Daily Times (Primos, PA)
Jill Biden announces next steps for military family program
WASHINGTON » Jill Biden is bringing a new focus to the cause of supporting America’s military families.
The first lady on Wednesday announced the next chapter for a decade-old military family support program she and then-first lady Michelle Obama led during the Obama administration.
Biden said that military families are as important to the nation as a rudder is to a ship and that national security will be served by supporting their physical, social and emotional health.
“How can we hope to keep our military strong if we don’t give our families, survivors and caregivers what they need to thrive? If we don’t act on our sacred obligation?” she asked at the White House.
Biden said her relaunch of the Joining Forces initiative will focus on employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for military families, education for the more than 2 million children of enlisted parents and veterans, and the overall health and wellbeing of these families.
She noted that just 1% of the country serves in the all-volunteer military. She also cited a Defense Department estimate of a 22% unemployment rate for military spouses.
“Service members cannot be focused on their mission if their families don’t have what they need to thrive at home,” said the first lady, who is the daughter and mother of service members. “And we can’t expect to keep the best and brightest if our service members are forced to choose between their love of country and the hopes and dreams they have for their families.”
“We have to help you carry this weight,” the first lady added. She cited commitments from the defense, education and labor departments.