Building on its ongoing initiatives to promote the recruitment and employment of veterans, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced a new policy initiative to increase the participation levels of Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (SDVOB) in agency contract awards.
The new policy requires Port Authority contractors to make a good-faith effort to achieve a 3% sub-contracting goal in awarding work to SDVOB firms, subject to the availability of such firms to undertake specific contracts. The policy also provides SDVOB firms with the opportunity to bid on contracts whose value is less than $2.5 million, as part of the agency’s existing Small Business Enterprise set-aside program. SDVOB firms receive a 10% price preference on publicly advertised bids with a value up to $1 million.
“It’s clear that veterans have unique skills that we can tap into both in the agency’s daily operations and into the hundreds of infrastructure projects we undertake every year,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “This new program will keep the agency in the forefront of providing opportunities for military veterans and ensure that small veteran-owned businesses can be on an equal playing field when seeking work on Port Authority contracts.”
“Military veterans bring to the table diverse skills that can be extremely valuable to operating our facilities and to maintaining and rebuilding our legacy infrastructure throughout the region,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This agency has been fortunate to have many former and current senior leaders come from military backgrounds, and we want to enable the agency to draw even more on the talent of the Nation’s military veterans.”
“Military veterans bring to the table diverse skills that can be invaluable to our mission to operate major transportation facilities and to undertake a multitude of infrastructure projects throughout the region,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This agency has been fortunate to have many former and current senior leaders come from military backgrounds, and we believe that trend will continue well into the future.”
“We sincerely appreciate the attention that the Port Authority has given to providing employment opportunities for veterans and veteran-owned business,” said the New Jersey Commissioner for Military and Veterans Affairs, Brigadier General Jemal J. Beale, The Adjutant General. “This is an important step to ensure that we provide appropriate programs to allow veterans access to quality employment opportunities where their skills can make a major difference.”
“Service disabled veterans have given so much to our country and our state, and we are delighted that the Port Authority continues to recognize their service and their contributions to society through the implementation of programs that will benefit them for years to come,” said Major General Raymond F. Shields Jr., the Commander of the New York Army National Guard and the Adjutant General for the State of New York.
“Veterans have always led the way in entrepreneurship and business,” said New York State Division of Veterans’ Services Director Jim McDonough. “The ability to take charge, lead and see things through are critical abilities in service and in business. We are grateful to have the support of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in their SDVOB program. It is a testament to their dedication to supporting and empowering Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses.”
“Launching the Port Authority Veterans Association (PAVA) in 2016 was the impetus for the changes that have been established and implemented around hiring and retaining veteran talent here at the Port Authority,” said Sean Kazmark, President of the Port Authority Veterans Association. “PAVA continues to lead agency efforts to provide support to all retired, active duty and reserve members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Once a military veteran is hired with the Port Authority, they can rest assured that a network of likeminded individuals with similar experiences are here to lend a helping hand.”
The new policy for SDVOB firms follows an agency commitment to promote the recruitment and employment of military veterans for career opportunities across the agency, including a particular focus in Aviation, Port, Rail, Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals, Police, Security, Technology and Engineering, among other areas. Since September 2017, when the Port Authority Board of Commissioners instituted policies and procedures to promote the recruitment of veterans for all employment positions, there has been a 15% increase in the number of veterans employed by the agency, including 66 military veteran hires in 2019.
The Port Authority’s commitment to veterans includes not only new hires but those already serving at the agency. In November 2017, the agency launched an Employee Resource Group entitled PAVA (Port Authority Veterans Association), which helps to provide networking, coaching and mentoring opportunities for all members of the agency’s veteran population. In September 2018, the Port Authority updated its administrative policy on military leave, to more effectively enable employees who are veterans to continue to serve as members of a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces while retaining their jobs at the agency.
For more information about the SDVOB program, click here.
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