The Governor of Massachusetts recently signed an executive order to enhance opportunities for small businesses owned by disabled veterans.
The order signed by Governor Deval Patrick directs the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to set up a program that would allow businesses owned by disabled veterans to contract with state-funded construction, design, and goods and services projects.
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services, said that the initiative is intended to allow the small business owners to participate in public projects to support their communities.
“ We have 124 service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and this allows them to secure some of the state contracts in various forms. As they grow, those businesses grow, they’re Massachusetts businesses and these dollars stay in the community and cycle through,” said Murray.
John Downing, President and CEO of Solider On, a Western Massachusetts-based organization that helps homeless veterans obtain housing and employment, and also provides supportive services, said that many of the veterans returning today are army reservists…
“…and most of us are under the impression that those men and women are coming back to their jobs. But the reality of that is that it’s just not true," said Downing.
He added that if that veteran were working a skilled trade job before heading overseas, it could be difficult to find employment doing the same thing when they come home.
Lieutenant Governor Murray said that with the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq war approaching, many of the returning veterans today suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury deserve some assistance in being able to market their professional skills learned in the military.
“Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have started, about 45,000 men and women from Massachusetts have served. We know that while technology in the battlefield has saved lives, and we’re grateful for that, we also know that we have more wounded warriors,” said Murray. He added that the Patrick-Murray administration wants to provide returning vets with “opportunities to continue to contribute.”
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs located in Massachusetts there are approximately 385,000 veteran men and women living in the Bay State.
The executive order requires that the goals, eligibility requirements and guidelines for the initiative be developed by the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.
All areas of state procurement contracting will include businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. The A&F will create a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise Program to oversee the initiative.