Congressman Kim Continues Military Employment Tour with Small Business Listening Session
Congressman Kim Continues Military Employment Tour
with Small Business Listening Session
WASHINGTON, DC – As part of an ongoing effort to bring new resources to help military families and veterans access good-paying jobs, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) led a listening session today on how Congress can expand opportunities for small businesses in military communities. The event followed yesterday’s military family and veteran employment roundtable in Ocean County.
“Our Joint Base doesn’t just directly employ tens of thousands in our community, it’s an economic engine that drives entrepreneurs to create jobs,” said Congressman Kim. “I want to thank the small business leaders and military advocates who testified today for sharing their expertise and experience. The best ideas in Congress often don’t come from Washington, but right here at home. I look forward to bring these ideas back to my colleagues and turn them into results for Burlington and Ocean Counties.”
The meeting was an official hearing by the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, chaired by Congressman Kim. Members of the business and military community testified on how they believe economic opportunities can be improved. They included John Wittington, Business Representative at Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 27; Paul Costello, President of Del Ran Business Association and Vice President of Sciacca’s Upholstery; Raul Mercado, Director of New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center and U.S. Army Colonel Jeff Cantor (Retired), Founder and CEO of the NJ State Veterans Chamber of Commerce.
“There are hundreds of business in the Burlington County area that can provide their services to Military bases,” said Costello, Vice President at Sciacca’s Upholstery & Design Center, a 75-year-old establishment with 3rd generation ownership. “The key is that they need to know how to connect and become properly registered. The action of cultivating the relationship between a small businessowner and the military base is a tremendous growth potential for that private business owner. In the past year, we have seen only a handful of bidding opportunities related to our services and most have been outside of our immediate service area.”
Making it easier for veterans and military families to find work and afford to live comfortably is a top priority for Congressman Kim. Earlier this year, he introduced H.R. 3191, the bipartisan Spouse Employment Reciprocity and Vocational Instruction for Career Enhancement (SERVICE) Act, which would address the active duty military spouse unemployment rate, which stands at 24 percent, more than six times the current national unemployment rate. Significant elements of the bill were included and passed through the National Defense Authorization Act.
In addition, Congressman Kim introduced H.R. 3661, the bipartisan Patriotic Employer Protection Act, which would strengthen programs intended to protect small business owners whose employees are military Reservists deployed on active duty. The bill has been endorsed by the American Legion.
In addition to being a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Congressman Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness and as a Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities.