Payne Introduces Growing Small Businesses Act

Feb 18, 2014 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Local Issues

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) introduced H.R. 4063, the Growing Small Businesses Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13), in advance of National Entrepreneurship Week, recognized February 15 – 22, 2014. The Growing Small Businesses Act would encourage federal job training centers to develop entrepreneurial training programs as a strategy for job creation.

The national unemployment rate is currently 6.6 percent and the unemployment rate for three counties in the 10th District of New Jersey – Essex, Hudson, and Union – are 7.8 percent, 7.4 percent and 6.9 percent respectively. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for every 1 job available in the Northeast region, that includes New Jersey, there are nearly 3 people actively searching for employment.

“While the national unemployment rate has improved in recent months, the number of unemployed and underemployed New Jerseyans remains high,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. “Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that there are just not enough jobs for the amount of people who are looking for work. Due to the changing nature of the 21st Century economy, many of the jobs lost at the start of the recession will not return. Entrepreneurship is one of the most viable career and economic growth opportunities, and this pathway should be supported in federal job creation efforts.”

“Our federal job training centers must be prepared to tackle the challenges brought on by the ever-changing economy,” said Rep. Davis. “One way to do that is to ensure that they have training opportunities available for those who are ready to chart their own course and start a business. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating two out of every three new jobs in America, and this legislation will help to foster even more growth within the small business community by giving those who are unemployed the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”

Bob Friedman, founder of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), praised the legislation, saying, "Unemployed and disadvantaged workers who see opportunities to create their own jobs deserve at least as much support as those seeking to find jobs.  They ought to be able to access training and resources, just like those who use the workforce system to develop new skills or find new jobs. This legislation will ensure that these entrepreneurs can access those resources and will reward training programs that help their clients succeed at starting businesses."

Since 1995, small businesses have generated over 65 percent of the net new jobs, and over 50 percent of the working population is employed by a small business. Currently, the Department of Labor evaluates federal job training centers based on three outcomes: (1) entered employment rate, (2) six months average earnings, and (3) employment retention rate. These performance measures do not account for entrepreneurial courses and business startups, discouraging job training centers from even offering entrepreneurial training programs.

The Growing Small Businesses Act would require the Department of Labor to establish a separate metric for entrepreneurial training within workforce centers and require them to partner with training providers in the area with a proven track record of helping entrepreneurs succeed.

“It’s time for those who are unemployed to have the training and option to fulfill their dreams of opening their own business,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. “My bill would not only help reignite the entrepreneurial spirit that has historically made this nation strong, but it will put entrepreneurship within reach for so many of New Jersey’s job-seekers.” 

Rep. Payne, Jr. introduced Growing Small Business Act in conjunction with National Entrepreneurship Week, which has been observed annually since 2006, with the purpose of promoting awareness of the contributions of entrepreneurs as innovators, positive forces in the economy, and important resources for improving communities as places to live and work.