Joining Forces Blog

  • Minnesota Passes Legislation That Supports Military Families

    Joining Forces applauds Minnesota for recently passing legislation to support veterans and military families – and for becoming the 48th state to join the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children as a full member.  

    In May, Governor Mark Dayton signed the “Joining Forces for Jobs” Act, which helps military families by making it easier for veterans and military spouses to gain occupational licensure in Minnesota. When military spouses who hold professional certifications in other states move to Minnesota, they will be able to get temporary professional licenses while pursuing their certifications from Minnesota. This will help reduce unemployment or underemployment of military spouses in Minnesota due to the bureaucratic hurdles involved with moving from out of state.

    The Minnesota State Legislature also enacted major updates to its education policy, which includes provisions that will make a positive impact in the lives of military families. Teachers with a current license from another state will now be able to obtain a temporary license. Legislation regarding license portability is critical because 35% of military spouses have careers that require professional licenses or certifications, and these spouses are 10 times more likely to move across state lines than their civilian counterparts.  

  • SBA Announces Boots to Business: Reboot

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

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) will host Boots to Business: Reboot, an entrepreneurship training course for Veterans in twelve cities across the U.S. Each event, led by SBA Resource Partners and industry experts from Syracuse University’s Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF), will host up to 100 Veterans for a two-day Introduction to Entrepreneurship class.

    Boots to Business: Reboot, will introduce veterans to the fundamentals of business ownership, and lead participants through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and developing a business plan. The program will also introduce participating Veterans to a network of lifetime business support available locally across the U.S. by introducing them to SBA’s network of Veteran Business Outreach Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and SCORE Counselors.

    Boots to Business: Reboot will adapt the curriculum from the SBA-sponsored Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, a worldwide program offered as a component of the Department of Defense’s redesigned Transition Assistance Program (TAP) renamed Transition GPS. The curriculum, developed to introduce transitioning service members to business ownership and connecting them to resources in their local communities, will now be available to more than 22 million Veterans who have already transitioned into civilian life.

  • The President Commemorates the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the White House Blog. See the original post here.

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    Earlier today — the last day of his current trip across Europe — President Obama traveled to Normandy, France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

    After meeting with World War II and post-9/11 U.S. veterans, the President attended the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach. In his remarks, he paid tribute to the American and Allied forces who fought during the D-Day landings in June of 1944.

    "I’m honored to return here today to pay tribute to the men and women of a generation who defied every danger -- among them, our veterans of D-Day," President Obama said. He went on to thank the people of France for their generosity to Americans who have come "over the generations — to these beaches, and to this sacred place of rest for 9,387 Americans."

  • Every Hero Deserves a Home

    Every Hero Deserves a Home

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Official Blog. You can find the original post here.

    No one who has served America in uniform should go without a safe, stable place to call home. When HUD released its annual Homeless Assessment Report in 2013 it was estimated that roughly 58,000 veterans—enough to fill Dodger stadium—were homeless on any given night across the country. Though that figure represented an 8 percent decline in veteran homelessness from 2012, the number of veterans sleeping on the streets remains simply unacceptable.

    And while veteran homelessness has fallen 24 percent since 2010, there’s so much more to be done as we work to end veteran homelessness completely by the end of 2015. That’s why on Wednesday, June 4, First Lady Michelle Obama, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, announced the creation of the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

    During the announcement at the East Room of the White House, Secretary Donovan said, “Over the years we’ve proven we can house anyone. Now, our charge is to house everyone."

  • The First Lady Announces the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

    First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at event to announce the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

    First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at event to announce, as part of the Joining Forces initiative, the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, in the East Room of the White House, June 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Today, at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015.

    Joined by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson, and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, the First Lady announced the nationwide challenge, which already has the commitment of 77 mayors, 4 county commissioners, and 4 governors to help meet this goal.

    Over the last three years, there has been a remarkable 24 percent decrease in homeless veterans, but with 58,000 homeless veterans across the nation, more still needs to be done. The Mayors Challenge will help us get there by involving federal, state, local and community organizations in this “eminently solvable problem.”

  • First Lady Michelle Obama Participates in Ceremony for New U.S. Navy Submarine -- Illinois

    First Lady Michelle Obama Participates In Ceremony For New US Navy Submarine – ILLINOIS

    As official sponsor of the future USS ILLINOIS, the First Lady inscribed her initials onto a steel plate to be welded as an enduring reminder of her special connection with the submarine and its crew.

    Today, in Rhode Island, First Lady Michelle Obama participated in a keel-laying ceremony of a new U.S. Navy submarine called the Illinois. She is the official sponsor of the USS Illinois and has chosen her daughters, Malia and Sasha, to be her maids of honor. In this traditional role, the maids of honor lend symbolic support to the sponsor in her ceremonial duties.

    The keel-laying ceremony is the first of three ceremonial events that mark the milestones during a submarine’s construction. It is the ceremonial start of construction for the submarine and gives the sponsor the first chance to see the submarine under construction and meet her crew. During the event, the First Lady's initials were welded onto a steel plate which will be mounted on to the submarine where it will remain permanently mounted.

    As the sponsor, the First Lady is participating in one of the Navy’s oldest and most hallowed traditions. Sponsors are selected to instill their spirit into the heart of a Navy warship. Additionally, the sponsor is the ceremonial link between the submarine, her crew, and the submarine’s namesake.

    In her remarks as the sponsor of the Illinois, the First Lady highlighted the service and sacrifice that all Navy submariners and their families have made for our great Nation.

    Commander Cara LaPointe, U.S. Navy, is a White House Fellow in the Office of the First Lady.