RI launches self-employment program

The state of Rhode Island launched a new program aimed at reducing unemployment.

But it isn't exactly making a dent, at least not yet.

It's called the self-employment assistance program. It's a program that uses federal funding to help educate unemployed Rhode Islanders and get them back on their feet.

On Friday, 11 new entrepreneurs graduated from the program. These graduates are hoping to move out of the unemployment line and in to their own businesses.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee came out to show his support for the program telling the graduates to "get out there and hire people."

The program comes as a national economics study released this week, shows Rhode Island was the only state in the country to lose mid-wage jobs in the past few years.

Rhode Island continues to have the third highest unemployment rate in the country. And while the program helps entrepreneurs get back on their feet, none of them intends to hire other Rhode Islanders, at least not yet.

"It takes time, you start a business, but once you get a foundation That's how all businesses are built, one person at a time," Chafee said.

The new graduates are the third round for the state-run program. An entrepreneur from round one is expected to open his business next month, none of the others is ready to launch just yet.