House Small Business Committee
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “The Impact of Category Management on the Small Business Industrial Base.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
This hearing continues the Committee’s longstanding oversight examining the use of contract bundling and consolidation in the federal procurement system. Category management, at its core, can be distilled to contract bundling and consolidation. The hearing will examine the Administration’s approach to utilizing category management principles in the context of past Executive Branch initiatives and will discuss the impact the current approach may have on small businesses and the industrial base.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Ms. Shirley Bailey
Co-Owner, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
GCC Technologies, LLC
Mr. Alan Chvotkin
Executive Vice President & Counsel
Professional Services Council
Ms. Beth Laurie Strum
Vice President of Business Development
* Testifying on behalf of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Committee Examines the Impact of Category Management on the Small Business Industrial Base
WASHINGON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee examined the Executive Branch’s approach to utilizing Category Management (CM) principles and the impact it may have on small businesses and the industrial base. CM are a set of procurement approaches attempting to eliminate redundancies, increase efficiency, and deliver value all while saving the taxpayers money.
“While Category Management can be useful in tracking the federal government’s purchasing habits in order to identify efficiencies and keep contracting costs down, the proposed plan may be problematic,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “There is great concern among the small business community that recent efforts steering spending towards “best-in-class” contracting vehicles will restrict competition and significantly reduce opportunities for the majority of small businesses.”
What the Experts Said
“No one would disagree with the goals of efficient government buying and saving the taxpayer money. However, we believe Category Management comes at a cost,” said Ms. Shirley Bailey, CEO and Managing Member of MSC Management Services, LLC in Oakland, MD, testifying on behalf of the HUBZone Contractors National Council. “Fewer small business awards not only limits the supply of vendors to the government, the ripple effect limits the ability of small businesses to grow through federal contracting.”
“PSC [Professional Services Council] cautioned then [five years ago], and we do so again today, that more needs to be done to prevent unintended consequences on the small and other-than-small companies that are—or that are capable of—meeting the government’s needs,” said Mr. Alan Chvotkin, Executive Vice President and Counsel at the Professional Services Council in Arlington, VA. “Since then, and particularly as CM has transitioned from what began as a management technique into a procurement policy, there have been negative consequences for the supplier base and for the marketplace.”
“In its current form, the Best-in-Class acquisition process picks winners and losers without assuring full and fair competition, thereby locking out thousands of small businesses from the very contract opportunities that were guaranteed to us in 1978 through Public Law 95-507, ‘Amendments to the Small Business Investment Act,’” said Ms. Beth Laurie Strum, Vice President of Business Development at Volanno in Washington, DC, testifying on behalf of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “The abrupt transformation of the federal acquisition process to Best-in-Class vehicles will have a crippling effect on small business competitive opportunities.”
“Many of my small business colleagues have spoken with me directly in terms of the Category Management approach as well as previous strategic sourcing initiatives. Across the board, they are overwhelmingly opposed. Anything that winnows down the ability to compete on a fair and level playing field is challenging across the industrial base,” said Ms. ML Mackey, CEO of Beacon Interactive Systems in Waltham, MA, testifying on behalf of the National Defense Industrial Association. “Getting best in breed products and services as rapidly as possible to the men and women who protect us is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, the contract approach prescribed by Category Management will have an opposite and deleterious effect on this goal.”Click HERE to read full testimonies and HERE to watch full hearing video.
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement regarding the agreement the Department of Commerce has made with China-backed telecom giant, ZTE:“The President’s instincts on the threat that ZTE poses to American small businesses and our country have been correct from the start—ZTE is a nefarious actor that seeks to undermine our national security. It is my hope that the President and Secretary Ross will continue to apply as much pressure as possible on ZTE. We must not let ZTE off the hook for continually lying to US officials. ZTE has subverted US law more than once and I believe will do it again. To think that any new deal is going to change ZTE’s intentions is shortsighted. The Administration should stick to its guns."
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations will meet for a hearing titled, “Vets First? An Examination of VA’s Resources for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday, June 7, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
This hearing will examine the resources for veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Specifically, the hearing will consider the Veterans First Contracting Program and recently proposed changes for procuring medical supplies.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Mr. Scott Denniston
National Veterans Small Business Coalition
Mr. Davy G. Leghorn
The American Legion
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations heard testimony from an expert panel of witnesses on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) resources for veteran-owned small businesses, specifically the Veterans First Contracting Program.
