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Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions S. 1254

Location: Washington, DC

S. 1254. A bill to amend the Small Business Act to direct the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to establish a vocational and technical entrepreneurship development program; to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Mr. President, I rise today as Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to introduce the Vocational and Technical Entrepreneurship Development Act of 2003, which is the companion bill to H.R. 1387, which bears the same name and was reintroduced in the House by Congressman ROBERT BRADY of Pennsylvania earlier this year.

I want to commend Representative BRADY for his hard work on behalf of small businesses not just from his home State of Pennsylvania but for every trades industry entrepreneur that has ever attempted to open his or her own business.

Often Americans who work in the trade sector—construction, plumbing, electrical work etc.—enter these professions with the goal of one day starting a business; however many of these aspiring business owners who partake in career training or vocational training in certain trades, unfortunately, fail to obtain the necessary education in the successful growth and development of their newly formed business. This initiative would develop a program that allows workers within the trades industry to move toward starting a new business.

The purpose of the Vocational and Technical Entrepreneurship Development Act is to assist in the development of curricula that will encourage the successful growth of small businesses. This legislation passed the House last Congress on October 2, 2001 and was subsequently taken up and passed by this Committee last Congress, but was not taken up by the full Senate.

The bill, in a business-education partnership, establishes a "vocational entrepreneurship development demonstration program," under which the SBA would provide grants, through the Small Business Development Centers program, to provide technical assistance to high school and technical career institutes, Vo-Tech schools, to promote small business ownership in their curriculum.

The SBDC program is designed to deliver such up-to-date counseling, training and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management and is the ideal candidate to provide such a program. Each grant awarded under this program will be worth over $200,000—which, in today's environment where Vo-Tech programs get short-changed in government education budgets, can do a great deal to help rebuild a worker-strapped trades industry.

I urge all of my colleagues to support Vocational and Technical Entrepreneurship Development Act.

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