First Lady Touts Veteran Employment Numbers At Fort Campbell

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to Fort Campbell soldiers gathered in a hangar on post. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to Fort Campbell soldiers gathered in a hangar on post. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Five-hundred-forty thousand: That’s the number the First Lady was touting Wednesday — the number of veterans and military spouses that have been hired in the past three years.

Michelle Obama spoke to hundreds of soldiers in uniform at Fort Campbell. She was promoting a website connecting veterans to employers, the first of its kind from the federal government.

But she said it’s not necessarily easy for soldiers to promote themselves.

“You all have done incredible things,” she said. “So don’t be afraid to brag a little bit about yourselves. And smile every once in a while, too.”

All this talk of helping soldiers transition comes as the army is downsizing to its smallest size since before World War II.

Tara Allison, whose husband is in the military, says it can be difficult for soldiers to think about leaving.

“My husband went to college, went through officer training, and went into the army. He has never done anything else,” she said. “They don’t even know where to start in terms of experience that civilians will understand.”

Allison says she had seen more support for veterans over the past several years, and in fact she was recruiting soldiers for Toyota at a job fair after Michelle Obama’s speech.

The online job portal will be available to military spouses as well.

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