This year’s Veteran’s Day brings good news for those affected by the nation’s employment crisis. On the heels of the Senate’s passing of a bill aimed at stimulating veteran employment, First Lady Michelle Obama also announced Thursday that she has received commitments from U.S. companies to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014.
In an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Obama spoke confidently about the push to provide the nation’s veterans with more employment opportunities as a part of the Joining Forces initiative, spearheaded by Obama and the vice president's wife, Jill Biden.
"That's 100,000 veterans and spouses who will have the security of a paycheck and good career," she said of the plan that includes a commitment to hire at least 5,000 wounded veterans. "That's thousands of families that can rest just a little bit easier every night."
The Joining Forces initiative aims to motivate citizens, businesses, nonprofits and community groups to do more to support military families. Since its inception in April, it has helped employ 16,000 veterans and spouses, and pledges to hire an additional 25,000.
Veterans make up 7.7 percent of the total U.S. workforce and the government has increasingly stepped up efforts to ensure their employment in the midst of the dismal national rate of unemployment. In 2010, the unemployment rate for veterans was 8.7 percent.
“No veteran who fought for our nation should have to fight for a job when they come home, and I urge the House to pass these tax credits as well so I can sign them into law,” said President Obama in response to the passage of the Returning Heroes Tax Credit Thursday .
While veterans as a whole are feeling the crunch of the jobs crisis, Black veterans are faring worse than the average. According to a Department of Labor report released last week, Black veterans, who make up only 11.9 percent of the entire veteran labor force, accounted for 17.5 percent of overall veteran unemployment in 2010.
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