Joining Forces Blog

  • Helping Military Families Protect Themselves from Buyer's Remorse

    Editor's Note: This post was originally published on as a part of a series for National Consumer Protection Week.

    Have you ever bought something online and clicked the box that says “accept” without having any idea of what you’re actually accepting? Or maybe you looked at the fine print but it didn’t make any sense.

    Or, you sit in an office with a salesperson who has a stack of paperwork for a product you’re financing. They give you a two-minute explanation of what it all means and ask if you have any questions. You say “no” because it’s embarrassing to say that you didn’t understand what they just said. And when they say “sign here” you do it. Congratulations! You’ve just bought an iPad for… $3,600?!!

    So, what can servicemembers do when they’re confused at signing time?

    If you can’t make heads or tails of a contract, take it to someone who can: your installation Personal Financial Manager or JAG. If the seller doesn’t want to give you a copy of the contract before you sign, that’s a red flag; so is pressure to sign it “right now, while the offer is still available!&rdquo Don’t be afraid to step away and say you want to take time to think the purchase over.

  • Renewing the National Commitment to Putting America’s Heroes Back to Work

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden addressed the National Governors Association today, and renewed their call on governors to do their part putting America’s heroes back to work, and to serve our military veterans and spouses as well as they’ve served us. The First Lady’s remarks are a call to action – building on President Obama’s June 2012 announcement of the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force – setting a goal that by the end of 2015, all 50 states will have taken legislative or executive action to help our troops get the credentials they need to successfully transition to the civilian labor market.

    The remarks by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden coincide with a new report by the Executive Office of the President that details the barriers veterans and their families face as they seek employment, the Administration’s commitment to help them leverage their skills to good, meaningful jobs and the progress that has already been made.

  • First Lady Michelle Obama Challenges Governors of all 50 States to Ease Service Members' Transition to Civilian Work Force

    Too often the talented men and women who have served our country face barriers that make it difficult to find jobs that capitalize on the skills they have gained through their military education and experience. Many service members and veterans are required to repeat education or training in order to receive industry certifications and state occupational licenses, even though much, and in some cases, all, of their military training and experience overlaps with credential requirements.

    The members of our Armed Forces and their families make great sacrifices, and when their service is concluded, we owe it to our veterans and their families to help them accomplish a successful transition to the civilian labor force. That is why over the past year and a half, President Obama has taken significant action to create a “career-ready military” and streamline the transition process.

    Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden highlighted the work that has been done across the country to change laws that require military spouses to attain new credentials when they move to a new state, and challenged the governors of all 50 states to take legislative or executive action to help our troops get the credentials they need by the end of 2015. Speaking to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room, Mrs. Obama talked about the pressing need to take action and fulfill our responsibilities to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much over the past decade:

    In the coming years, more than one million service members will make the transition to civilian life. 

    Think about that – a million people hanging up their uniforms… figuring out what’s next… and doing everything they can to make that change as seamless as possible for their families.

    So the fact is, while this time of war may be ending, our responsibilities to our troops and their families will only be ramping  up.

    And that’s what I want to talk to you about today—how we can fulfill what is perhaps our most pressing responsibility to our troops: making sure that when they come home, they can find a job—and not just any job, but a good job, a job they can raise a family on.

  • Dr. Jill Biden Thanks British Military Veterans and their Families for their Service and Sacrifice

    Dr. Jill Biden Addresses a Help for Heroes Reception at the US Embassy in London, Feb 5, 2013

    Dr. Jill Biden welcomes British military veterans and their families at a reception for Wounded Warriors at Winfield House in London, England and thanks them for their service, sacrifice, and dedication. (by JP Evans/US Embassy)

    Dr. Jill Biden today met with Wounded Warriors at a reception for British military veterans and their families at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in London, England, and she thanked them for their service, sacrifice and dedication. America's Second Lady highlighted the unbreakable bonds between the US and British troops, who have served alongside one another for the past ten years, in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

    Vice President and Dr. Biden have been travelling this week in Europe, where the Vice President has met with leaders in Germany, France and the United Kingdom. At today's reception, Dr. Biden talked about the people she has visited with over the past few days, including Wounded Warriors and medical staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and soldiers and their families at a US Army base in Germany:

    With each visit, I am reminded that our service members and their families have done so much for us … and we can all do something in return.

    That spirit is what fuels the Joining Forces initiative the First Lady and I started to support and honor our troops and military families.

    And I am very pleased to not only visit with some of the heroes that make the British military so strong, but also all the organizations here that support them.

    I know that over the past 10 years, you have all worked so hard to improve the lives of the men and women who have sacrificed so much. It is your dedication and support that has made all the difference for so many veterans and their families.


  • Targeted Career Advice for Military Spouses in the Pacific Northwest

    I am always impressed by the work that our incredible military support organizations do to make the lives of our force and families better. Like many other great organizations, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is taking action to improve the lives of military families because they understand the difficulties and hardships that our families willingly face in the shared service to our nation. MOAA knows that one key source of psychological and material wellbeing for any family is gainful, purposeful employment. This is particularly true of our military spouses.

    This week more than 200 military spouses in the Pacific Northwest are preparing for the Military Officers Association of America’s (MOAA) 7th annual Military Spouse Symposium, “Keeping a Career on the Move” on February 8, 2013 at the University of Washington Tacoma, Phillip Hall. The event is free and open to all military spouses - all ranks, active duty, retired, Reserve and National Guard. Service members and veterans are also welcome. And there’s still time to register.

  • The Posse Foundation Selects First Cohort of Veterans for College Success Program

    Battle buddies aren’t just for the Army. For the past quarter century, The Posse Foundation has been identifying talented students from large urban public school systems and sending them in teams (Posses) to some of the top colleges and universities in the nation. Since 1989, close to 5,000 students have received $500,000,000 in scholarships from Posse’s 44 partner colleges and universities. These young people are graduating at a rate of 90 percent.

    In an effort to increase the college-going and graduation rates of veterans at highly selective colleges and universities across the country, The Posse Foundation, in partnership with Vassar College joined forces to announce its Veterans Posse Program, a new college success initiative. Posse plans to expand this initiative to other colleges and other cities over the next several years. 

    By adapting the Posse model to serve U.S. Veterans, Posse believes that it can exponentially increase the college-going rates and success of veterans on elite college campuses. Vassar College has committed to adopting the program on its campus and will supplement GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon funding to guarantee full tuition for each admitted veteran. Posse, using its unique recruitment method, will each year identify, recruit and train the veterans. The Veterans Posse will attend college together and receive support from both Posse and Vassar through to graduation.   

    This year’s recipients have demonstrated exceptional leadership and remind us of the immense value that veterans can bring to selective institutions of higher education and to the workforce.