs and startups by advancing the work of its statewide member network. In 2012, CAMEO member organizations helped create 21,000 businesses that added 38,000 jobs to the economy.
"An SEA program turns unemployed workers into employers," said CAMEO CEO Claudia Viek. "Other states that have such a program really like what it does for their economy and new job creation."
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