“The Veterans First Contracting Program was established by Congress in 2006 to assist the VA in carrying out their mission of serving America’s veterans,” said Subcommittee Chairman Trent Kelly (R-MS). “However, despite this authority, the VA has continued to impede its own authority and work against the intentions of Congress by creating internal regulations and policies that make it harder to award contracts to veteran-owned small businesses.”
What the Experts are Saying
“Since early in World War II, Congress has recognized and legislated the importance of building and maintaining a small business industrial base for national security,” said Mr. Scott Denniston, Executive Director of the National Veteran Small Business Coalition in Centreville, VA. “Unfortunately, senior VA leadership, culture, and polices do not support the Congressional intent. VA has lost sight of its unique mission to support we who have ‘borne the battle’ and how VA mission outcomes are enhanced by building a veteran-owned small business industrial base.”
“Many American Legion members who are also small business owners agree that VA’s proposals in the J&A [Justification and Approval] would systematically unseat veteran owned small businesses as distributors for manufacturers and give all the selling capabilities to the prime vendors,” said Mr. Davy Leghorn, Assistant Director for the National Veterans Employment and Education Division at The American Legion in Washington DC. “This is bad for veteran-owned small businesses and contrary to The American Legion’s call for a reasonable amount of purchases [to] be set aside for veteran owned small businesses in federal procurement.”
Two service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses also shared their stories of how they contribute to the small business industrial base.
“Alliant Healthcare Products focuses on helping other companies navigate the complexities of the federal market. We assist large and small businesses who provide market-leading and innovative healthcare technologies,” said Mr. Bob Taylor, Founder, Owner, and CEO of Alliant Healthcare Products in Grand Rapids, MI. “Our most important benefit to the government is we do not mark-up prices for the clear majority of the products we sell to the VA. We allow the VA to negotiate fair and reasonable pricing as though they are buying directly from the manufacturer themselves and then we honor those prices.”
“First Nation has been one of the leading suppliers of medical and surgical products to VA for over 30 years. Because we stock so many different products and have extensive experience meeting VA direct-to-patient requirements, we are able to provide VA and our veterans with customized, multi-vendor patient solutions,” said Ms. Cheryl Nilsson, CEO of First Nation Group, LLC in Niceville, FL. “Our representatives also work with VA to deliver unique multi-vendor tailored solutions – no other vendor of sleep therapy products provides this direct and on-site support from trained sleep therapy product representatives.
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Millennials and the Gig Economy.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
This hearing will explore the relationship between small businesses and the gig economy. Specifically, the hearing will examine the increasing number of millennials pursuing careers within the gig economy, and consider how this trend is impacting small businesses.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Ms. Betsy Dougert
Director of Communications
Mr. Ryan Morris
Ruff House Dog Training
Ms. Anne Kirby
The Sweet Core
Mr. Steven Olikara
Founder and President
Millennial Action Project
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the Committee on Small Business heard testimony from a panel of experts and small business owners on the relationship between millennials and the gig economy; specifically, the increasing number of millennials pursuing careers in the gig economy, and how this trend is impacting small business.
“This notion of short term, contractual workers dates back centuries, but has been re-envisioned with the inclusion of technology,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “The gig economy is characterized by the use of technology as a means of connecting workers to employers. Digital platforms and mobile apps have been created to not only to provide these connections, but also to provide low cost marketing and basic business tools to those working within the gig economy.”
Getting into the Gig Economy
“Interestingly, there is a growing shift in the types of jobs generated by small businesses. While the number of firms that employ full-time workers has remained relatively flat, nonemployer businesses (also called solopreneurs) have been increasing,” said Ms. Elizabeth Dougert, Director of Communications at SCORE, in Herndon, VA. “There has also been a marked increase in the use of gig economy workers, with businesses using contractors and part-time workers to fill key business roles.”
