Michelle Obama is fast becoming the first lady of America's military veterans. The latest example: today in Hawaii she will co-host a jobs fair for out-of-work veterans with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Symbolism aside, her endorsement of the 68th Chamber jobs fair is expected to give a boost to job-seeking veterans and mainstream American companies who are participating in the Chamber's "Hiring our Heroes" program, which has already put 3,600 vets back to work. The first lady was already in Hawaii for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. [See photos of Michelle Obama.]
Today's event at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman will bring more than 500 veterans together with 50 employers from across Hawaii, including Wal-Mart, CVS, the Bank of Hawaii and Hawaiian Telecom, said a spokesman. [Read Michelle Obama: Time to Find Jobs for Military Veterans at Home.]
Kevin Schmeigel, the Chamber's vice president of Veterans Initiatives, will introduce Obama today by stating, "Let me be clear, this is not charity. This is about connecting talented men and women who have served our nation with job opportunities that exist in the private sector." In a preview of his comments, Schmeigel will also address Obama's personal link to the event when he says, "It is my honor to introduce the daughter of an army veteran, the wife of the commander-in-chief, and the leader of Joining Forces, our First Lady, Michelle Obama." [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]
The first lady has attended dozens of events with and for veterans and earlier this month announced a program at Chamber headquarters in Washington to get 100,000 vets hired by American firms.