Since its launch five years ago, Joining Forces has worked with the private sector to promote employment-related commitments for our nation’s transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses. Continuing in this resolve, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced a new set of private sector commitments in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of Joining Forces on Thursday, May 5 at a White House event. The First Lady and Dr. Biden were joined by Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, and Amazon employee Kathleen Carroll, a Marine Corps veteran. Amazon is one of more than 50 companies who together have pledged more than 110,000 hiring and nearly 60,000 training and certification commitments for veterans and military spouses over the next five years—primarily in the fields of aerospace, telecommunications and tech. The First Lady also announced that, since the launch of Joining Forces in 2011, more than 1.2 million veterans and military spouses have been trained or hired.
Participating companies in this latest pledge range from small startups to the world’s largest corporations—all of whom have recognized the unique skills that veterans and military spouses bring to the workforce. In addition to the remarkable adaptability and determination that military service demands, tens of thousands of service members are already working in high tech specialties that require advanced proficiency in fields such as computer networks, wireless communications, logistics and supply chain management, and systems engineering. They do these jobs in some of the most challenging environments imaginable while deployed worldwide. Companies also recognize the value in employing military spouses, particularly for portable jobs that allow them to grow and advance within a company over several reassignments with their service member.
As a result of the efforts of Joining Forces and companies continuing to realize the value in hiring veterans, the veteran unemployment rate is now lower than the national average. Much progress has been made, and this momentum must continue as nearly 200,000 service members continue to transition each year. The strength of our all-volunteer force is enhanced when our best and brightest see the military as not only a way to serve our country, but as a path to economic opportunity after service.
Joining Forces continues to call upon companies large and small across the country to provide this opportunity, and to support our veterans as they continue to serve our country.
For more information, view the Joining Forces 5th Anniversary Employment Fact Sheet.
Major Andy Anderson is a White House Fellow for the Joining Forces Initiative.