First Lady: Americans' Hiring Efforts Surpass Expectations
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2012 First Lady Michelle Obama shared a pleasant surprise about her veteran and military spouse hiring initiative during a stop in Shreveport, La., yesterday.
White House officials began planning a couple of months ago for the first lady to announce the 50,000th person hired under the initiative to coincide with this week’s first anniversary of the “Joining Forces” campaign, which spearheads the Obama administration’s push to improve hiring of military spouses and veterans. But the campaign hit its goal by the end of March, the first lady said, and had 8,000 more jobs pledged by April.
“Today, I couldn’t be more excited to announce that America’s businesses have hired 60,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year,” she said during a stop at Kansas City Southern Railways. “That’s the story of Joining Forces. Whenever we have asked Americans to step up, no matter who we were talking to, they have gone above and beyond our expectations. And I want these veterans to understand that. America is stepping up in big ways.”
In an effort to meet President Barack Obama’s challenge to hire 100,000 military spouses or veterans by the end of 2013, she said, “America’s businesses have overwhelmed us with their response:”
-- The Chamber of Commerce has held more than 130 hiring fairs;
-- The Military Spouse Employment Partnership committed to 20,000 hires;
-- The American Logistics Association pledged 25,000 hires;
-- The International Franchising Association committed to 80,000 more hires; and
-- Last week, a group of 11 companies said that they would devote 15,000 portable, flexible jobs to military spouses and veterans.
“More than 1,600 companies -- from Sears and Siemens, to NBC and Disney, to Honeywell and Snap-On Tools -- they’ve all joined this effort,” Obama said. “In total, they’ve committed to hiring at least 160,000 veterans and military spouses in the coming years. And that’s above and beyond the 60,000 that we’re talking about here today.”
Kansas City Southern, she said, hired 45 veterans just last year, and 10 percent of its employees have served in the military.
“You have made hiring veterans a priority because you know that these folks are some of the most highly-skilled, hardest-working employees in this country,” Obama said. “They have experience that simply cannot be created -- or recreated in a classroom.
“Make no mistake about it, our veterans and military spouses are some of the most able -- and employable -- people in the marketplace today,” she said.