Joining Forces Blog

  • 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.

  • 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.