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First Lady Michelle Obama Announces New Hiring Commitments for Veterans and Military Spouses

At a Joining Forces event, Mrs. Obama announced that 290,000 veterans and military spouses have been hired or trained since 2011, far exceeding President Obama's original challenge. New commitments will help 435,000 more by 2018.

First Lady Michelle Obama Makes a Veterans' Employment Announcement in the East Room, April 30, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a Joining Forces initiative employment announcement for veterans and military spouses, in the East Room of the White House, April 30, 2013. Stage participants included, from left, Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Two years ago, President Obama announced a challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013.

Today, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden all participated in a Joining Forces Employment event at the White House.

The First Lady announced that America’s businesses nearly tripled the goal set by President Obama and did so eight months early. The private sector has already hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses.

The First Lady also announced that American companies have committed to hire or train another 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. 

For example:

  • BNSF Railroad committed to hire 5,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years.
  • UPS committed to hire 25,000 in the next five years. 
  • Home Depot committed to hire 55,000 in the next five years.
  • McDonald’s committed to hire 100,000 in the next three years.
  • Walmart committed to hiring any veteran that served honorably the year after they separate from the service.
  • Deloitte will double its veteran hiring over the next three years.
  • USAA pledged that 30% of its new hires will be a veteran or military spouse. 
  • The Blackstone Group challenged each of the 50,000 managers at its affiliated businesses to hire at least one veteran. 
  • AT&T committed to creating an online military talent exchange.
  • The International Franchising Association has helped more than 4,300 veterans own their own business since 2011.
  • The U.S Chamber of Commerce just held its 400th hiring fair since last March for veterans.

The First Lady also shared the stories of veterans who have successfully transitioned into second careers. For example, she shared the story of Staff Sergeant Shaun Murphy, an Army veteran who taught sixth grade special education in Delaware for Teach for America. Today, he leads TFA’s efforts to hire more veterans as teachers.  He said, “When you hang up those fatigues and put those boots away, you don’t want to feel like you’ve given up your sense of service.”

And Chryssy Johnson, who is an Army wife and mother. Her family moved around frequently because of her husband’s service, making it hard to keep a job. But USAA gave her an opportunity, and she is now senior financial foundations specialist pursuing her MBA.

With the Iraq war over and the war in Afghanistan drawing to a close, more than one million service members are projected to leave the military in the next several years and transition to civilian life.

Good civilian jobs not only help our veterans and military spouses manage this transition smoothly, but also demonstrate that our nation truly honors their service.

Even with all the wonderful announcements today, it is clear we have more work to do. We still need every business that has not yet joined this effort to make a commitment to hire or train our veterans and military spouses. Together, let’s work to serve our military families as well as they have served us.

Watch the video below or on YouTube to learn more about Joining Forces work to help veterans and military spouses find jobs: