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Michelle Obama hitting Stephen Colbert, swing states to mark "Joining Forces" anniversary

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WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama next week marks the first anniversary of her "Joining Forces" program--helping military families--with a Wednesday spot on the Stephen Colbert show and stops in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as Louisiana.

In a conference call on Wednesday, Mrs. Obama said, "Today, 11 companies are coming together to pledge more than 15,000 jobs for military spouses -- 15,000 jobs. And the vast majority of these jobs are ones that the spouses can do at home from anywhere in the country."

One of the companies is QCSS Inc., based in the northwest Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove, whose top executives are Karin Hall and Catherine Karabetsos. QCSS Inc. is, according to the White House, "ensuring that a minimum of 10% of the forecasted 200 new hires from now through 2014 will be veterans and their families." The firm originally made the pledge in a January, 2012 announcement.


Mrs. Obama continued, "What we're trying to do with this announcement is that we're trying to meet these spouses where they are. And for those of you on the call who are managing families -- because we all deal with this issue, particularly as working parents -- you know what kind of difference it makes to be able to have job opportunities that you can do from home. This will make such a huge difference for our military spouses. Just think of it, when the next set of orders comes in for these families and they have to move across the country, this is -- they'll be able to move these jobs with them. When it's time to usher the kids off to soccer practice and you're home alone because a spouse is deployed, it will be helpful to have this kind of flexibility.

"Whatever comes up in life along the way, these types of jobs will help give them the kind of flexibility and portability they'll need to succeed not just in their careers, but in the rest of their lives as well."


Click below for more details from the White House and information on the 11 companies....

below, from the White House....

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the First Lady
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama & Dr. Jill Biden to Celebrate First Anniversary of Joining Forces

April 11th and 12th visits include White House kick off; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Jacksonville, Florida

WASHINGTON - On April 11, 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will kick off a two-day tour celebrating the first anniversary of Joining Forces, their initiative to recognize, honor and serve military families. Since launching Joining Forces on April 12th, 2011, significant progress has been made to rally Americans around military families. Communities, businesses, schools, faith groups, non-profit organizations and individual Americans have made substantial commitments to show military families the support that they deserve. Through collaborative efforts with Joining Forces, these groups have helped thousands of veterans and military families find jobs, improved educational opportunities for military children, supported our nation's wounded warriors and their caregivers, and honored our nation's fallen. The Joining Forces two-day tour will highlight examples of organizations and companies that have made significant commitments to support military families.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure veterans and military families have the support they have earned. The initiative focuses on key priority areas - employment, education, and wellness -- while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of America's veterans and military families. More information is available at: www.JoiningForces.gov.

The First Lady and Dr. Biden's Joining Forces tour schedule is below:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

White House * 11:00 AM ET * Anniversary Celebration

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will kick off a celebration for military families and organization leaders that have played key roles in supporting our nation's troops, veterans and families. Finalists of the Joining Forces Community Challenge will be the celebration's special guests. Late last year, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden launched the Challenge to recognize and celebrate citizens, communities, and organizations who have demonstrated a deep commitment to service by improving the lives of military families and veterans. Hundreds of submissions were received and twenty finalists who found innovative ways to show their gratitude and support at the local level were chosen. These twenty finalists will travel from across the country to be honored at the White House. The finalists will be joined by the Challenge's notable judges, Tom Brokaw - who will deliver opening remarks, J.R. Martinez, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, USO President Sloan Gibson and Deanie Dempsey, wife of General Martin Dempsey.

The Missouri Air National Guard's 571st Air Force Band "Sidewinder" will perform at the event. Last year, a fan's video of the band performing at an airbase in Southwest Asia went viral on YouTube and garnered national attention.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia * 2:15 PM ET* Nurses Nationwide Join Forces to Support Veterans and Military Families

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will announce a major initiative by more than 150 of America's leading nursing organizations and more than 450 nursing schools in 50 states and territories to ensure our nation's nurses are prepared to help meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families. Nursing leaders have committed to educating current and future nurses on how to recognize and care for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other combat-related issues. Collectively, this effort will reach over three million nurses in nearly every health care setting and every community in America.

New York City * The Colbert Report

First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on The Colbert Report to discuss her Joining Forces initiative. Host Stephen Colbert has shown strong support for our troops, including bringing his show to Iraq, broadcasting special episodes to honor returning troops, performing at numerous USO events and getting a military-style hair cut to show his solidarity with those in uniform. Military families of troops deployed to Afghanistan will be a part of the audience.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shreveport, Louisiana * 1:15 PM CT / 2:15 PM ET * Announcing Joining Forces' 50,000th Hire

Last August, President Obama announced a series of policies to increase veterans' employment and asked the First Lady and Dr. Biden to lead an effort through Joining Forces to challenge the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. Well on track to exceed this goal, First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Shreveport, Louisiana, to announce the 50,000th veteran or military spouse to have been hired by a company through the Joining Forces initiative. Mrs. Obama will visit the Kansas City Southern Railway Company, which has aggressively hired veterans in the last year because of the unique skill set that they bring to the job

Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida * 6:00 PM ET * Honoring Young Women from Military Families

First Lady Michelle Obama will invite young women from military families to a celebration honoring their service to our nation as members of a military family. Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks to the high school junior and senior girls and their parents and reveal surprise guests who she invited for this special occasion.

