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First Lady Announces Pledge to Hire 100K Veterans and Military Spouses by 2014

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama announced Thursday that U.S. business has pledged to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014, and she made a personal vow not to rest until all of the country’s 859,000 unemployed veterans have gainful employment.

The pledge supports the “Joining Forces” initiative that Obama and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, launched earlier this year.

“That’s 100,000 jobs, that’s 100,000 veterans and spouses who will have the security of a paycheck and a good career,” the first lady said. “That’s thousands of families that can rest just a little bit easier every night.”

Obama said the hiring pledge, including 5,000 positions for wounded warriors, came from two organizations: the International Franchising Association and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. Companies such as UPS, Microsoft, Home Depot and Citi are examples of businesses participating in the pledge.

She pointed out that the announcement Thursday,  part of the Chamber’s “Hiring Our Heroes” event, is intended to be complimentary to steps that her husband, President Barack Obama, is taking to aid unemployed veterans, including a measure that passed in the Senate Thursday afternoon but has yet to pass the House of Representatives.

The first lady said the pledge “isn’t about making headlines” but rather ”upholding our sacred duty to our veterans and their families.”

“This is about who we are as individuals and as a country. This is about making sure that every person who wears our uniform knows that their fellow citizens have their backs,” she said. “We all know that there are thousands more veterans and military spouses out there looking for jobs, folks who just need a little help to connect with a hiring fair, to find a career that suits their skills.”

About 859,000 veterans are  unemployed, and the jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans is an estimated 12.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“That just doesn’t seem right, and hearing something like that, it drives me to want to do more,” Obama said. “I won’t stop, and all of the people joining me here today won’t stop. We will keep working until this wave of support reaches every single veteran and every single military family in this nation. That is my solemn promise as first lady.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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