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Educational event focuses on providing info to area veterans

Staff reports • Mar 13, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Northeast Tennessee veterans are invited to “Services for Those Who Have Served,” an educational event focused on housing opportunities, small-business loans, federal contracting and educational services specifically designed for veterans to be held March 23 at the Millennium Centre.

Sponsored by the East Tennessee State University College of Business & Technology and hosted by U.S. Rep. Phil Roe in partnership with U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, the event will feature information on veteran-focused programs available from resource providers in Northeast Tennessee.

Speakers will include representatives of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and East Tennessee State University.

“Ensuring our service members have a better quality of life for the sacrifices they made is always at the forefront of my mind. That is why I am pleased to host such an important event that will create new opportunities for our veterans,” Roe said.

Dr. Linda Garceau, dean of ETSU’s College of Business & Technology, said the event presents “a great opportunity for ETSU to reach out to veterans and increases their awareness of the vast resources available to them. In education, there are services through the university to returning veterans who aspire to earn a college degree and we want our returning soldiers to access these opportunities,” Garceau said.

Ed Ellis, Knoxville field office manager for HUD, said, “With today’s low home mortgage rates, veterans may purchase a home through a FHA loan. We encourage veterans to attend the event to learn more about the housing and job opportunities.”

Representatives of the state Small Business Development Center and the federal Small Business Administration will discuss what it takes to start a small business and small-business loans available specifically for veterans. Walter Perry, district director for SBA, said, “Veterans are eligible for SBA’s Patriot Express loan of up to $500,000, so working capital is available for both veterans and their spouses to start a small business.”

Federal contracting activities with the Department of Veterans Affairs will also be discussed, including how veteran-owned small businesses can offer goods and services to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home and other VA facilities.

Tennessee’s Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Col. Many- Bears Grinder, will discuss services offered by the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs.

Free and open to the public, the event will be held from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Millennium Centre, located across State of Franklin Road from the university. Networking and coffee will be available beginning at 8 a.m.

To register in advance or for more information, visit www.tsbdc.org or call the ETSU Small Business Development Center at 439-8505.

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