The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • Michelle Obama's Message to Military Families: You Do Live in a Grateful Nation

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden today marked the one year anniversary of the launch of Joining Forces with an event on the South Lawn of the White House, and Mrs. Obama used the occasion to renew her call of action, and challenged all Americans to keep finding new ways to show their support for military families.

    The First Lady told the crowd that over the past year, as she and Dr. Biden reached out on behalf of our military families, "not a single person that we've talked to, that we have approached, has told us that they could not help -- not a single person.  We've asked; they said yes.

    And the good thing is, is that once people get started, they just keep coming up with new ideas on their own.  We’ll present something, and they double it.  They want to do even more.  They just keep raising their goals even higher.  They just keep figuring out how to get more and more people involved."

    And her message for all military families, is that "you do live in a grateful nation."


  • Community Colleges Connect the Dots

    Ed note: This interview with Dr. Jill Biden by Mary Ellen Flannery originally appeared on the website for the National Education Association. This excerpt has been reposted with their permission.

    Suddenly, it seems everybody, including President Obama, is talking about community colleges and their vital role in creating trained workers for American jobs in manufacturing, health services, education, and more. But Dr. Jill Biden, wife to Vice President Joe Biden, has known for years that community colleges provide a low-cost, high-quality education for millions of Americans. That’s because Biden has a front-row seat at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has taught English as an adjunct professor since 2009. Recently Biden, an educator with more than 30 years of experience, conversed with NEA Today on issues ranging from college accessibility to her summer reading list.

    Q: When President Obama visited your campus (Northern Virginia Community College) in February, he told students, “The truth is that the skills and training you receive here will be the best tool you have to achieve the American Promise.” How is this true? What do you think your students aspire to – and how does the time that they spend in community college classrooms help them achieve those dreams?

    Dr. Biden: For the last 18 years, I have seen firsthand the power of community colleges to change lives. I have welcomed students to my classroom from a wide variety of educational, economic, and cultural backgrounds, and I have seen how the community college system offers them the same path of opportunity.

    I have students who attend classes on top of a full-time job. I teach moms who are juggling jobs and child care while preparing for new careers. I have many students working toward attending a four-year university.

    Community colleges connect the dots – granting two-year degrees, providing new skills training and certification, and providing an affordable path for those who want to move on to a four-year university.


  • Building the Workforce of the Future at Community Colleges

    Dr. Jill Biden was at the Mercer County Community College in New Jersey this morning, the latest stop in her “Community College to Career” tour. Last month, Dr. Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hit the road for a bus tour through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia where they visited community colleges that have formed innovative partnerships with local business leaders to train students with the skills they need to join the area workforce.

    Employers today are looking for skilled, educated workers, and they should be able to find those workers right here in the United States. Adam Dalton, a machine shop instructor at the Tennessee Technology Center in Harriman, Tennessee, said that “I have people calling me every week saying ‘I need guys and gals with this skillset, and we need them now.’”

    Secretary Solis said that community colleges are becoming more adept and more agile at listening to the needs of local businesses, and are helping pair trained workers who need jobs with the employers who are looking to hire.


  • Vice President and Dr Biden Celebrate Women's History Month

    Vice President and Dr. Biden host a Women’s History Month reception

    Dr. Jill Biden gives remarks at a reception in honor of Women's History Month at the Naval Observatory on March 26, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the Vice President and Dr. Biden hosted a reception last night in honor of Women’s History Month to celebrate the history, accomplishments, and contributions of women across the spectrum of American life, from academia and science, business and labor, philanthropy and advocacy, athletics and the arts, to the military and government. 

    Speaking to a distinguished crowd of women (and some men) who are at the pinnacle of their careers, the Vice President applauded their courage and achievements over the last few decades, saying “you’ve empowered entire generations” of women. He continued, “I’ve learned it from Jill, I learned it from my sister, and I’ve learned from the over thousand hours of hearings we held in the Violence Against Women Act that the single most important thing that empowers young women is powerful women – powerful women.” 

