Joining Forces Blog
- Posted byon July 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM EDT
Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Military Line, is privileged to partner with The McGraw-Hill Companies, in support of Joining Forces work on military financial literacy and readiness. In mid-July, we are launching a landing page on McGraw Hill’s “Making Change Now” financial literacy website and will also include an associated smart phone application expressly for military consumers.
Nearly 70 percent of Active Duty military and 51 percent of National Guard and Reserves are 30 years or younger. Many receive a steady paycheck for the first time in their lives and often lack sound financial experience… ultimately leading to bad decisions when managing their finances. Personal financial distractions can spell all sorts of trouble with broad ramifications for military readiness. Given mobility and relative unpredictability of the military life style, financial problems are often tipping points in a service member’s family and professional health.
There are many options in the area of sound financial advice available to our military - leaders, mentors, relatives, and financial professionals. A few valuable online resources available to service members include SaveandInvest.org, Military Saves, Military OneSource, and Financial Literacy Now. All provide basic principles of money management. Military members living near or on a military installation have access to a personal financial manager who provides guidance and education. Also, every service has a non-profit “Financial Relief Agency” that is responsible for providing emergency financial assistance to their respective service. They are- Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Relief Society, and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.
- Posted byon July 11, 2012 at 11:57 AM EDT
In just 10 days, more than 200,000 Americans stepped up to show their support for our nation’s Veterans. They did it from their desks at the office, on their patios with laptops on their knees, and with their mobile phones on the street. How? They engaged with the new Make the Connection Facebook page—the fastest-growing Facebook community ever created in the military sphere. You can join them, too.
While it doesn’t take much to “like” a Facebook page and start talking with other supporters, it can result in enormous good. Everyone in the expanding network of Make the Connection supporters is spreading the word that resources and support are available for Veterans and their loved ones who are facing mental health or other life challenges.
With every like, post, and share, users are helping millions of former Servicemembers understand that for issues ranging from PTSD to depression to problems with alcohol or drugs, treatment is available, and treatment works. They are helping the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) better serve those who served our country.
VA first launched the Make the Connection campaign in November 2011 to introduce Veterans and their families and friends to resources, support, and fellow Veterans like them who found treatment and tools for healthier living. Hundreds of Veterans, and the people who are closest to them, have already shared their stories of facing and overcoming challenges, creating a vast video library that viewers can access at MakeTheConnection.net. Scores of additional Veterans are sharing their stories as the campaign continues, offering their experiences to help those they served with in flight, on base, and in foxholes.
Their efforts are resonating with Veterans across the country. So far, supporters have watched these stories of Veterans’ strength and resilience more than 2 million times. And thousands of visitors have used the website’s resource locator to find treatment options for Veterans and their families near where they live.
- Posted byon July 10, 2012 at 5:51 PM EDT
The 100,000 Jobs Mission – a coalition of 55 companies committed to hiring 100,000 veterans by 2020 – is partnering with federal, state and local leaders to host a hiring event in Chicago this Thursday, July 12, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The event will feature 80 employers and more than 1,500 employment opportunities. These companies are looking to hire transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses for jobs ranging from entry-level to managerial positions in the Chicago area and across the country.
Candidates are encouraged to register and upload their resumes ahead of time and should come prepared for same-day interviews – and even same-day offers. With more than 12,000 veterans hired in the 100,000 Jobs Mission’s first 12 months, these employers are committed to the long-term success of veteran employment and are among the 2,100 companies throughout America who have hired veterans and military spouses through Joining Forces in the last year.
- Posted byon July 5, 2012 at 6:10 PM EDT
Last week, I had the privilege of joining the leadership of the Department of Veterans Affairs and thousands of veterans in Detroit for the largest veteran hiring fair in America this year.
The result: More than 1,300 veterans have already been offered jobs… and the process is still ongoing.
This extraordinary effort builds on the 90,000 veterans and military spouses that have been hired in the last year through First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative.
Job opportunities were available well beyond Detroit, with more than 200 employers across private and government sectors participating in the three day event. Veterans like Charles Emerson, who served in Afghanistan, came to Detroit seeking employment opportunities. Emerson drove all the way from Virginia and, after interviewing with a VA Medical Center in Wisconsin, was offered a job starting in September.
- Posted byon July 3, 2012 at 11:44 AM EDT
As we celebrate the 4th of July, we celebrate our patriotism and the millions who have shown their love of country by wearing the uniform. There are a few Veterans among us -- 16,000 so far -- who came home and volunteered for a second time and served their communities though AmeriCorps.
As announced by Dr. Jill Biden at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service last month, Nearly 1,000 new AmeriCorps Members will serve by and for veterans and military families in 2012. On average, they will bring along another forty volunteers with them, who combined, will Join Forces to give more than 2 million hours of service to the veteran and military families of America over the course of their service year.
I visited one of the winning grantees, a new VetCorps, The AmeriCorps Veterans Justice Corps last month. I sat down with a fellow combat veteran and a medic, who has committed her time to helping veterans re-integrate into society after a run-in with the legal system.
Amber Hale is a soft spoken, but direct no-nonsense veteran. She was as clear about her motivations for serving her community in Minnesota, as she was about serving in Iraq.
“When I was in Iraq, I was a medic. I helped to put people back together, to help make them well and whole again … when I came home I wanted to do the same thing, so I joined AmeriCorps. Now I work with veterans who took a wrong turn, and wound up in the criminal justice system,” said Amber “When these Veterans are ready to come home they will know that another Veteran is standing on the other side waiting to help them put their lives back together ... that’s why I chose to serve again.”
- Posted byon June 26, 2012 at 4:32 PM EDT
Earlier today in Chicago, I had the wonderful privilege of joining First Lady Michelle Obama and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn as the Governor signed into law the “Military Family Licensing Act,” which will help literally thousands of military spouses and veterans transfer their professional licenses to Illinois more easily.
Were you to tell me last year that we’d be standing in Illinois – or any other state for that matter – with the First Lady and witnessing the Governor signing a bill supporting military spouse license portability, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible
Well, we’re beyond possible in Illinois, license portability for military spouses is now… the law.
Here’s the story of how we got here and what it means.
The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden spoke to the nation’s Governors and their spouses in February about how they could support military spouses by making it easier for their licenses to transfer as they move from state to state.
You can appreciate that there are hundreds of issues that the First Lady and Dr. Biden could have addressed but they focused on supporting our nation’s military spouses and in this case the 100,000 military spouses in the country who serve in professions that require state licenses.
Back in February, only 11 states had pro-spouse legislation in-place.
Today, Illinois became the 23rd state to adopt pro-military spouse license portability measures. The Bill will allow military spouses moving to bases in Illinois, for example, to more quickly and efficiently join the work force. So if your husband or wife gets orders and you’re heading to Naval Station Great Lakes to train the next generation of young sailors at “Boot Camp” and you’re a nurse – or your spouse got orders to Scott Air Force Base to help manage the issues of global logistics and you’re a physical therapist ----- your life just got a LOT better.
This leap of support from around the country is truly extraordinary– in less than 4 months since the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s call to action, the number of states supporting military spouse licensing portability has more than doubled.
That’s a huge leap – particularly because the issue of license portability is not new – it’s decades old. I’m an Army brat and I remember my parents talking about this when I was a kid. And this issue affects dozens of professions who are impacted including teachers, nurses, speech pathologists, dental hygienists, physical therapists, counselors, and so many more.
So whether it’s bringing companies together to hire military spouses or breaking down barriers to employment, every spouse in this country should know that America has your back. So as you serve this country, we’ll continue to work hard and serve you – and we won’t stop until you feel the thanks of a grateful nation.
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