The American Legion joined a throng of celebrants on The White House lawn Wednesday observing the first anniversary of the innovative Joining Forces initiative.
Joining Forces was launched on April 11, 2011, by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, "to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and serve our nation's veterans and military families."
Joining Forces focuses on employment, education and wellness with Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden encouraging broad based support of military and veterans families from businesses, schools, faith groups, nonprofit organizations and private individuals. The White House calls the response to the initiative over the last year "overwhelming."
The American Legion has been contributing materially to the campaign since its inception. "When the initiative was launched," said Deputy Economic Division Director Mark Walker, "it was ‘all hands on deck' from us. Our continuing series of job fairs for Guard members, Reservists, veterans and their spouses is just one Legion vehicle that has lent support to the Joining Forces effort."
"A big booster to Joining Forces," Walker continued, "was our recent, groundbreaking, two-day Licensing and Credentialing Summit where, in concert with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we brought together advocates and decision makers from government and the private sector to explore and implement ways to streamline the transition from military service to civilian employment. This is precisely the kind of proactive effort Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have in mind."
The Legion's small business workshops, credentialing and licensing conferences, efforts on behalf of veterans on campus and Capitol Hill lobbying and field research on military and veterans' health care issues also mirror the Joining Forces mission.
Joining Forces maintains a website at JoiningForces.gov.