    Dr. Biden praised the guests for their "courage, strength and resilience." In addition, she paid special tribute to several members of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Female Engagement Team, known as the FETs, who attended the reception. These women volunteer to join otherwise all-male Marine patrols in Afghanistan, where they build relationships with Afghan women – a population mostly off-limits to male troops – learn about the country’s culture, and support our battlefield operations in Afghanistan. To highlight the incredible work of FETs, the Vice President and Dr. Biden also installed this photo exhibit of Female Engagement Teams at work in Afghanistan on the walls of the Naval Observatory.


  • Dr. Jill Biden: Military Support Will Define Future Leaders

    Ed note: This article was cross-posted from the Department of Defense site.

    Supporting troops, veterans and their families as they’ve supported the nation is a charge that will define America’s next generation of leaders, the vice president’s wife said today.

    Dr. Jill Biden cited the importance of enduring military family support to about 200 aspiring young leaders attending the 2012 National 4-H Youth Conference, sponsored by the Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in Chevy Chase, MD.

    “You are all here today because of your extraordinary leadership and your commitment to service,” Biden, a longtime educator, told the audience. “You are role models and mentors. As you continue to achieve, we will look to you to keep making a difference in your communities and across the country.”

    The 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, has a long-standing history of military family support, Biden said in her prepared remarks. She cited the Military 4-H Club Program, which serves children on military installations, and Operation: Military Kids, which supports children impacted by deployment.

    “4-H has provided a sense of community for military-connected children for decades,” she said. “4-H has given military-connected children an outlet -- a chance to use their talents -- and helped them reach their full potential, even while they face some unique and difficult challenges.”

    As a military mom, Biden said, she’s all too familiar with these challenges. The Bidens’ son, Beau Biden, is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard. She recalled when their son deployed to Iraq for a year, leaving his two young children behind.


  • Community College Key to a Better Future

    Ed note: Dr. Jill Biden wrote this op-ed for USA Today.

    Danny Anderson is an American hero. He is also a role model — in more ways than one.

    Danny spent six years in the Army. He loved serving his country, and when he completed his time in the military, he was eager to find other ways to serve. So Danny decided to use his military benefits to earn his degree and enrolled in Hopkinsville Community College's nursing program. Through a partnership between Gateway Medical Center and Hopkinsville Community College in Kentucky, Danny became a registered nurse and is now employed in Gateway's emergency care department.

    I met Danny last month when I traveled with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on a five-state "Community College to Career" bus tour to highlight the types of successful community college industry partnerships that are working and can serve as models for the nation.

    The impact Danny's community college education had on his life is clear — and is one I see replicated on community college campuses across the country, as well as in my own 18 years as a community college professor.


  • Improving Healthcare for Military Families

    Medscape, the largest source of online continuing education for physicians and other health professionals, has teamed up with Joining Forces to ensure that our country’s servicemembers, veterans, and military families receive the best healthcare possible.

    Soon after the White House released “Strengthening Our Military Families” in January 2011, Medscape began working with leading experts in military healthcare to create 10 new online education programs on topics ranging from military culture to screening for post-traumatic stress disorder and helping families connect with VA services. The free modules include links to resources from the government, warrior advocacy groups and medical associations. More than 100,000 physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers have viewed these education courses in the past year.

    The curriculum that Medscape has created enables community health professionals to understand and meet the needs of military families.  As servicemembers return home to their communities, such preparation is imperative—only half of those eligible for VA services seek treatment there.


  • Joining Forces Commitment Met: Chamber of Commerce Holds 100 Hiring Fairs for Veterans and Military Spouses

    As First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces last April, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program committed to host 100 hiring fairs across the country with the top notch companies they work with on a daily basis.

    Earlier today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Chamber met that commitment. In just 11 months, the Chamber has hosted 100 of these fairs in 45 states and the District of Columbia and more than 8,000 veterans and military spouses have already landed jobs -- and the best is yet to come.

