HUBZone workforce model suggested for veterans

A federal task force has raised the idea of offering special privileges in government contracting to companies with a certain percentage of employees who are veterans.

The new type of business would have privileges similar to those afforded to small businesses in Historically Underutilized Business Zones, or HUBZones. HUBZones are federally designated economically depressed areas. To be eligible for set-aside contracts, HUBZone small business must have 35 percent of its total workforce living in the zone. Agencies have annual goals for awarding them contracts.


Related stories:

Sen. Baucus wants more attention on veterans' small business 

Senators ask GAO probe of veteran-owned contracting program


The Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development said the government could apply that same principle for companies whose total workforce is comprised of at least 35 percent or more of veterans, including guard and reserve members.

“The creation of a new small business subcategory for firms hiring veterans would provide hiring incentives and procurement opportunities for small business,” the task force wrote in its first report. The report was released Nov. 1.

The task force is comprised of federal officials, led by the Small Business Administration’s Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, and several members from veteran advocacy groups.

The task force wants the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, as well as SBA and the Office of Management and Budget, to further explore the idea.

The task force recommended they outline the necessary regulatory guidance and potential barriers to setting up the HUBZone-like small business designation. They recommended developing alternative models, such as tax relief, for encouraging companies to hire veterans. 

The idea would provide job opportunities, as well as assisting the government in meeting its overall 23-percent small business goal, the task force added.

Agencies have struggled to meet that 23-percent mark. Most recently, 22.7 percent of contracts were awarded to small businesses in fiscal 2010. That same year, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses received $10.8 billion, or 2.5 percent, of federal contract awards. The annual goal is 3 percent.

The task force also pointed out that setting up the new type of small business may not be too complicated.

It “presents an opportunity for a creative change that requires additional regulatory guidance but not exhaustive new rulemaking,” officials on the task force wrote. They have been exploring the extent to which existing authority could allow for the new incentive program.

They said the Veterans Affairs Department could handle the verification process.

They’ve also been considering any broader implications of a program on existing employment assistance and training work in agencies, such as VA and DOD.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2010 to establish the task force. His intent is to help veterans in the government marketplace. He also announced the new Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses, which will take a broader look at small-business contracting.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Wed, Nov 9, 2011

As a SDVOSB owner I like the idea but what happens when I reach the NAICS Size Standard and have to compete with SAIC etc? Many Veterans also have special medical needs and most small businesses have difficulties with getting affordable Healthcare Insurance until we are larger the Catch 22 we are then too large to be small. Solve that NAICS Size Standard issue and all will be well.

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 Dave K

No, the gov needs to quit trying to pick winners and losers, and simply contract based on the product or service they want to acquire. It is this crap that horks up the Acquisition process and slows the economy.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group