Joining Forces Gives Vets More Work Opportunities

11 May

Thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama, more vets may soon be able to find work. Mrs. Obama is leading the “Joining Forces Initiative,” which aims to encourage more private sector companies to hire vets. AT&T has already jumped on board, promising to hire 5,000 new vets within the coming five years.

The best part of AT&T’s new plan is the fact that it provides a website which helps vets match their unique skill set to a job they would be best suited for. For vets, one of the hardest parts of getting back to “normal” life can be finding a job because neither they nor employers always know which jobs and skills to best utilize.

Programs like Joining Forces are becoming more popular these days. Blackstone Group plans to hire 50,000 vets in the next five years. “Men and women who have served our country, often on foreign soil, sadly find a struggling economy and fewer jobs upon their return,” said CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Blackstone has a portfolio of 80 companies and over 730,000 employees.

Veterans are now finding more work with programs like Vets @ Work and Joining forces. Image: U.S. Coast Guard /Petty Officer 2nd Class Annie Elis

Veterans are now finding more work with programs like Vets @ Work and Joining forces.
Image: U.S. Coast Guard /Petty Officer 2nd Class Annie Elis

Private equity company KKR, led by George Roberts and Henry Kravis, already has a program aimed at hiring vets. “Vets @ Work” was set up in 2011 and works to hire more veterans into KKR’s portfolio of more than 900,000 total employees.

According to Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, members of the military who served after 9/11 have an unemployment rate of about 1.6% higher than the average American (9.2% compared to 7.6%). And for vets aged 18-24, the unemployment rate is about 33%.

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson praised Mrs. Obama for her initiative in getting vets back to work saying, “It’s wonderful that Mrs. Obama has taken up the cause of those who have served our country so well,” adding, “All of us at AT&T are happy to respond to her call.”

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