Mr. HOLT. Madam Speaker, I voted yesterday in support of our Nation's small business and for the passage of the ``Job Creation through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009'', H.R. 2352.
Small businesses play an integral role in the United States economy. Small businesses employ more than half of all workers in the private sector and generate 60 to 80 percent of new jobs in this country. The entrepreneurial development programs developed by this bill will help small businesses not only survive the current downturn, but allow them to expand and create new jobs.
I am particularly pleased that this bill creates Veterans Business Centers for veteran entrepreneurs. Our nation was built by citizen-soldiers, yet too often, our veterans have difficulty finding well-paid, rewarding work in the nation they served and protected. According to the Department of Labor, we need to do more to help our youngest veterans find gainful employment. Veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 had an unemployment rate of 14.1 percent; nearly double the rate of those between the ages of 25 to 34 (7.3 percent). It is unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of veterans who have risked their own lives to defend our country can't find jobs, and many endure homelessness and lives of poverty after they return home. Our brave men and women in uniform have given so much for this country; it is right that the Congress help ensure that our returning soldiers have jobs when they come home.
I also am pleased that this bill increases the amount of entrepreneurial development training that will be offered through online training. I have long supported greater use of online job training, which is why I introduced H.R. 145, the Online Job Training Act of 2009, which amends the Workforce Investment Act to provide grants to states that establish or improve workforce training programs on the Internet. I have seen the value of online job training first-hand at a successful pilot program in my state run by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Rutgers University. Online training allows workers to access needed development services during the time most convenient for them and in a location most convenient for them--scheduling around jobs, child care, and elder care responsibilities. Offering entrepreneurial development training online will expand the reach of this training to reach more workers and increase the impact of these existing programs.
The Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act will build on the investments that this Congress made through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This bill will provide further aid to our small business and continues our efforts to put the economy back on the track to recovery.