First lady Michelle Obama today is expected to make her first appearance on a presidential bus tour, joining her husband at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia to make an announcement about jobs for military veterans and their spouses.
The first lady is scheduled to unveil a commitment by the American Logistics Association, a trade group of 270 private companies, to hire 25,000 veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013, administration officials say.
Among the ALA members participating in the pledge are ConAgra Foods, which has vowed to hire 3,000 veterans, Prime Team Services, which will add 1,250, and Tysons Foods, which will also recruit an undisclosed number of veteran workers.
Pat Nixon, president of ALA, said most of the jobs are in on-base retail facilities, such as grocery and wholesale stores, gas stations, convenience stores, recreation facilities and day care centers.
“Much of this is an awareness of opportunities as much as anything else,” Nixon said.
Officials called the announcement the “largest coordinated effort by the private sector to date to hire veterans and spouses.” It’s one quarter of the goal set by President Obama on Aug. 5 when he urged businesses to hire 100,000 veterans and spouses by the end of 2013.
To date, 12,000 veterans and spouses have been hired under the Obama initiative, according to Bradley Cooper, executive director of the Joining Forces, which is spearheaded by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to raise awareness about the special needs of veterans and military families.
“The message for businesses is we want to ensure that these talented veterans and spouses have the opportunities they deserve, and that businesses understand that value that veterans and spouses bring,” Cooper said.
“They’ve completed over the last 10 years incredibly complex missions with high stakes and an incredible number of variables … that would make most people’s heads spin. They’re trained in state-of-the-art technologies, they managed dozens and in some cases hundreds of people,” he said. “It makes good business sense for them to be hired and positively impact a company’s bottom line.”