###
*** EMBARGOED UNTIL 11:30 AM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2012 ***
1
FACT SHEET
First Lady announces new effort to hire military spouses through her Joining
Forces initiative
Companies like Alpine Access, Arise Virtual Solutions and Hilton Hotels commit to deliver
15,000 jobs to military spouses and veterans by 2014
In the lead up to the first anniversary of Joining Forces, First Lady Michelle Obama will host a
conference call to announce a major commitment by forward looking businesses launching an
ambitious new effort to deliver more than 15,000 jobs to military spouses and veterans in the
coming years. This new effort will help deliver jobs that are physically located near bases, as
well as thousands of highly sought-after at-home employment opportunities to military
families across the country.
Military families are 10 times more likely to move across state lines than civilian families.
Home based jobs are especially valuable for military families because they can move with
military spouses as they relocate from base to base across the country, accommodate flexible
work hours, enable spouses who care for children or elderly parents to work from home, and
give home-bound veterans with disabilities new opportunities to have a fulfilling job. Athome
jobs with flexible work schedules can also lead to better work life balance, and extend
job opportunities into communities often left behind.
Military families will also benefit from the new job commitments being announced at nearly
two-dozen physical contact centers located in close proximity to active military bases. These
contact centers often support military families through: family-friendly scheduling,
maintaining service accrual records, enabling the seamless transfer from one contact center to
another in an event of a relocation, as well as extensive training and immense growth
opportunities from agents to supervisors.
These companies and their associated job opportunities will also be integrated into the
Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), a Department of Defense-led effort with
more than 100 companies in the private sector who have committed to a focused effort on
military spouse employment. MSEP was launched by Dr Jill Biden last summer.
Key Commitments Include:
Alpine Access, which employs approximately 5,000 home-based customer service and
technical support representatives in over 1,800 U.S. cities and communities, has pledged to
recruit, train, and hire more than 3,000 'military attached' Americans over the next two years,
tripling the number that are currently employed by the company. In addition, Alpine Access is
also announcing that it will soon be launching TalentSprout (www.talentsprout.com), a new
division of the Company that will provide an online social learning portal with skill-building
and job training curriculum to help American workers succeed in the new knowledge
*** EMBARGOED UNTIL 11:30 AM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2012 ***
2
economy. As a first phase of TalentSprout's invite-only beta launch, the career and personal
development courses will be offered free-of-charge to qualified members of the Armed Forces
(active duty, reserves, retired, or veteran) and to their eligible spouses and caregivers,
providing them with a fast-track path to securing job opportunities offered through Alpine
Access and other sponsors of the Joining Forces initiative.
Arise Virtual Solutions Inc. -- already has thousands of veterans and military spouses within
its current network of 25,000 Client Support Professionals providing customer service, sales
and technical support. Arise's goal is to add 10,000 new independent business and client
services professionals from military families over the next several years. Arise plans to
develop special programs to create awareness among military spouses and veterans.
DialAmerica -- DialAmerica is committed to increasing the number of its military-affiliated
employees to make up 20 percent of its workforce by 2014. By making military-affiliated
employees the cornerstone of its talent acquisition strategy, DialAmerica gains highly qualified
and motivated employees that are prepared for the 21st century workplace. In return,
DialAmerica provides military families with financial security and support through familyfriendly
scheduling, maintaining service accrual records, a seamless transfer from one contact
center to another in the event of relocation, as well as extensive training and immense growth
opportunities from agents to supervisors.
Etech Global Services -- Etech will commit to hiring a minimum of 200 military spouses and
veterans in next 2 years. For more than a decade, Etech has been a pioneer of introducing and
supporting innovative business solutions, including the use of web chat services.
Hilton Hotels -- Hilton Worldwide employs nearly 800 service men and women at their hotels
and offices around the globe. In partnership with Recruit Military and other community-based
organizations, they are pledging another 3.5 percent of their Hilton@Home call center
positions to military spouses through 2014. The Hilton@Home program is part of Hilton
Worldwide's global sales & customer service network, provides 24-hour assistance to their
guests, handles more than 34 million calls annually and is highly regarded for its flexible,
home-based career opportunities. Additionally, the program offers benefits enjoyed by all
Hilton Worldwide employees including a 401(k) savings plan, paid time off, hotel discounts
globally and more.
Prosperity America -- was founded in 2009 with the specific dual mission of returning call
center jobs to America and providing employment to veterans, active duty dependents and the
community that supports Fort Benning, Georgia. Since its inception, they have been successful
in returning over 100 jobs from overseas and providing employment to over 50 veterans.
Prosperity America, Inc. is planning to hire 50 more veterans and military spouses over the
next 2 years.
*** EMBARGOED UNTIL 11:30 AM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2012 ***
3
Quality Contact Solutions -- a women owned business, is creating as many as 150 work-athome
business-to-business marketing and communication jobs for military spouses over the
next 2 years. These jobs will be in the healthcare and telecommunications industries.
Agility Marketing -- a multi-channel customer relationship management contact center is
making the move to employ at-home agents and is committed to adding 100 jobs for military
spouses and veterans over the next 2 years.
QCSS Inc. -- a Chicago-based Call Center and marketing firm is ensuring that a minimum of
10% of the forecasted 200 new hires from now through 2014 will be veterans and their families.
SP Data, a provider of contact center solutions and social media services to Fortune 1000
companies, is committing to adding more than 150 jobs for military spouses and veterans over
the next 2 years.
Veteran Call Center, LLC -- has set a goal of creating an additional 1,000 jobs for military
spouses and veterans over the next 2 years--at least 500 per year. VCC was formed to
promote the financial well-being and economic independence of US Service Veterans,
primarily those with physically debilitating injuries and to utilize the leadership, discipline
and skills engrained by their training and service.
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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 4, 2012 2:39 PM.

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