UNEMPLOYMENT / NOV. 18, 2014
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Michelle Obama Highlights Employment Challenges Female Veterans Face

"You’ve got to show off a little bit," said the first lady during a Veterans Day eve speech Monday 10, which was held in Virginia at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Michelle Obama was speaking directly to the female veterans present at the career development forum.

Her main agenda that day was to emphasize the employment struggles that service women face after leaving the military for the civilian life.

Attended by 200 guests, the career event was inspired by Obama’s involvement with military program Joining Forces, which helps give support to military families and service members.  

Redbook and The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation hosted the event. It involved an award show and skill development workshops.

Guest speakers included cosmetics entrepreneur Bobbi Brown, who gave pointers on how to manage a business, and the editors of Redbook.

Redbook in particular was a very significant part of the event since Obama teamed up with the publication this month for a cover photo. A story included in this month’s issue also featured five female veterans who had the chance to share their employment experiences with Obama while visiting the White House.

With all the helpful information shared at the career event, Obama’s speech was the highlight of the day.

She touched on how devastating it is for most women to find work after leaving the armed services.

“Last month, the unemployment rate for women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan was 11.2 percent — five points higher than men who served in the same conflicts, and more than double the rate for civilian women,” Obama said, according to the Washington Post. “And that’s just wrong.”

Obama announced how online networks such as LinkedIn and Coursera are now joining forces with the government to reverse this problem by helping more military service members and veterans find job opportunities.

Months ago, the first lady gave a detailed speech encouraging companies to hire more veterans. Shipping and handling mail company UPS also responded to her recommendation by committing to employ over 25,000 Afghanistan and Iraqi veterans within the next five years. 

Upon other initiatives, Obama’s Joining Forces project is focused on reducing homelessness within the veteran community. 

Two hundred mayors from various cities have promised to end the cycle of local homelessness by giving out federal housing vouchers to those in need.

This has already helped to decrease the homeless rate by 25 percent within the last 3 ½ years.

However, Joining Forces goes beyond just helping veterans through career reforms. It also encourages Americans to be more supportive and sentimental towards war veterans and military families.

A recent educational video through the partnership of DreamWorks Animation—entitled “Operation Got Your 6”—shows Obama “[sending] the Penguins of “Madagascar” on a top-secret mission to debunk the myths and show the truth about America’s returning veterans.”

Although the video’s content is perfect for the younger generation, it really aims to target all viewers in hopes to gain support for both military families and their children.

Catch the video down below:   

Image Source: YouTube Screenshot

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