Joining Forces Blog
- Posted byon March 26, 2012 at 5:20 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon March 21, 2012 at 11:01 AM EDT
Military spouses are known for our toughness. For our ability to be resilient. We can turn a house full of all white walls somehow into a home. We can cheer up a child when they don’t understand why their daddy can’t be home on their birthday. We are a tough group and we are resilient. All we ask for in return is for understanding, respect, and an occasional “thank you”.
To receive that thank you from Michelle Obama is quite the honor. I had the great opportunity to meet her last Friday with a delegation of military families and organizations from Minnesota. Mrs. Obama graciously spent close to an hour with me and seven other individuals to try to learn more about how our state supports military families and to find out what more can be done with her Joining Forces initiative.
She thanked us for the sacrifices that we have made as families of deployed soldiers. She told a young man of 13 years whose father was about to deploy that our nation’s military kids are courageous and have earned our gratitude. She held the hand of a mother who lost her young son in Afghanistan. But, above all, she listened intently. She genuinely wanted to know what she and Dr. Jill Biden could do with their initiative to somehow give back to those who have given the most for our nation.
When talking about what military families and children go through, Mrs. Obama said, “We've got 1 percent of this country serving and sacrificing on behalf of the other 99 percent of us. That can be a daunting position to be in. And a lot of times America just doesn't understand the struggles. ... We take it for granted because you all handle and shoulder the burden so well.”
- Posted byon March 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM EDT
More than 67,000 veterans spent one night homeless, living in emergency shelters, transitional housing units or on the streets in 2011, according to last year's "point in time" count conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
It's not always easy for volunteers and outreach workers to know where to send them to get help. That's why the VA is excited to launch a competition to provide easy access to resources that the homeless need, when they need them, and where they can get them.
Project REACH (Real-Time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) challenges applicants to make a free, easy-to-use, and broadly accessible web- and Smartphone app to provide current and up-to-date information about housing and shelter, health clinics, food banks, and other services available to the homeless. It is designed to tap the enormous talent and deep compassion of the nation's developer community to help us deliver vital information to the people who care for the homeless.
People caring for homeless veterans will be able to use this app to look up the location and availability of shelters, free clinics, and other social services - and instantaneously be able to share this critical information with those in need.
- Posted byon March 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM EDT
Earlier this month, I joined with a company called Orion International and 12 private sector companies in Ft Hood, Texas, one of America’s largest military bases, for one reason: to hire American Soldiers transitioning out of the world’s greatest Army.
These companies included: Allied Wire, HESS, Kansas City Southern Railway, Schlumberger, NOV, US Bank, USES, Dollar General, Honeywell, Siemens, Marathon and McCormick.
The event was full of excitement, education – and “win-win” opportunities for both the companies involved, as well as transitioning soldiers, some of whom were just weeks away from leaving the Army after having served our nation during a time of war.
With America hiring once again, events such as these are being seen more and more around the country – and for good reason: employers recognize the value of hiring veterans.
As Dave Ebbrecht, Executive Vice President for Kansas City Southern Railway, put it: “It was an absolutely great event with very good candidates, in every rank … capable of filling a variety of different positions for our company, and we ended up hiring 22 veterans from this event.”
That’s 22 Soldiers hired by one company… in one day… and 35 Soldiers have already been offered jobs. More than 100 soldiers are in some phase of an interview process.
- Posted byon March 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon March 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM EDT
Jordan Cobb is the son of a Marine who has selflessly served our country for nineteen years. Last fall, Jordan began his freshman year at St. Johns University in New York, and he credits the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation with making it possible for his family to pay for college. He recently wrote to the Scholarship Foundation about his experiences throughout his father’s service, and how his father’s military career has inspired his desire to achieve his own dreams, particularly graduating from college. Jordan writes, “It has been a challenge to maintain good grades having attended four elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools. As well as the distraction of being a bit frightened at times while my dad was gone for long periods of time training and deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan.”
His letter thanked the organization for “recognizing how important and appreciated the sacrifices that military members make for our country are.” The Scholarship Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen, with particular attention given to those whose parent has been killed or wounded in combat, or who have demonstrated financial need. Organizations like these are an important part of Joining Forces’ mission to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
Joining Forces recognizes that children of military families face particular hurdles to education due to frequent moves and the stress of their parents’ multiple deployments. For many, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the bridge between possibility and reality for achieving their educational goals.
And achieve they do. Jordan is one of 1,636 sons and daughters of Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have received scholarships from the Scholarship Foundation this year. These remarkable students – 46% of whom are the first in their families to achieve a bachelor’s degree – graduate in 4 years at a rate of 79% (compared to the national average of 31%). 70% of them maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout their academic careers.
Jordan is a first-time recipient of an award from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and the organization looks forward to funding him throughout his pursuit of his dreams. He is aiming high, and writes, “I am confident through hard work and continued academic success that I will find a way to fund the rest of my years at St. Johns University and will be a proud graduate of the class of 2015.” In supporting Jordan’s pursuit of his degree, the Scholarship Foundation is also helping him to become part of our nation’s next generation of leaders and heroes – the least they can do to honor Jordan and his family’s years of dedicated and selfless service to our country.
Learn more about the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, or how your child can apply for a scholarship, please visit www.mcsf.org.
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