“One of the best things about running my own business is the freedom,” said Mr. Ryan Morris, Former Marine and Owner of Ruff House Dog Training in Stafford, VA. “I don’t have to abide by traditional hours. If there is an “American Dream,” it’s being able to do something you’d do for free and be paid for it. I’ve had so much fun working for myself, by myself, without restriction, I never want to go back to the traditional 9 to 5.”
“Studies show that those who are part of this fluid economy feel empowered, independent, happy, and creative, and companies embracing it are also benefiting, saving time and money. Hiring freelancers allow them to scale when needed as well as be able to hire experts for specific projects, reducing training costs and onboarding time,” said Ms. Anne Kirby, Founder of The Sweet Core in Lancaster, PA. “Millennials, born roughly between 1980 and 1996 who are now ages 22-37, hold first place with 47% freelancing, which is more than any other generation.”
Given the millennial generation’s deep understanding of emerging technologies, it is not surprising that many chose to pursue non-traditional careers in the gig economy. The gig economy offers millennials the freedom and flexibility they desire, without the headache of searching for clients.
WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate passed H.R. 4743, the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act, to increase the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) oversight authority over the 7(a) Loan Program. The bipartisan and bicameral legislation was introduced by House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID), and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
“Today’s Senate passage takes us one step closer to seeing a bill become law that will help small business owners get the capital they need to start and grow their companies. The 7(a) Loan Program has been one of the SBA’s most popular and critical programs in helping small businesses succeed. This legislation will also direct the SBA to keep a closer eye on the program to ensure it continues to run smoothly for small businesses, while also making sure taxpayer dollars are safeguarded,” said Chairman Chabot.
“For small businesses that have trouble securing credit elsewhere—the 7(a) program is a lifeline. This bill will enact needed reforms to increase transparency and ensure that the program fulfills its mission, to help small firms access capital and create new jobs. Importantly, we must be prepared for periods of high demand for these loans, and that is why I am proud to have secured a provision in this bill to raise the 7(a) lending cap and prevent an unintended shutdown of the program. I thank Chairman Chabot for his leadership and willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to advance this crucial legislation. Now that this bill has cleared the Senate, I look forward to it swiftly being signed into law,” said Ranking Member Velázquez.
Specifically, the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight and Reform Act protects the program by:
- Strengthening SBA’s Office of Credit Risk Management by outlining in statute the responsibilities of the office and the requirements of its director;
- Enhancing SBA’s lender oversight review process, including increasing the office’s enforcement options;
- Requiring SBA to detail its oversight budget and perform a full risk analysis of the program on an annual basis; and
- Strengthening SBA’s Credit Elsewhere Test by clarifying the factors that must be considered.
Since its introduction, the House Small Business Committee has held several hearings reviewing the effectiveness and integrity of the program.
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), released the following statement upon House passage of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes small business provisions introduced by the House Committee on Small Business:
“Small businesses play an immeasurable role in keeping America safe and strong. Not only are they the lifeblood of the economy, but they also the lifeblood of our nation’s industrial base,” said Chairman Chabot. “The common sense reforms in this bill will open new avenues for small businesses to flourish in our economy.”
Versions of the following bills were included in FY19 NDAA:
- H.R. 2056, the Microloan Modernization Act
- H.R. 4754, the Change Order Transparency for Federal Contractors
- H.R. 2333, the Small Business Investment Opportunity Act
- H.R. 2364, the Investing in Main Street America Act
- Significant portions of H.R. 2763, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act, were also included
Chairman Chabot’s Statement on the Passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement upon House passage of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act:“As Chairman of the Committee on Small Business, I hear consistently about the negative effects of flawed and burdensome regulations on our community banks and credit unions. It is these small financial institutions that fuel our local economies and give hope to those who want to start their own version of the American dream,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. “The reforms included in this package, which will now be sent to the President’s desk, will put American Main Street businesses on the path to job creation and expansion. I applaud Chairman Hensarling and the Financial Services Committee for spearheading this comprehensive reform package in the House.”
Chairman Chabot’s Statement on House Passage of H.R. 5044, the Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement upon the House passage of his bill, H.R. 5044, the Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act:
“America owes a debt of gratitude to not only members of our military, but also their families. My bill ensures that the surviving spouses of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses are able to retain the service-disabled veteran-owned status of their small business for a period of time after the passing of their veteran spouse,” stated Chairman Chabot. “Most importantly, this bill provides peace of mind for surviving spouses of veteran business owners.”
