Jill Biden takes lead on executive action to support military families, spouses with help to find and keep jobs

 June 10, 2023

Much like how even a broken clock is correct twice a day, President Joe Biden's administration occasionally does something that is genuinely good and helpful for the nation, particularly when it pertains to caring for the men and women in uniform who serve the nation and those who support them.

Following first lady Jill Biden's lead on the issue, President Biden signed an executive order on Friday that aims to support military families by making it easier for military spouses to find and retain gainful employment, according to The Fayetteville Observer.

The executive order was signed during an event featuring the president and first lady at North Carolina's Fort Liberty, previously known as Fort Bragg.

First lady touts effort to help military spouses find jobs

During a Thursday press call in advance of the visit, The Observer noted that first lady Biden said she'd heard stories from far too many military spouses about the difficulties of finding and keeping a decent job due to having to move to a new base every few years or focus on caring for children or wounded service members or elderly veterans.

"Meanwhile their partners in uniform question how they can serve their country when their spouse is unhappy or feels unfilled," she said. "We can’t ask service members to choose between love of country and love of families."

Part of the effort to address that issue is an initiative known as Joining Forces which was initially launched in 2011 by former first lady Michelle Obama and is now continuing under Biden and aims to support military families, veterans, caregivers, and survivors by providing assistance with things like education and health.

The first lady said that she'd learned a lot in talking to numerous military spouses over the years and shared the "insights" she gained with the president, which in turn helped guide the creation of the executive order that was signed at Fort Liberty on Friday.

Remarks at Fort Liberty

During her remarks at the Fort Liberty signing ceremony, first lady Biden reiterated how she's "traveled to bases across this country and across the world. And I’ve sat with military families just like yours to learn about their experiences and their challenges."

"Even though every story is unique, again and again, I hear the same thing: that you’re proud of your family’s service, but you miss the careers that you’ve had to leave behind; that you’re stuck looking for work that doesn’t put your education and your experience to good use; that you take the jobs you can get even if you don’t want them because, well, there are bills to pay," she continued.

"Today, thanks to you, Joe is helping our country take yet another step forward with an executive order that addresses the challenges for those in the federal workforce, those looking to take a job with them when they PCS overseas, or spouses trying to start their own business," Biden said at another point. "And this will not only benefit active-duty spouses, but veteran spouses, caregivers, and survivors as well."

Order intended to help support military spouses and families

According to a White House "fact sheet," the executive order signed by President Biden was comprised of nearly 20 separate actions that are each "aimed at enhancing career stability and expanding employment resources and support for this community" of military spouses and families.

Some of the highlights include developing a "government-wide Strategic Plan" on hiring and retention; increasing federal job postings prioritized for military spouses; creating standards that allow for more overseas remote and telework opportunities; supporting entrepreneurs who start their own small businesses; and improving training for federal human resource departments on how best to employ and utilize military spouses.

It also increases access to childcare for military families and provides more assistance, guidance, and flexibility with regard to finding work during deployments and change of stations -- particularly in foreign host nations -- as well as during transitions out of service, among other things.

This is an objectively good thing for which the president and first lady should be commended, and hopefully will result in making life easier for military families by helping the spouses, caregivers, and survivors of active-duty and veteran service members find and keep gainful employment.

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