Michelle Obama with Soldiers - WH photoJust in time for Veterans Day, a confluence of activity across government and industry is combining to help spur the hiring of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afganistan.

Yesterday President Obama praised the US Senate for passing part of his jobs package, the legislation that will create tax breaks for businesses that hire veterans.  The bill will give tax credits of up to $9,600 to companies hiring disabled vets and improve job training and counseling for veterans. Read the full story from NPR News.

Also yesterday, First lady Michelle Obama announced 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 found work. Companies such as UPS, Microsoft, Home Depot and Citi are examples of businesses participating in the campaign, which Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created, called Joining Forces. See more details at ABC News.

On Wednesday, Cigna, a global health service, financial and insurance company, became the latest entity to support Hero Health Hire, a coalition of health care companies and hospitals united under the common goal of employing wounded veterans.

vets-families-airliftedThe announcement coincided with the conclusion of the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference in Washington, DC, where three partners of Hero Health Hire gave presentations on private sector hiring, including its founder, Dr. Rene Lerer, M.D., CEO of Magellan Health Services.

Hero Health Hire includes companies, associations and hospitals from across the spectrum of the health care industry that collectively employ hundreds of thousands of workers and have committed to help veterans find and retain jobs. The initiative was launched in Washington, D.C., at an industry summit that included the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Members of Congress, government agencies and the military.

The health care industry is the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. economy and it is uniquely positioned to understand the needs of wounded veterans. To keep pace with demand, insurers, health plans, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers and hospital networks need an ongoing stream of talented individuals.

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