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County to Help Entrepreneurial Veterans

The Howard County Economic Development Authority is launching a new program this spring.

I’m 27 years old and I’m applying for internships,” former Staff Sergeant Stephanie Gilbert told Patch in an interview last year. “It’s disconcerting when a 19-year-old gets the internship instead of me. It’s like, ‘What?’” 

To help veterans who want to start their own businesses, the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) has launched a new training program called Project Opportunity.

“When veterans are returning from the battlefield, among the first questions they ask is ‘what’s next?’” Laura A. Neuman, HCEDA CEO said in a statement. “We want to be able to answer that question for them. Project Opportunity will provide step-by-step guidance on what it takes to start and maintain a business. The fact that the program will be offered at our Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship with all of its support, is another benefit to participating veterans.”

More than 35 veterans on the Eastern Shore have taken advantage of Project Opportunity over the past three years, where the program was funded by $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, according to a statement from the HCEDA. The program is expected to begin in Howard County in April, with an orientation in March.

“Expanding the program around the state is a dream come true for me,” Executive Director of the Salisbury Area of Chamber Commerce Joe Giordano said in a statement. Giordano started the program three years ago.

“I know how hard it is to reenter the community after time in the military,” said Giordano, a veteran. “I patterned this program after what I would like to have had and I know other veterans need.” 

Also involved in the project are the Howard County office of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Howard Community College and the Maryland Technology Development Corp.

Find more information about Project Opportunity online.

Related:

- Jobs and Other Resources for Unemployed Veterans

- First Person: Five Tips from a Veteran Who Got A Job

- Vets Back From War Face Shocking Reality

- WATCH: Vets Sound Off About Jobs

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