Senator encourages business formation for veterans

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New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand is speaking out in support of the Veterans Employment Act of 2010, which would help veterans start a business and get jobs after leaving the service.

The bill would create a veterans’ entrepreneurship program as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration, encouraging former soldiers to form a company.

According to, Joseph Jordan, the Small Business Administration’s associate administrator for government contracting and business development, told Congress that veterans are often very qualified small business owners. “They have the leadership, the know-how and the drive to succeed as entrepreneurs,” he said at a recent congressional hearing.

The bill would also expand the GI Bill to allow veterans to use various apprenticeship and other worker training programs. Gillibrand hopes to add the legislation to a congressional jobs bill. So far, no cost has been announced for the program.

While the national unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, 20 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are without jobs. A recent report by the Labor Department found that the jobless rate for all veterans was 8.1 percent.