When it was launched by first lady Michelle Obama, the Joining Forces initiative set a lofty goal of hiring 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. The organization has already met its target figure – and then some. More than 2,000 companies have hired 125,000 vets or spouses, achieving the goal more than a year earlier than expected, Military Times reports.
Perhaps most encouraging, the participating companies came from a wide variety of industries ranging from healthcare to insurance to entertainment. Even more good news? The businesses said they expect to hire 250,000 more veterans or military spouses by the end of 2014.
To mark the occasion, Obama visited Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. Brad Cooper, the executive director of Joining Forces, says the numbers are indicative of companies recognizing how valuable servicemembers are as employees.
"More and more businesses are recognizing that hiring veterans is good for their bottom line, and they are making bold commitments to bring veterans into their ranks," he told The Associated Press.
The Joining Forces initiative is partly to thank for the falling unemployment rate among veterans. According to the AP, the figures fell to 6.9 percent last month from 8.6 percent in July of last year.