Lowering the unemployment rate for veterans has been a priority for Congress and first lady Michelle Obama's Joining Forces initiative, and now some of the country's leading manufacturing companies are getting in on the action. A group of four businesses recently announced a new program aimed at training veterans to help fill hundreds of thousands of open positions, according to The Associated Press.

The program, launched by General Electric, Alcoa Inc., Boeing and Lockheed Martin, helps both veterans and manufacturers because there are currently about 600,000 jobs that are unfilled due to a lack of unqualified applicants. By providing vets with the training necessary, the companies will be helping fill a void while also contributing to lowering the veteran unemployment rate.

Program organizers estimate the initiative could help as many as 15,000 veterans. Though the unemployment rate for all vets is lower than the national average, for those who have separated since 9/11, it's at about 9.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"We have an opportunity to help veterans with extraordinary leadership capabilities better compete for good-paying jobs with a long-term future," Jeff Immelt, General Electric's chairman and chief executive officer, told the AP.

Veterans looking for assistance with the job hunt can visit AFBA's Career Center, which helps pair employers and recruiters with qualified servicemembers.