Friends 4-Ever

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There are some surprising finds in the welfare line.

The SBA's Welfare to Work Initiative is now in its third year, but many entrepreneurs still don't know how to get involved or whether it will really help their businesses. To help give entrepreneurs a better idea, the SBA has put together a free tool kit, available in print and online.

"We thought a simple tool kit that would give small-business owners the practical tools needed to hire a person coming off welfare would help [get them involved in the initiative]," explains Zina Pierre, director of the Welfare to Work Initiative. "The tool kit basically lays out for employers the incentives and advantages of hiring people coming off welfare."

Incentives include federal tax deductions and state-paid wage subsidies. According to a survey by The Welfare to Work Partnership, a national nonprofit organization that supports the SBA's initiative, 71 percent of the small businesses involved in the program said welfare-to-work employees are their best workers--eager-to-learn, punctual and hard-working. That could be the best incentive of all. To get a tool kit, call (800) 8-ASK-SBA or visit http://www.sba.gov/w2w.

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This article was originally published in the November 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Friends 4-Ever.

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