First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden invited dozens of luminaries and officials to the White House today to celebrate the first anniversary of Joining Forces, an initiative “to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and serve our nation’s veterans and military families.” BBB was among the many military, government and private sector organizations represented. Other speakers were Tom Brokow and General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Among the highlights of the first year’s efforts:
- Employment – Connecting businesses and nonprofits with veterans and military spouses was a key goal of Joining Forces. Already, more than 50,000 have been hired, with pledges to add another 160,000 jobs in the years ahead. The First Lady and Dr. Biden also called on the states to pass legislation making it easier for military spouses to transfer professional licenses.
- Education – Joining Forces worked with schools and nonprofits to bring more rigorous classes such as Advanced Placement math and science classes to public high schools that serve military communities. Participating schools have seen a 57% increased in qualifying scores on AP exams. Dr. Biden, a community college professor, is working with higher education to implement best practices to improve learning outcomes for veterans.
- Wellness – Major medical associations and organizations committed to training future physicians on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. In addition, associations have committed to train more than 3 million health professionals – nurses, physicians assistants, psychologists, social workers and therapists – to effectively care for military families and veterans.