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Joining Forces Veteran Jobs Initiative Has Already Nearly Tripled Original Goal Of Program: Obama

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with military veteran David Padilla during an event highlighting Joining Forces hiring initiative for military veterans and spouses in civilian jobs in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2013. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama says companies participating in a program to help veterans find work have hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses, nearly tripling the original goal of the program with about eight months to spare.

Obama said Tuesday that the program called Joining Forces has also generated pledges from businesses to hire or train another 435,000 in the next five years.

The jobless rate for those veterans who served after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks fell from 12.1 percent in 2011 to 9.9 percent last year.

But Obama said more help is needed, and she called on private companies to step up hiring to keep up with the demand that will occur as nearly 1 million members of the military become civilians in the next few years.

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