Chairman Chabot has made veteran small business issues a key pillar for the Committee on Small Business during his tenure. The Committee has held multiple hearings on veterans’ business development and has successfully passed veterans-related bills such as the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, which has since been signed into law.
The Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce will meet for a hearing titled, “Hotline Truths II: Audit Reveals Inconsistencies in Defense Subcontracting.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on May 17, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
As part of the Subcommittee’s ongoing efforts to identify waste, fraud and abuse in federal contracting and to ensure that small contractors have the opportunity to compete, the Subcommittee will hear testimony from the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) concerning the results of a recent audit. As a result of hotline complaints, the DODIG has been reviewing contracting activities for compliance with the Small Business Act. The hearing will allow the Subcommittee to learn about the findings of this audit and compare these findings with earlier DODIG audits examining small business subcontracting at other service branches.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Mr. Michael J. Roark
Assistant Inspector General
Readiness and Global Operations
Office of Inspector General
Department of Defense
Mr. Tommy L. Marks
Army Office of Small Business Programs
Office of the Secretary of the Army
Ms. Tiffany S. Scroggs
Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce questioned officials from the Department of Defense and the Office of the Secretary of the Army and a government procurement expert as to why statutory provisions outlined in the Small Business Act are being overlooked and undermined in a recent audit of the Army Contracting Commands (ACC) Redstone and Warren.
“The Department of Defense Inspector General (IG) investigated small business subcontracting at two Army Contracting Command, or ACC, locations. The IG’s report, issued on March 19, 2018, found that the ACC has inconsistently complied with statutory requirements requiring the administration of subcontracting plans. This failure resulted in the denial of $914.8 million in small business subcontracting opportunities,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steve Knight (R-CA). “I believe a vibrant small business community is essential to our national security. Many of these businesses serve our country by working with the Department of Defense to provide necessary goods and services to our men and women in uniform.”
“Perhaps most alarming is the IG’s finding that administering subcontracting plans is not a high priority at the ACC. This is a short-sighted view, failing to take into account the enormous cost the loss of qualified, high-performing small business contractors would have on our industrial base.”
What the Audit Found
According to the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Inspector General (IG), the ACC has inconsistently complied with statutory requirements regarding the administration of subcontracting plans. This has resulted in the denial of $914.8 million in subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.
“Overall, ACC-Redstone and ACC-Warren generally provided small businesses with the opportunity to compete for prime contracts; however, contracting officials did not ensure that prime contractors provided small businesses adequate subcontracting opportunities,” said DoD Assistant Inspector General Michael J. Roark. “We made a total of 8 recommendations to the Army to address the deficiencies identified during the audit.”
Assistant Inspector General Roark continued, “ACC-Redstone and ACC-Warren contracting officials did not ensure that prime contractors provided small businesses with adequate subcontracting opportunities for 23 (valued at $914.8 million) of 50 contracts (valued at $1.6 billion).”
Mr. Tommy L. Marks, Director of the Army Office of Small Business Programs, said that, “The DoD awarded $59.4B in prime contract dollars to small business firms, during the period of October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017.” However, Mr. Marks agreed with the findings in the IG report, acknowledging the Army’s deficiencies in the administration of subcontracting plans. He stated his commitment to strengthening the enforcement and compliance of subcontracting plans to the statutory requirements of the Small Business Act.
Tiffany Scroggs, President of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) in Lacey, WA, stated, “The IG’s findings are consistent with PTAC’s experience across all agencies and buying activities….In the broader context of government acquisitions, expanding access to small business subcontracting opportunities is often not treated as a priority at any level – not by buying offices, not by agency leadership, and not by policy; as a consequence, it is not a priority for prime contractors either. But it should be.
“When we fail to establish and support practices that allow small businesses maximum opportunity for subcontracting, our nation’s supply chain suffers."Click here to read full testimony and here to watch the hearing.
