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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release April 3, 1998

              25,000 New Jobs Expected From New Contracts

Washington DC -- Vice President Gore announced a new HUB Zone Empowerment Contracting program to create new opportunity in distressed communities by expanding Federal purchasing from small businesses in those communities.

In addition, the Vice President announced that the Administration will hold the first-ever series of White House roundtable meetings to encourage CEO's from top companies to invest in distressed urban and rural communities.

He will be assisted by two top business leaders on this issue -- Earvin Magic Johnson and Charles Gifford who will serve as co-chairs of this series. Mr. Johnson is opening theaters, restaurants and other retail stores in inner cities across the country. Mr. Gifford, as CEO and Chairman of BankBoston, has played a key role in community reinvestment efforts. There will be four meetings, each focusing on a different aspect of the role the private sector can play in distressed communities.

I believe that if we give communities and residents the tools to spur collaboration and economic opportunity, we can tap the ingenuity and enthusiasm of every citizen and help restore our cities and distressed areas to a level even our grandparents would be proud of, Vice President Gore said.

From the South Bronx of the Mississippi Delta to South Central L.A., a growing American renaissance is turning abandoned buildings, empty lots, and crime-ridden street corners into new homes, new hope and new opportunity for millions of Americans. We're more and more convinced that we're on the right track to reverse decades of decay, and to remake America's distressed areas into sources of pride and prosperity.

The Vice President chairs the Community Empowerment Board which oversees the Administration's Community Empowerment Agenda, which includes a series of initiatives to create greater opportunity in low-income areas. An important part of the Agenda has been to spur the private sector to play a greater role in these areas.

The new HUB Zone program, which builds on the President's Empowerment Contracting Executive Order, awards small business located in distressed areas the opportunity to receive government contracts. This will widen the pool of potential Government contractors and create an estimated 25,000 new jobs in areas that need it most. It also will supplement existing procurement programs like the 8(a) program.

The program will affect $7-8 billion in new Federal contracts by the year 2000, or a 3% increase, from 20-23% in total procurement of federal contracts to small businesses. In all, over 7,000 census tracts across the country will qualify.