WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama announced Tuesday that companies participating in a program to help veterans find work have hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses since August 2011, nearly tripling the original goal of the program with about eight months to spare.
Obama said Tuesday that the Joining Forces program has also generated pledges from businesses to hire or train 435,000 more in the next five years.
The new hiring projections came at a White House event with veterans and company executives that also featured President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The president said too many companies still don’t recognize the skills that service members acquire during their military service. If they can saves live on the battlefield, they can work in an ambulance or hospital, and if they can oversee a convoy of equipment, they can help oversee a company’s supply chain, he said.
“Too often, just when these men and women are looking forward to the next chapter of their lives, they are stuck in neutral,” the president said.
Overall, the unemployment rate for veterans is actually lower than that for non-veterans. The nation’s youngest veterans are the exception to that longstanding trend, with nearly one out of five under the age of 25 looking for a job.