Joining Forces is back — with a fresh set of priorities.
In early April first lady Dr. Jill Biden announced that the initiative, which she began 10 years ago with Michelle Obama during the Obama administration, would be reinstated. Biden outlined new goals, including a strong focus on military family employment and entrepreneurship.
“Military families are as critical to our national defense as a rudder is to a ship, and we must always act upon that truth,” said Biden during a virtual White House event in early April. “Today we write the next chapter.”
This official announcement came a few months after news broke in January of the appointment of Rory Brosius as the executive director of Joining Forces. She served as deputy director of the iniative from 2013-2017, is the wife of a Marine veteran, and acted as a special assistant to the president and first lady during the Biden campaign.
“It was important to the first lady that the substantive work of Joining Forces begin within the first 100 days of the administration,” said Brosius. “And it was equally important that we keep the experiences of military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors at the center of our work. This is a community that should be a focus of the White House, both now and in the long-term.”
During its inception in 2011, Joining Forces established a mission to support those who also serve: military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. Today, new priorities for the next four years outlined by Biden include education for military children, quality childcare for families who need it, military family health and well-being, and military family employment and entrepreneurship.
Before the pandemic, the Defense Department estimated the military spouse unemployment rate was about 22%, Biden pointed out to military family members, advocates, and stakeholders from around the world who joined the virtual event on a plethora of monitors.
“All of you deserve opportunities to do the work you love, whether that means keeping your job when you move from base to base or owning your own businesses.”
Joining Forces has commitments from the departments of defense, labor, and education, and this initiative will take all of our government working together, she noted. “We expect every agency to step up and be part of it,” the first lady said. “This is a community bound together by love, love for our country, love for your service members, and love for the communities you build together. And it’s time that we match that devotion.”
For more information about Joining Forces and to keep up with the accomplishments of the initiative, visit www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces.