Joining Forces Blog

  • VA Serves One Millionth Post-9/11 GI Bill Beneficiary

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from VAntage Point, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. See the original post here.

    Dr. Jill Biden is joined by Army Veteran Steven Ferraro to celebrate the 1 millionth beneficiary Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit

    Dr. Jill Biden is joined by Army Veteran Steven Ferraro to celebrate the 1 millionth beneficiary Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit and recognize the significant impact it has had in helping service members, veterans and their families obtain a quality education and employment, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Nov. 8, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Today we joined Dr. Jill Biden, 2nd Lady of the United States to celebrate the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit and recognize the significant impact it’s had in helping Service members, Veterans and their families get a quality education and good jobs. Dr. Biden is a lifelong educator and proud Blue Star mom. She currently teaches full time at a community college in Virginia and is a champion for military families, including through her work with First Lady Michelle Obama and Joining Forces.

    We also congratulated the 1 millionth beneficiary of this landmark program, who is a great representative of the Post-9/11 Veteran generation; which has sacrificed so much for our country. This GI Bill program is just one small way our nation can say “thank you” to these men and women for their service.

  • Top Five Ways to Commemorate Veterans Day

    During Veterans Day weekend we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate our veterans and the Nation they courageously serve. From enjoying a national park to spending the afternoon with a veteran, there are many way to acknowledge their service and sacrifice. Here are our top five ways to commemorate Veterans Day.

    1. Find a Vets Day Community Celebration Near You

    Communities across the U.S. will be celebrating Veterans Day through ceremonies, celebrations, and activities. These events are great for the entire family, and are an excellent opportunity to commemorate and learn more about the service of our veterans. Use this map to locate a Veterans Day activity near you.

    President Barack Obama participates in a Memorial Day wreath laying (5/27/13)

    President Barack Obama participates in a Memorial Day wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    2. Take Part in a Service Opportunity Near You

    Completing community service in honor of our veterans and their families is a great way to show your support and appreciation.  There are many ways to show your appreciation; you can send a message of thanks, pledge to complete community service in their honor, or start a volunteer project

    The First Lady and Dr. Biden paint a wall in the home of Sgt. Johnny Agbi, Jr.

    The First Lady and Dr. Biden paint a wall in the home of Sgt. Johnny Agbi, Jr., left, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2011.

    3. Get Outdoors and Explore!

    Invite a veteran or a military family to explore a national park or our public lands. Admission is free for all visitors this weekend in honor of Veterans Day. Being outside helps improve physical and mental health, boosts emotional wellbeing, and of course, is fun! Learn more about this opportunity by clicking here.

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have a chance encounter with other hikers

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have a chance encounter with other hikers while walking along a trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville, N.C., April 23, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    4. Explore our Nation’s Capital

    lf you’re in Washington, DC this weekend, visit the National Archives Museum  to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights that are the foundation of the Nation that our veterans serve and protect. Visit some of the beautiful memorials or Arlington National Cemetery to pay homage to our veterans and learn more about the history of how and why they served. 

    President Barack Obama walks past the statue of President Lincoln

    President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton walk past the statue of President Lincoln to participate in the ceremony on the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. August 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    5. Visit a Library

    Use the library to read about the importance of military service and what our veterans have done for our country. You can also read personal accounts of American war veterans through the Veteran’s History Project

    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)

  • First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden Thank Our Military

    In a new Public Service Announcement for HISTORY’s Take a Veteran to School Day, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden encouraged all Americans to take a moment this Veterans Day to thank a military service member or a veteran for his or her sacrifice to our country.

    “Our veterans have done so much for our country and through programs like HISTORY’s Take a Veteran to School Day, you all have the opportunity to welcome these heroes into your classrooms and communities, hear their stories and give them a heartfelt thank you for their continued contribution to our nation,” explained Dr. Jill Biden.

    From a big initiative to a simple thank you, there are many ways to show your appreciation -- and they're things you can do right now:

    Our veterans have given so much to keep us safe -- now it’s our turn to honor them.

    To learn more about supporting our veterans visit JoiningForces.gov, like Joining Forces on Facebook and follow @JoiningForces on Twitter. 

    Rory Brosius is the Director of Joining Forces

  • 60 New Companies Commit to Hiring Military Spouses

    Yesterday, I had the honor of attending the Fall 2013 Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)  Induction Ceremony.  At the event, 60 corporations, small businesses and other organizations were officially inducted as MSEP partners.  Induction to MSEP means that these corporate partners are joining a network of over 200 organizations committed to helping military spouses find and maintain employment, increasing access to education and training, and providing career exploration opportunities.

    As a military spouse, I too have struggled with career continuity.  Many moves, unexpected orders, and short assignments can often impede a spouse’s ability to build their ideal career.  Joining Forces and spouses like me would like to thank MSEP and the MSEP Partners for expanding employment and career development opportunities for the military spouse community.

  • SBA Kicks Off Veterans Small Business Week- Helping Those Who Have Served

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the Small Business Administration blog. See the original post here.

    Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have served our country. At the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), we work day in and day out on programs to serve our nation’s veterans as they look to start or grow a business. Today, I’m excited to kick off Veterans Small Business Week, being held from November 4 to 11 this year in the lead up to Veterans Day on November 11.

    This is an initiative on the part of the Small Business Administration to reach out to veteran entrepreneurs and business owners. During Veterans Small Business Week, SBA staff all across the country will be working with partner organizations on educational efforts, mentoring, and trainings to make sure veterans have the tools they need to start or grow their business. We’ll be making sure veterans know about our entrepreneurship training and mentorship opportunities, and assist veteran-owned small businesses as they connect with potential customers. 

  • Military Children Trick-or-Treat at the White House

    Trick or Treat JF

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hand out Halloween treats to local children and children of military families are trick-or treating at the South Portico of the White House, Oct. 31, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    After holding a closed press roundtable with military spouses yesterday afternoon, First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Halloween by inviting military parents and their children to trick-or-treat at the White House. The White House, adorned with giant spiders and cobwebs, glowed orange while the President and First Lady passed out packages of candy, dried fruit and White House cookies to the children.

    Yesterday’s activities were a chance to show military kids how much the country appreciates the sacrifices they make while their parents are serving. As the First Lady has said, their strength and resilience is amazing and an inspiration to us all. To show support and thank our nation’s youngest heroes, Mrs. Obama has made inviting military children to participate in festivities a tradition at the White House.

    “When we talk about how our men and women in uniform sacrifice so much and serve this country so bravely, we’re not just talking about your parents,” said Mrs. Obama. “We’re talking about our military kids and our military families, because we know that when your parents are called to serve, you all serve right alongside them.”

    On average, most military children will attend six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade. These moves can make it difficult to transfer records, secure spaces in courses, stay included in extra-curricular activities, and complete required testing on time. On top of this, many children experience frequent, multiple deployments of their parents. Despite these challenges, the selflessness and courage of military children are a shining example of service to our country.

    Colonel Rich Morales is Executive Director of Joining Forces