On Memorial Day, Gov. Rick Perry honors Veterans by signing into law a bill that creates a Veteran entrepreneur program
This Memorial Day, Gov. Rick Perry signed into law Senate Bill 1476, which establishes the Veteran Entrepreneur Program at the Texas Veterans Commission.
"Every day, American service members sacrifice their lives for the freedoms we cherish, and it is appropriate that on this day of remembrance and thanks that we would strengthen our commitment to our Veterans and military families," Gov. Perry said. "Though no words or actions can heal the wounds of combat or return a lost loved one, Texas is honored to give back to Veterans and their families."
The program is based upon a highly successful pilot program, launched in April 2012, to foster and promote Veteran entrepreneurship and business ownership throughout the state. During the pilot program, over 1,000 Veterans received information on how to start or grow a business, and ten Veteran-owned businesses were launched.
"Veteran entrepreneurs add value to their communities through economic development and create employment opportunities for other Veterans," said Thomas P. Palladino, Executive Director of the Texas Veterans Commission. "We are proud of the work the 83rd Legislature did this session to ensure our Veterans are not forgotten in Texas, and we thank Gov. Perry, Sen. Royce West, and Rep. Ralph Sheffield for showing Texas Veterans that they can depend on their State to support and advocate for them."
The successful passage of Senate Bill 1476 was due in large part to the commitment of two senior legislators, Sen. West (D-Dallas) and Rep. Sheffield (R-Temple).
Based on the success of the pilot program and because of the overwhelming interest from Veterans in starting and expanding their own businesses, Sen. West filed SB 1476 to permanently establish the Veteran Entrepreneur Program at the Texas Veterans Commission. Sens. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and Jose Rodríguez (D-El Paso) coauthored SB 1476.
Rep. Sheffield sponsored SB 1476 in the Texas House of Representatives with Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land) as a joint sponsor. Reps. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio), Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), Joe Farias (D-San Antonio), and Joe Moody (D-El Paso) co-sponsored SB 1476.
"The entrepreneurial spirit and business-friendly environment that Texas prides itself on is evident in the passage of SB 1476," said Rep. Sheffield. "The bill will directly impact the nearly 1.7 million Veterans residing in Texas. I am proud to have carried this legislation, which will support and encourage our most honorable and distinguished residents of Texas who answered the call to serve."
Rep. Sheffield also played a critical role in securing the necessary funding for the Veteran Entrepreneur Program by filing an amendment to the General Appropriations Act while it was being considered on the House floor. Speaker of the House Joe Straus, Rep. Jim Pitts, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Sylvester Turner, Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, worked to ensure House support for funding the Veteran Entrepreneur Program in the Conference Committee Report for Senate Bill 1.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. West, with the support of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Tommy Williams, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, worked to ensure Senate support for funding the Veteran Entrepreneur Program in the Conference Committee Report for Senate Bill 1.
The bill was signed in the House and the Senate on May 16 and sent to the Governor's office on the same day and will take effect immediately after signature.
The Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) will host "Beating the VA Backlog" events in Corpus Christi on June 15 and Irving on July 13 in order to provide specific, one-on-one guidance to Texas Veterans, family members and survivors with pending disability claims from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
TVC holds backlog events in order to serve Veterans through the State Strike Force Teams, which were created by Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus in July 2012. The teams' mission is to help reduce the backlog of disability claims in Texas since the number of backlogged claims has more than doubled since 2010 and the wait times for Veterans are continuing to increase.
The upcoming "Beating the VA Backlog" events are open to all Veterans, their families and survivors, and all services are free of charge. Preregistering will give staff an opportunity to research your claim prior to the event and provide you with the ability to select an appointment time. Walk-ins are allowed on a first-come, first-served basis as time allows. TVC must be your designated Power of Attorney (POA) in order to receive information at this event. If you wish to change your POA to TVC, please call or visit your nearest TVC office.
AT&T continues partnership with the Texas Veterans Commission to fill over 800 jobs
With a partnership started in April 2012, the Texas Veterans Commission helped AT&T place many Veterans in Premises Technician positions throughout the state of Texas. AT&T is committed to continuing this recruiting and hiring initiative. Now they need more than 800 Veterans to fill the remaining vacancies.
"This ongoing partnership shows why Texas leads the nation in finding Veterans jobs," said Thomas Palladino, Executive Director for TVC, "AT&T's leadership proves that hiring Veterans is a smart business decision."
TVC's Veterans Employment Representatives are available across the state to assist Veterans with the application process.
On-the-Job training program offers alternative use for education benefits
If you are a Veteran, or an eligible family member looking to use your education benefits, but not sure you want to attend a traditional institution, the On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program offers you an alternative way to use your educational benefits.
This program allows Veterans and their dependents to learn a trade or skill through participation in On-the-Job Training rather than by attending classes.
While you are in training for a new job, you will receive monthly benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in addition to your regular salary. This means for the first six months of training, you may be eligible to receive up to $1,563 per month, tax-free (Post-9/11 recipients training in the Dallas area) in addition to your regular salary. During the second six-month period, you can receive up to $1,240.40 per month, $937.80 for the third six months, and $625.20 for the remaining months.
To qualify, your job must meet the following criteria:
The job must require at least six months, but no more than 24 months of training on-the-job;
The position must be a salaried position (not paid on commission);
The entry wages to be paid for this position are not less than the wages paid to non-Veterans in the same training position and are at least 50% of the wages you will be paid at the end of training;
There will be at least one wage increase during the training period. Not later than the last full month of the scheduled training period your wages must be at least 85% of the wages to be paid at the end of training. (Not applicable to federal, state, and local government agencies.)
Examples of OJT include certain law enforcement and firefighter training, or trades such as electrician or plumber.
For the full list of qualifications and employers, please visit: http://www.tvc.texas.gov/tvc/On-the-Job-Training.aspx. If you are eligible for GI Bill benefits and have recently been hired or promoted into a job that requires new skills, check with your supervisor, training officer, or human resources division to determine if your program is currently approved or eligible for the OJT Program.
TVC wants you to stay informed! Follow these links to find up-to-date information about Veterans in Texas.
Become a Notary!
Have you ever considered making extra money as a Notary? The National Notary Foundation is Offering Free NNA 2013 Workshops to Veterans. On "Texas Veterans Day" Monday, June 3, two options are being offered: free training to become either a Notary, or a Notary Signing Agent.Learn more here.(Facebook)
Keep the wheels turning for Texas Veterans!
Support Texas veterans! Donate online when you renew your vehicle registration at Texas.gov. (Twitter)
About the Texas Veterans Commission
The Texas Veterans Commission is a state agency committed to ensuring all Veterans within the state of Texas receive the maximum benefits earned as a result of their service to their country. We provide superior service to Veterans in the areas of claims assistance, employment services, education benefits and reimbursement grants that significantly improve the quality of life of Texas Veterans and their families.