The White House Blog: The First Lady

  • "Thank you for all that you do": Military Mother's Day Tea with the First Lady and Dr. Biden

    Watch this video on YouTube

    Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a special Mother's Day tea to honor military mothers and show their appreciation and thanks for all the important work they do as well as the sacrifices their families have made in service of our country.


  • West Wing Week: 05/10/13 or “I Dare You to Do Better”

    This week, the President made his fourth trip to Mexico, continued on to Costa Rica, spoke to the graduating class of 2013 at The Ohio State University, hosted the new President of South Korea, discussed hurricane preparedness, and kicked off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour in the Lone Star State.


  • West Wing Week: 05/03/13 or “Nobody Does It Better”

    This week, President Obama spoke at the Planned Parenthood conference and the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, met with the King of Jordan, made five personnel announcements, celebrated the sciences and the Joining Forces Initiative, and embarked on a trip to Mexico and Costa Rica.


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

    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. 


  • Businesses Must Hire More Vets

    Ed note: This op-ed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden was first published on Fortune.com. You can see the original article here.

    Two years ago, we launched Joining Forces, a nationwide campaign to rally all Americans to support our veterans and military families. We did this for two simple reasons: because we were both awed by the courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day to protect our values and keep us safe. We were also awed by their families, the spouses and children who serve right along with them, enduring deployment after deployment with grace and resolve.

    As we traveled the country visiting bases and military communities, everywhere we went, we heard from veterans who had years of training and experience in the military -- leading dozens, even hundreds of their peers; operating some of the most advanced technology; and solving complex problems under the most extreme conditions imaginable. But when they returned home, they struggled to find decent jobs. We met military spouses who'd spent decades moving from base to base every couple of years and struggled to maintain their careers. As the months passed, we saw that the unemployment rate for our most recent veterans remained far too high above the national average.

    These men and women are some of the highest-skilled, best-trained, hardest-working people in this country. They are medics and engineers, drivers and welders, computer technicians and machinists. They are eager to work and determined to keep on serving this country. All they need is a chance.


  • First Lady Michelle Obama Announces a New Program to Help Transitioning Servicemembers Get IT Jobs

    First Lady Michelle Obama Announces the IT Training and Certification Partnership, April 29, 2013

    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, April 29, 2013. The First Lady announces the IT Training and Certification Partnership, a new public-private partnership that will enable thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized information technology (IT) certifications before they transition from military service. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In the ongoing effort to help our servicemembers and veterans transition from active duty service to the civilian job market, the White House today invited leaders from the private sector, the military services, industry trade associations, unions, educational institutions, state legislatures, veteran service organizations, and state licensing boards for a forum on military credentialing and licensing.

    At the event, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of the IT Training and Certification Partnership, a new public-private program that addresses an issue that can prevent our troops from gaining employment in the private sector: Active military personnel typically do not have the industry-recognized certifications that reflect the IT skills and expertise they gained through their military service.

    Today’s announcement is the second major partnership developed through the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, which was established last June by the Department of Defense at President Obama’s direction. The new Partnership will provide opportunities for up to 161,000 service members to gain industry-recognized, nationally portable certifications necessary for 12 high-demand technology professions, including computer programmers, quality assurance engineers, and IT security analysts. The targeted professions are expected to generate more than 1.8 million job opportunities by 2020, and have an average annual salary of more than $81,000. Their high-quality military training assures that our veterans have the skill sets that employers demand to fill these positions


  • West Wing Week: 04/26/13 or “This Stuff’s Really Cool”

    This week, the Vice President traveled to Boston for a memorial for Officer Collier, and the President memorialized the victims of the West Texas explosion. The President also hosted the Amir of Qatar, the Teacher of the Year, the 3rd White House Science Fair, and visited Dallas with the First Lady for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.


  • President Obama Participates in the Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

    President Obama with former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, April 25, 2013

    President Barack Obama stands with former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Tex., April 25, 2013. Former First Ladies Laura Bush, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, are also pictured. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    President and Mrs. Obama were in Dallas today for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. It was an historic occasion that brought all the living former Presidents --  Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- together for the first time since right before President Obama took office in 2009. They were joined by former First Ladies Roslyn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton (also a former Secretary of State, as President Obama noted) and Laura Bush.

    In his remarks, President Obama highlighted the special bond that connects our past presidents, and said that despite disagreement on matters of foreign policy, all of the men on the stage with him shared "a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families. And we are united in our determination to comfort the families of the fallen and to care for those who wear the uniform of the United States."


  • West Wing Week: 04/19/13 or “Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid.”

    This week, the President responded to the terror attack in Boston, met with AmeriCorps volunteers, invited the Wounded Warrior riders to the White House, and for the first time, asked a citizen to deliver the weekly address.


  • States Step Up to Help Veterans and Spouses Get Back to Work

    First Lady Michelle Obama watches Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley sign the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013, April 17, 2013

    First Lady Michelle Obama watches Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley sign the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013 during a ceremony at the State House in Annapolis, Md., April 17, 2013. Seated, from left are, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Gov. Martin O'Malley, and House Speaker Michael Busch. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    President Obama and the First Lady are committed to doing everything in their power to assist the brave men and women who have served our country in re-entering civilian life and finding employment. Over the last year and a half, the President has overseen the first re-design of the military’s transition assistance program in twenty years; created new tax credits to spur veteran hiring; expanded re-employment services, including the Veterans Job Bank and the Veterans Gold Card; and launched a series of initiatives to expand the number of veterans that get jobs in healthcare and first responder fields. Additionally, under the great leadership of the First Lady and Dr. Biden, Joining Forces has expanded hiring and training partnerships with the private sector in an effort to help our veterans and their spouses get back to work.

    Yet, our veterans still face major hurdles as they transition out of the military and into the civilian workforce. According to a 2012 survey by Prudential and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 60 percent of survey respondents said they had trouble translating their military skills into civilian job experience, creating a significant barrier to employment. Many high-demand, good-paying jobs like paramedics, truck drivers, nurses, and welders, require either a national certification or state occupational license to be hired, and currently our national and state systems make it very difficult for service members and veterans to obtain these civilian certifications and licenses that directly translate to their military training. Often times service members and veterans are required to repeat education or training in order to receive these occupational credentials, even though much, and in some cases, all, of their military training and experience overlaps with credential training requirements. And employers, many with significant needs for skilled workers, are left waiting for these military members to complete these, oftentimes lengthy, credentialing training programs – programs that many veterans could have taught themselves.