Thursday, September 23, 2010

Women’s Initiative Offers to Help Los Angeles Spend Stimulus Funds


Dear Los Angeles Public Works and Transportation Departments,
I was sorry to read in David Zahniser’s article in the Los Angeles Times (09/17/2010) that you have been struggling to spend the $111 million in stimulus funds you have been awarded and that you have so far only managed to create 55 jobs.
It must be very slow indeed to secure government approval of contracts. I understand that you plan to eventually create or retain 264 jobs when you get around to spending the funds.
I am very impressed to hear that you have decided to begin looking for ways to streamline the contracting process and that you hope to start seeing changes in six months.
Women’s Initiative for Self Employment has been struggling too. We have waiting lists of low-income women, most without employment, wanting to take our business plan training course so they can create jobs for themselves and others by starting a business, but we just don’t have enough funding to add more courses this year.
So, like your agency, we have just had to do the best we could. We don’t have nearly the budget that you do but we have managed to provide business training to more women than ever in this past year. In 2009, 1,195 women graduated from our business plan training course. Our data to date indicates that these women will likely create and retain 1,123 jobs for themselves and others by the end of this year at an average cost of just over $4K per job.
I know this is nothing compared to the really expensive jobs that you are beginning to figure out how to create, but it’s a start.
If you find that you don’t really have the time – or if it’s just too much of a struggle – to begin looking for ways to spend the federal stimulus funding you have been awarded to create jobs, just let us know. We would be more than happy to help.
The low-income women who are waiting to get into our courses and these women’s families would really appreciate it as well.
Yours sincerely,
Elizabeth de Renzy

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