Intellectual Property 101: How Small Business Owners Can Utilize Intellectual Property Protections in Their Businesses
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Intellectual Property 101: How Small Business Owners Can Utilize Intellectual Property Protections in Their Businesses.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Intellectual property plays a vital role in protecting creative and innovative products and ideas. There are four main types of intellectual property: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Each type of intellectual property has different attributes and criteria that must be met in order to be protected. Unfortunately, many small business owners are not aware that they should protect their innovative products and ideas through intellectual property protections. Those small business owners that are aware of intellectual property rights do not always know how to navigate the intellectual property process, and it can be very expensive. This hearing will examine how small business owners have used intellectual property protections to help their businesses and identify issues they have faced when navigating the intellectual property processes.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Ms. Michal Rosenn
New York, NY
Mr. David Graham
Code Ninjas LLC
* Testifying on behalf of the International Franchise Association
Mr. Rick Carnes
Songwriters Guild of America, Inc.
Ms. Joan Fallon, DC
Founder and CEO
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business heard from a panel of small business representatives on how small business owners can capitalize and safeguard their hard work and innovation through intellectual property protections.
“Our nation’s small business owners are essential to producing new, creative, and ground-breaking products and ideas that strengthen our nation’s economy,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “However, the process for obtaining intellectual property protections can be daunting even for the most experienced small business owner.... As this Committee knows all too well, most small business owners cannot afford to hire an army of experts to guide them through many processes, leaving them vulnerable to their innovations being stolen both here in the United States and internationally.”
Intellectual Property 101
Intellectual property plays a vital role in protecting small business owners’ innovative ideas and products. The witnesses described their experiences with intellectual property and securing intellectual property rights to grow small businesses.
“Startups and small businesses…rely on the immense value that the patent system provides to entrepreneurs,” said Michal Rosenn, General Counsel at Expa, a startup studio helping the world’s best entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses located in San Francisco, CA. “It is a system that is meant to reward true innovation by allowing a patent holder to reap the benefits of her work while providing a service to the public in sharing her discoveries.”
“Because franchisees are individual owners, ensuring brand protection is key to ensuring the customer’s experience with the brand is of a consistent quality,” said David Graham, CEO of Code Ninjas LLC, in Pearland, TX, testifying on behalf of the International Franchise Association. “The only way to give legal effect to brand protection is through intellectual property protection, specifically trademarks, service marks, trade dress, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. Significantly, the use of these protections by franchises has had a net-positive effective on the U.S. economy, helping to fuel the economy and spur growth both at home and overseas.”
“Independent songwriters—just like grocery store owners, electricians and florists—are small business people who rely on the clear and effective enforcement of U.S. law in order to succeed,” stated Rick Carnes, President of the Songwriters Guild of America, in Brentwood, TN. “A strong copyright system is absolutely essential to the long-term health of the songwriting profession.”
“Curemark, like almost all other startups, has transitioned through a process of discovery, validation, and scale. We would not exist as a company, we would not have the opportunity to work on this drug treatment if it were not for our intellectual property protection,” said Dr. Joan Fallon, Founder and CEO of Curemark, in Rye, NY. “Our IP forms the basis of our company. It has allowed us to protect our findings, raise money, demonstrate efficacy, and put forth the novel science which hopefully will benefit millions of American children.”
WASHINGTON—House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) submitted the following statement for the record today at the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Member Day:
“As this Committee is aware, our nation’s veterans make up a significant percentage of the American workforce. Many of our nation’s heroes exit military service and choose to begin a new undertaking: opening a business,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. “In fact, there are an estimated 2.5 million nonfarm firms in the United States owned by veterans, and 99 percent of these firms are categorized by the Small Business Administration as small businesses. These businesses employ approximately 5 million workers and account for more than $1 trillion in business receipts.”
He continued, “As Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, it has been one of my main priorities to increase the opportunities available to veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Our Committee has conducted oversight hearings and authored legislation to ensure that veteran entrepreneurs have the necessary tools for success.”During the last Congress, the House and Senate passed, and the President signed, the Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Act. In the current Congress, Members of the Committee on Small Business have also introduced two veteran small business bills: H.R. 5044, the Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act, and H.R. 5494, the Projecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Adjustment Act.
Chairman Chabot's full testimony can be found HERE.
