Earlier this week officials of the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the initiation of a program that pairs out-of-work professionals with start-ups and growing small businesses. The program, known as JumpStartNYC, illustrates an unavoidable trend that has been gaining traction over the past couple of years.

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As the economy continues to sour, major corporations and institutions across the nation have been cutting back their workforce. Many of these laid-off employees are taking with them an impressive resume of experience, talent, and other credentials. With quality jobs increasingly harder to come by, a growing number of unemployed professionals have been turning to small businesses in search of work.

There are many benefits to be gained here on both sides. In smaller businesses, senior-level employees often have opportunities to take on more responsibility, receive more recognition for their efforts, gain exposure to new experience areas and can have a greater influence over the company’s performance. They also can enjoy the scheduling flexibility and work-life balance incentives that many smaller businesses have to offer.

Small businesses on the other hand are getting access to a talented, experienced, and motivated (Many of these professionals were probably under appreciated at their previous jobs) workforce.

But there is a downside to this trend. For the professionals, the increase in responsibility comes with more accountability when mistakes are made. There are also fewer support systems to aid with the decision-making process, compensation may be a little lower, and small businesses in general provide a less stable work situation. For the small businesses, it generally means coming up with a competitive incentives package- something that may be difficult if business is slow in response to the recession.

All in all though, I think this partnership will be a very good thing. As more unemployed professionals pair up with small businesses it may have the power to breathe new life into our ailing economy.

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