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First lady announces military job initiative

POSTED: April 10, 2012 8:27 a.m.

First lady Michelle Obama

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First lady Michelle Obama announced Wednesday a new component of the Joining Forces initiative that aims to provide 15,000 jobs to military spouses and veterans by 2014.

During a media conference call, Joining Forces Executive Director Capt. Brad Cooper said the overall initiative is to recognize, honor and support veterans, service members and their families.

"Today, 11 companies are coming together to pledge more than 15,000 jobs for military spouses," Obama said. "And the vast majority of these jobs are ones that the spouses can do at home from anywhere in the country."

The bulk of the jobs are in customer service, health care and telecommunications, with varying advancement opportunities, Cooper said. The jobs range from entry-level to management.

"We’re trying to meet these spouses where they are …," Obama said. "Whatever comes up in life along the way, these types of jobs will help give them the kind of flexibility and portability they’ll need to succeed not just in their careers, but in the rest of their lives as well."

The job opportunities will be integrated with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, or MSEP, a Department of Defense-led effort launched last summer with more than 100 private-sector companies.

Locally, companies have engaged in a similar effort: soliciting jobs through the Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces.

In October, Georgia Army Reserve Ambassador Luis Carreras met with industrial leaders on several occasions to educate them about the military-related workforce and using the EPAF to find them.

Firth Rixson Forgings, Target, the city of Midway and SNF Holding Company now are among the companies with a Liberty County presence listed as partners on the site.

While he is still recruiting for the EPAF, Carreras said that the DoD is consolidating all of the partnerships and databases into one to expand the reach for each individual and partner company. It will operate under the name Hero 2 Hired and will be integrated into transition training, though Carreras said there is no confirmed date for the merge.

"They’re taken out of the mainstream, so it’s important to bring them back," he said about the need to provide jobs for spouses and veterans. "They have to have a door, which the average person living in the community already has, because they’ve been living there."

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