First lady Michelle Obama on Monday touted the construction industry’s decision to hire more than 100,000 veterans over five years.
“That’s a number that gets me out of bed in the morning, so that’s why I’m happy to be here. This is huge. It’s a huge deal,” the first lady said, speaking in Washington.
The jobs pledge was backed by more than 100 construction companies, with Obama noting it is not only “the patriotic thing to do” but also a good business decision.
She also used Monday’s event to tout the Defense Department’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, which is aimed at helping service members earn employment certifications. “Service members across the country are participating in apprenticeships and accredited civilian training programs right near their bases, so when they leave the military, they’ll be ready to start a good job the very next day,” Obama said. The task force was launched by President Obama in 2012.
The event follows an op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal by the first lady. She said that the industry’s decision sends “a clear message that we honor those who’ve sacrificed for us, and are determined to serve them as well as they have served our country. America’s veterans deserve no less.”
Obama’s speech comes as Congress is renewing its focus on veterans-related issues. The Senate took up a bill to repeal $6 billion in pension cuts to working-age military retirees on Monday, and a wide-ranging veterans’ bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders awaits members’ consideration. A provision in Sanders’ bill would call on the federal government to hire 15,000 veterans.
And Sen. Richard Burr focused on veterans during the weekly Republican address, referencing a number of issues including claim delays at the Veterans Affairs Department.