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Citizens Bank Foundation boosts innovative “Pathway to Work” program

$20,000 grant aids program that helps unemployed workers start their own businesses

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Citizens Bank Foundation today announced it is donating $20,000 to the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to support Pathway to Work, an innovative program championed by Governor Maggie Hassan and designed to help unemployed workers start their own businesses.

“Citizens Bank is committed to strengthening the communities we serve,” said Joe Carelli, president of RBS Citizens and Citizens Bank, New Hampshire, “and we believe this a great way to help the unemployed not merely find work but actually begin a company of their own. We know that starting a business requires not just determination, but specific knowledge and skills. The SBDC will provide critical resources to ensure that eligible New Hampshire residents launch successful businesses that will contribute to our state’s economy.”

Created by legislation signed in July 2013, Pathway to Work is a partnership between New Hampshire Employment Security and the New Hampshire SBDC that allows eligible out-of-work residents to start their own businesses while continuing to receive unemployment benefits. Employment Security identifies eligible candidates, provides orientation and accepts people into the program. The SBDC helps screen applicants to determine if their business ideas are feasible. It then provides entrepreneurial training, business counseling and technical assistance to participants.

“Building on the successful New Hampshire Working program, Pathway to Work is a commonsense program that is putting Granite Staters to work, helping unemployed workers create jobs for themselves and others by starting their own small businesses,” said Governor Margaret Hassan. “Pathway to Work has already helped hard-working entrepreneurs launch new businesses, and I look forward to the continued success of this important initiative. I thank Citizens Bank for their investment in Pathway to Work, as well as New Hampshire Employment Security, the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, and the other partners of this public-private collaboration that is building a more innovative economic future.”

The SBDC is currently working with 50 clients in the program, some of whom have already launched businesses.

Julia Heinlein, a licensed Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with more than six years’ experience managing laser services, was laid off when the practice she worked for closed. She was accepted into the Pathway to Work program in October and opened Vanish Laser Studio in Portsmouth on January 3.

"Because of Pathway to Work, I was able to continue to do what I love - helping people improve their self-image with cosmetic laser services," said Heinlein. "I am thrilled to open my own studio and provide customized services. I couldn't have done it without the help of my mentor and support of this program. The SBDC reviewed my business plan, helped me forecast cash-flow projections and provides ongoing support."

To participate in Pathway to Work, an unemployed worker must be eligible to receive regular unemployment compensation, permanently laid off from his or her previous job, identified as likely to exhaust regular unemployment compensation, and engaged full-time in establishing a business and becoming self-employed.

“I want to thank Citizens Bank for their support in moving this critical program forward,” said Mary Collins, executive director of the NH SBDC. “Their contribution is enabling us to expand Pathway to Work and help today’s unemployed not only get back on their feet, but create jobs for others down the road.”

The NH Small Business Development Center is an outreach program of UNH’s Paul College of Business and Economics and a partnership with the State of NH, the US SBA and the private sector.

For more information about the Pathway to Work program, please visit http://www.nhes.nh.gov/nhworking/pathwaytowork.

The grant is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s initiative designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities.

About Citizens Helping Citizens
Grounded in the belief that a good bank gives back to its community and to the people who live there, Citizens Helping Citizens is a program embracing the community goals of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. – the commercial bank holding company serving consumer and small business customers as Citizens Bank and Charter One and commercial banking customers as RBS Citizens. The Citizens Helping Citizens program is composed of five key initiatives supported directly by RBSCFG and its nonprofit charitable foundations, the Citizens Charitable Foundation, the Citizens Bank Foundation and the Charter One Foundation: Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger, Citizens Helping Citizens Provide Shelter, Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities (economic development), Citizens Helping Citizens Teach Money Management (financial education) and Citizens Helping Citizens Give (volunteerism and colleague charitable donations). Across all of these initiatives, Citizens Helping Citizens strives to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities.



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