WASHINGTON -- Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today reintroduced legislation to promote entrepreneurship to young adults interested in the trades industry.

The Vocational and Technical Entrepreneurship Development Act of 2005, would provide grants to local Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) for the creation of vocational and technical entrepreneurship training at secondary and post-secondary vocational or technical schools.

“Half of all small businesses fail within four years,” Kerry said. “By providing future trade professionals with management and entrepreneurial training, we can help create a new generation of small business success stories. Small businesses are the backbone of America's economy, and it’s time they were treated that way by Washington.”

The grant program would be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and delivered on a statewide basis by participating local SBDCs. The SBDCs would compete for grants of $200,000 or more.

Kerry worked to pass the Vocational and Technical Development Act in both the 107th and 108th Congresses. Introduced by Rep. Robert Brady of Pennsylvania as H.R. 2666 in the 107th Congress, the bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, but failed to pass the Senate. In the 108th Congress, the legislation was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Brady as H.R. 1387 and by Kerry in the Senate as S. 1254, but was not included in the end-of-the-session passage of the Small Business Administration program reauthorizations. Kerry has praised Brady for his leadership on the issue and pledged to work again closely with the Congressman to pass the legislation in the 109th Congress.

The bill has had support from the small business groups such as the National Small Business Association, as well as the Association of Small Business Development Centers and leading educational institutions, such as the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.