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Source: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2078170/maria-bounces-into-the-american-market/ | By Chris Pedler Feb. 10, 2014, 5 p.m.

EXPANDING: Maria Smith’s employment consultancy business is launching in America. Picture:

A BUSINESS and its Carisbrook origins is expanding into America.

Maria Smith’s business Bounce Consulting will launch a pilot program for the stage government of Massachusetts this week.

The program is a result of a meeting at the White House in July with President Obama’s chief technology officer Todd Park and a lot of back and forth since then.

Bounce Consulting focuses on helping people find employment and improve their lives against the odds.

“It’s been running for seven and a half years,” Ms Smith said.

“I think (the US) like (the program) because it has got results and we have a consistency to our product.”

Ms Smith said the unemployment scene in America is different to Australia in that there is no unemployment benefits or insurance.

“If you are unemployed long term you get support for about a year,” she said.

Currently the US unemployment rate is at 6.7 per cent. It has recently dropped but President Obama’s team is hoping Bounce Consulting’s program can make it drop further.

“It’s been pretty incredible. Obama’s legacy is to leave something for the long-term unemployed. We will see how it goes (in Massachusetts) and then decide whether to roll it out nationally,” Ms Smith said. “I’m from Maryborough, it’s exciting to have this experience.”

The program links in with employment agencies to give those seeking work valuable life skills, including people in prison and those who are homeless.

Ms Smith said seven staff and seven trainers, including people overseas, worked for the agency.

At the same time, Bounce Consulting is expanding through regional Victoria.

In March it will launch a youth program in Bendigo.

The federally funded program focus on youth health and well being as well as creating career and personal goals for the participants.

“Part of it will see the kids cold calling for job (opportunities),” Ms Smith said.

“We’re conditioned to apply online or just send your resume in rather than sitting in front of someone who can help you get a job.”