Summarizes early lessons learned from the implementation of intensive case management support for dislocated workers who want to start their own businesses in four states: California, Illinois, Oregon, and Ohio.

“The Self-Employment Training (SET) pilot program is testing the benefits of using case management to support aspiring small business owners. As part of case management, SET advisors at experienced, carefully vetted microenterprise providers offer program participants business development assistance that is timely, sustained, and customized” (p.1).

“The goal of the SET program is to identify supports that can help dislocated workers – unemployed or underemployed workers – become reemployed by starting their own businesses in areas related to their fields of expertise.…[A] review of the literature suggests that case management may be a promising approach for helping dislocated workers start businesses. However, it is not widely offered and has not been rigorously tested. This study…evaluates case management as one of the key elements of the SET program model” (p.2).

“This brief examines the implementation of case management and draws on the following data sources:

· MIS data submitted by microenterprise providers on participants’ receipt of services and seed capital microgrants, and their progress toward key business development milestones. All providers used the same MIS, which was developed for the SET pilot program.

· Monitoring data gathered through regular phone calls with microenterprise provider staff, conducted between September 2014 and April 2015.

· Site visit data from one round of visits to all microenterprise providers in the SET study sites conducted 12 to 18 months after program launch. These data include information from in-depth interviews with 32 staff at microenterprise providers…and from reviews of participants’ case files.

· Case study interviews with 12 SET participants to explore their experiences with and perspectives on the program.…The final implementation study will include case interviews with a total of 36 participants; the proportions of respondents interviewed will reflect provider assignments” (p.2).

Full publication title: Case Management for Self-Employment Success: Emerging Lessons from the Self-Employment Training Program

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Emerging lessons from [this] study of SET case management: • The SET case management model can be implemented with fidelity. Most participants received timely and sustained case management interactions. Among assigned participants, 89 percent had in-person intake meetings and intake occurred within 2 weeks of program acceptance on average, as required. Among those who received intake, 55 percent received timely monthly check-ins and 41 percent received quarterly assessments. As expected, most microenterprise providers used case management to customize services to address participants’ needs. • Participants found SET case management useful. All 12 interviewed participants considered the SET case management approach very valuable. Survey results will provide additional information from the full sample of SET study participants. • SET advisors at most microenterprise providers agreed that case management is helpful for some participants but noted implementation challenges. SET advisors shared that case management could help participants gain confidence, take a step-by-step approach to completing their business plans, develop realistic expectations and strategies, and avoid pitfalls. They noted that declining participant responsiveness over time and difficulties [in] using the study’s tracking system to support follow-up made the approach time-consuming and costly to implement. • If SET is found to be effective and worth offering more broadly, improving supports for case management may be helpful. Potential improvements include increasing funding for providers to pay for staff time to deliver and track case management, providing additional assistance for integrating case management into providers’ existing service delivery models, and making available a data system that facilitates the case management approach” (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)