    Starting this month, the Chamber will host 400 hiring fairs in the next year throughout the U.S. They will work with their Employment Advisory Council – which is made up of more than 20 of America’s largest companies and represents 25 million jobs – to find solid jobs for even more veterans and military spouses . The Chamber will also make improvements to their fairs by layering in in classes on resume writing, financial literacy, interview prep, mentorig opportunities, advice on dressing for success, and much more.  

    The Chamber has a new focused effort on hiring military spouses too. Last January, they launched a stand-alone program for military spouses and formed the Military Spouse Business Alliance with nine leading military family non-profits. The first-of-its-kind program will include 20 hiring fairs at military installations in the coming year that will include resumé and interview workshops, small-group mentoring with senior women executives and military spouses, an entrepreneurs’ pavilion, and image workshops.  

    “Hiring Our Heroes” will also launch a campaign focused on small business engagement later this month. Driven largely by the Chamber’s ability to reach 3 million of its own small business members, the Chamber will get thousands of small businesses across America to commit to veteran and military spouse hiring.

    Through their strong partnerships with Joining Forces, the public sector, non-profits, and veteran services organizations, the Chamber will spread this movement to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers across America.

    Stand by for a great 2012!

    Hiring Our Heroes event at the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum

    Hiring Our Heroes 100th hiring fair at the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania March 2, 2012. (by Ian Wagreich/U.S. Chamber of Commerce)


  • President Obama Honors Iraq Veterans at the White House

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a dinner to honor Iraq War Veterans

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a Department of Defense dinner in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 29, 2012. The President and Mrs. Obama hosted the dinner to honor Armed Forces who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, and to honor their families. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr Jill Biden tonight welcomed a group of true American heroes to the White House. “A Nation’s Gratitude: Honoring those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn” was a formal dinner that paid tribute to our Iraq veterans and marked the end of the war.

    More than 100 service members and their guests were in attendance, and the invitees included men and women in uniform from all ranks, each U.S. state and territory, and every branch of the Armed Forces. Together, they represented the million American troops who served in Iraq, and they also represented  what Vice President Joe Biden called the finest generation of warriors in all of history.

    In his remarks, the President welcomed the veterans home, praised their bravery and dedication to their mission, and thanked them on behalf of more than 300 million Americans: 

    Tonight, what we can do is convey what you’ve meant to the rest of us. Because through the dust and the din and the fog of war, the glory of your service always shone through. In your noble example, we see the virtues and the values that sustain America, that keep this country great.  

    You taught us about duty. Blessed to live in the land of the free, you could have opted for an easier path. But you know that freedom is not free. And so you volunteered and you stepped forward, and you raised your hand and you took an oath -- to protect and defend; to serve a cause greater than yourself, knowing, in a time of war, you could be sent into harm’s way. 

    You taught us about resolve. Invasion turned to insurgency and then sectarian strife. But you persevered, tour after tour, year after year.  Indeed, we’re mindful that even as we gather here, Iraq veterans continue to risk their lives in Afghanistan, and our prayers are with them all tonight.  

    In one of our nation’s longest wars, you wrote one of the most extraordinary chapters in American military history. Now the Iraqi people have a chance to forge their own destiny, and every one of you who served there can take pride in knowing you gave the Iraqis this opportunity; that you succeeded in your mission.        


  • Vice President and Dr. Biden Host the Third Annual Black History Month Reception

    Remarks from the 3rd Annual Black History Month Recpetion

    Vice President Biden speaks to guests at the third annual Black History Month reception at the Naval Observatory, February 27, 2012 (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    This week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden hosted their third annual Black History Month reception at the Naval Observatory.  More than 140 guests were in attendance, including Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Organization of Black County Officials.

    In addition to hearing from the Vice President, Dr. Biden and civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, guests had the opportunity to see a collection of photos from the Delaware Historical Society’s special exhibit, Wilmington in the 1930s: Focus on the East Side. Henry Szymanski, Sr.’s collection provides a rare Depression-era glimpse into the daily lives of people living in the city’s East side community.