Michelle Obama Calls on Business Leaders to Hire More Veterans

At the Business Roundtable, a conference which represents CEO’s of the 200 largest U.S. corporations, First Lady Michelle Obama called on companies to do more when it came to hiring veterans.

The first lady pointed out that statistically unemployment is nearly two points higher (9.4) for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than the national average. That figure means that about 200,000 veterans do not have jobs.

Mrs. Obama’s “Joining Forces” campaign has led businesses to hire or train more than 125,000 veterans and military spouses. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart pledged to hire 100,000 veterans in the next five years, as part of the program. While these numbers are impressive, the first lady said, “we’ve still got a lot more work to do.”

“Whether you’re in finance or technology or the food industry, every single one of you can ask yourselves that same question:`What more can we do?'” she said. “Think outside the box, take real risks and work together to make big, bold commitments to hire our veterans and military spouses and help them reach their full potential within your companies. Show them that your business is there for them for the long haul.”

Wal-Mart President and CEO Mike Duke praised Mrs. Obama and her initiatives in his opening statements, and agreed that corporations need to do more to help veterans.

“Because of her leadership and all of your leadership – we can move forward not just as individual companies but as a united business community. We can offer veterans a wider range of opportunities across different industries and occupations. And we can act with the urgency this cause demands,” Duke said.