WASHINGTON—Yesterday, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement when presented the Small Business Council of America 2018 Congressional Award for his significant efforts on behalf of America’s 30 million small businesses:
“I’ve been privileged to serve on the House Committee on Small Business every year that I’ve been in Congress. Since 2015, I’ve had the unique opportunity to be in the front seat of our ever changing economy as Chairman of the Committee. Our nation’s entrepreneurs and innovators embody the American dream every time their ideas become reality,” said Chairman Steve Chabot.“There is no doubt that starting a small business takes true grit and courage. It is an honor to receive this award; but truly, this award belongs to the millions of small business owners across the country that sacrifice so much to grow our economy every day. The fact is, when small businesses are strong, America is strong.”
Ready, Willing, and Able to Work: How Small Businesses Empower People with Developmental Disabilities
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Ready, Willing, and Able to Work: How Small Businesses Empower People with Developmental Disabilities.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The purpose of the hearing is to examine the role small businesses have played in employing individuals with differing abilities and the lessons that have been learned.Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Ms. Angela Timashenka Geiger
President and CEO
Mr. Dave Friedman
Founder and CEO
Downers Grove, IL
Mr. John Cronin
Co-Founder and Chief Happiness Officer
John’s Crazy Socks
Mr. Mark X. Cronin, Co-Founder and President, John’s Crazy Socks
Ms. Paige Morrow
Extraordinary Ventures, Inc.
Chapel Hill, NC
* Testifying on behalf of the Autism Society of America
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business heard testimony from a panel of small business owners and experts on developmental disabilities on how those with differing abilities have an essential role in the small business economy.
“One segment of American society that is often overlooked when discussing economic opportunities through new job growth is the special needs community,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “Given the innovation, flexibility, and diversity of small businesses, they can offer inclusive environments for employees with developmental disabilities, and fill jobs vital to operating and expanding their businesses.”
Ready, Willing, and Able to Work
“I have Down syndrome, but Down syndrome never holds me back. I am 22-years old and work hard every day to show the world that individuals with Down syndrome are ready, willing and able to work. Give us a chance and we can be successful,” proclaimed John Cronin, Co-Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of John’s Crazy Socks in Melville, NY. “I founded this business with my dad, Mark. It was my idea and I came up with the name. We have a mission to spread happiness. We work to show what is possible. I love my business.”
What Advocates Are Saying
“While employment opportunities for people with disabilities have substantially improved since the Great Recession, the gap, in comparison to those without disabilities, continues to persist at almost the same rate,” stated Angela Geiger, President and CEO of Autism Speaks in Washington, DC. “However, despite the continued low rates of disability employment, progress is being made. In the last year, employment rates for people with disabilities have increased (up from 32.3 percent in March 2017). Disability employment has increased steadily over the last 24 months. The rate of increase for workers with disabilities is greater than the rate for people without disabilities.”
“Many people with autism possess skills that are valuable for today's economy. Often, they possess intense focus, comfort with numbers and process, and a passion for repetitive, process-intensive tasks,” said David Friedman, Founder and CEO of AutonomyWorks in Downers Grove, IL. “In the next decade, the workplace will be flooded with over half million adults with autism – talented and eager to work. Small businesses generate a large percentage of new jobs across the United States. Small businesses must be a core part of any solution to the employment challenges facing adults with disabilities.”
“We are witness to the dramatic positive impact have a job has on our employees. We see the significant decrease in challenging behaviors, an increase in job skills, dexterity, communication, life skills, and confidence,” said Lori Ireland, President of Ireland Family Foundation and Founder of Extraordinary Ventures, in Chapel Hill, NC. “There is no question that employment is beneficial and a worthy cause to fight for.”Full video can be found here and full testimony can be found here.
The hearing will examine the economic impact of the travel and tourism industries, how small businesses contribute to these industries, and how the federal government can ensure the travel and tourism industries continue to positively impact the United States economy.
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
Ms. Rita McClenny
President and CEO
Virginia Tourism Corporation
Mr. Steve Shur
Mr. Cam Brensinger
Founder and CEO
NEMO Equipment, Inc.
*Testifying on behalf of the Outdoor Industry Association