Conflict & Justice

Michelle Obama’s veterans hiring initiative finds jobs for 290,000


US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the Joining Forces hiring initiative for military veterans and spouses in civilian jobs during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington on April 30, 2013.


Saul Loeb

US First Lady Michelle Obama’s veterans hiring initiative has reached triple its goal by generating jobs for 290,000 former servicemen and their spouses to date, she announced at the White House today.

The program, called Joining Forces, collects commitments from companies to hire or train a certain number of veterans and military spouses.

Originally, the program had asked US companies to commit to training or hiring 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.

At today's event, attended by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, Mrs. Obama announced that the program had gathered another set of pledges from companies to hire or train 435,000 more veterans in the next five years.

These include promises from private equity firm Blackstone Group (50,000 workers), Deloitte (to double its veteran hiring over the next three years), financial services and insurance company USAA (30 percent of new hires), McDonald’s (100,000 workers), Home Depot (55,000 workers), UPS (25,000 workers) and BNSF Railroad (5,000 workers).

“These efforts are about so much more than a paycheck. This is about giving these men and women a source of identity and purpose,” Mrs. Obama said. “This is about providing thousands of families with financial security and giving our veterans and military spouses the confidence that they can provide a better future for their children.”

Nearly one out of five veterans under the age of 25 are unemployed, the Associated Press reported. The overall unemployment rate for veterans serving since the Sept. 11 attacks was 9.9 percent in 2012.

It’s projected that nearly 1 million members of the military will become civilians in the next few years, the AP reported.