Joining Forces Blog

  • Disney Hosts the Veterans Institute Workshop to Support Transitioning Service Members And Their Families

    On behalf of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden, I want to congratulate Disney for hosting the first-ever Veterans Institute workshop. This day-long event encouraged companies from across the U.S. to hire, train, and support our nation’s military service members and their families as they transition to civilian life. Since launching Joining Forces two and half years ago, companies across the U.S. have answered the call to support our nation’s military communities by hiring more than 380,000 veterans and military spouses – with nearly 100,000 being hired in the past six months.

    Over the next five years, more than a million service members will be hanging up their uniforms, and transitioning out of the military to pursue civilian careers. Ensuring that these men and women have the resources and the employment opportunities to transition successfully is critical. They finished their service to our nation, now they deserve to come home without worrying about the struggles of finding meaningful employment. 

  • Helping Veterans Succeed in the Classroom

    Dr. Biden delivers opening remarks at Google's veterans' higher education event, Washington, D.C., November 13, 2013

    Dr. Biden delivers opening remarks at Google's veterans' higher education event, Washington, D.C., November 13, 2013

     
    Earlier today, Dr. Jill Biden joined Google for their announcement of a Global Impact Award to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Student Veterans of America, the Posse Foundation and Veterans of Foreign Wars to help ensure colleges and universities have the information they need to help veterans succeed in obtaining higher education.
     
    “I have seen it in my own classroom -- veterans bring the same determination and focus to their studies that they brought to serving our country,” said Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator and military mom.
     
    Dr. Biden said the efforts were “exactly what the First Lady and I hoped to see when we started our Joining Forces initiative two years ago … individuals, businesses, and nonprofits working with the public sector to step up and do what they do best to help veterans and military families."
     
    Over the next few years, more than a million service men and women will end their military careers and transition back to civilian life. For many, education will be at the front line of that transition. Ensuring that our returning veterans and military families have access to the programs and resources that will help them successfully navigate their educational paths is critical.
     
    As Dr. Biden noted, many of the student veterans she has met face unique challenges – they differ from their classmates in terms of age and experience, they often find a more relaxed schedule on campus to be very different from the rigid military schedule they are used to, and are juggling multiple priorities outside of school.
     
    As part of Joining Forces, Dr. Biden plans to visit programs at colleges and universities around the country who are supporting veterans and military families to learn more about how successful programs can be replicated at other institutions.

  • Video: Veterans Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security

    Ed. Note: This blog is cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Last week, Secretary Moniz joined other federal officials in honoring veterans that are working in clean energy and climate security at a "Champions of Change" event at the White House. The event honored 12 veterans that are using the skills they learned while in the service to help secure our clean energy future.

    Across the country, these veterans are making a difference in their communities, whether by launching new small businesses, advising large institutions on their energy efficiency strategies or providing education and training in renewable energy and energy efficiency to fellow veterans.

    The video above features a few of these veterans:

    • Joseph Kopser serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of RideScout, a startup smartphone app created to increase transportation efficiency by getting people out of their cars and into other public, commercial, and private options. A West Point and Harvard Kennedy School graduate, Joseph served in the United States Army for 20 years, retiring in 2013 as a lieutenant colonel.
    • Andrea Marr is a commissioning engineer at McKinstry’s Irvine, California, office where she advises large institutions on energy efficiency strategies. She served as a gunnery officer on two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and as a nuclear engineering officer during a third deployment.
    • Elizabeth “Liz” Perez-Halperin is the President and Founder of GC Green Incorporated, a green building general contracting and consulting firm. Liz also served in the United States Navy for over eight years as an aviation logistics specialist. GC Green is involved in an effort to broaden the outreach and impact of the green economy.

    Though these veterans have returned from active duty, their service to our nation continues here at home.

    Watch our latest video featuring highlights from the Champions of Change: Veterans Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security event and learn more about the Champions of Change program.

    Ben Dotson is the Project Coordinator for Digital Reform in the Office of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • What Veterans Deserve

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the Department of Veterans Affairs blog. See the original post here.

    Last month, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to former Captain William D. Swenson, United States Army, for heroism and gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in the Battle of the Ganjgal Valley on September 8, 2009.

    What Veterans Deserve

    Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki (right) presents a coin to Arthur Adams Jr., a WWII Veteran and POW, November 11, 2013. (Department of Veterans Affairs Photo by Curt Campbell).

    During 6 hours of intense combat, Captain Swenson did everything expected of leaders and more—keeping his ambushed unit fighting effectively, directing available fires, evacuating the wounded, and leading by example in repeatedly risking his personal safety to retrieve wounded Soldiers and Marines, Afghan allies, and fallen comrades.

  • 5 Ways You Can Thank a Veteran

    They stepped up to serve us -- now it’s our turn to serve them. On Veterans Day, we encourage all Americans to recognize and honor the valor and sacrifice of our veterans and their families. Today and every day, we want our veterans and their families to know that America has their backs. Here are five ways to thank a veteran:

    1. Find a service opportunity in your area.

    Say thank you by giving your time. Completing community service in honor of our military communities is a great way to show your support. To pledge hours of community service, find service projects in your area, and track your progress click here

    Dr. Jill Biden joins Senate Spouses, military spouses and White House volunteers to Support Recovering Troops

    Dr. Jill Biden joins Senate Spouses, military spouses and White House volunteers to Support Recovering Troops with USO Warrior Care Pack Assembly on the grounds of the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, DC, Oct. 29, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    2. Share your message of thanks through USO.

    Gather your friends and family together to write letters of appreciation for our veterans. Writing a message lets them know that we appreciate their service and sacrifice. Submit your message here.   

    First Lady Michelle Obama joins children in an art project at the USO Warrior and Family Center

    First Lady Michelle Obama joins children in an art project at the USO Warrior and Family Center in Ft. Belvoir, Va., Sept. 11, 2013. The center supports wounded, ill and injured troops, their families and caregivers as well as local active duty troops. September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

  • Coming Together to Honor Our Veterans

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the Department of Veterans Affairs blog. See the original post here.

    Veterans Day is a day to honor the men and women who have served bravely on behalf of our country. It is a special time to show our heartfelt appreciation for the sacrifices that the members of our military have made all around the world.

    It's also a day to come together as a nation in support of the men and women who are returning home safely, ready to begin the next chaper of their lives.

    Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to an audience at an event to open the State Department's new Veterans Innovation Partnership fellowship program.

    Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to an audience at an event to open the State Department's new Veterans Innovation Partnership fellowship program. November 1, 2013.

    On Nov. 9, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13518, the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, which establishes the Veterans Employment Initiative, a strategic approach to helping those who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government.