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South Florida Business Community Starts Motor on Local ‘Joining Forces’ Initiative

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  • November 22, 2011
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At a barbecue for military families held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, the Beacon Council launched a program to help companies hire veterans and military spouses in Miami-Dade County as a step toward meeting their national hiring commitments made under the Joining Forces initiative.

Under the Joining Forces Miami banner, the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s economic development partnership, pledged to hire 4,000 military veterans by the end of 2013. The initiative is the first dedicated employment effort working on the local level with companies striving to hire veterans and military spouses.

To ensure the initiative is successful, the Beacon Council will track the progress of companies in meeting their employment commitments. In cases in which the firms encounter difficulties in meeting their hiring goals, the council will try to ascertain what the obstacles are, said Diana Gonzalez, program coordinator for the Miami-Dade Defense Alliance, which is carrying out the initiative as an arm of the Beacon Council.

This element of the program will help the council identify systemic issues that are impeding the hiring of veterans and military spouses, and look for solutions. A goal of Joining Forces Miami is to highlight those employers that have met their commitment and identify lessons learned and best practices that can contribute to the sustainability of the program.

“Through this effort, the Beacon Council is coordinating with ADC to share its best practices and work with other defense communities across the county who may be interested in starting their own programs,” said Gonzalez, who also serves on the ADC board of directors.

The initiative will reach to community organizations that have a role in the employment of veterans, military personnel and their spouses, including Miami-Dade’s major public and private employers as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ADC, Miami-Dade County, Workforce Florida, Enterprise Florida, chambers of commerce, veterans support organizations, United Way and local universities.

After addressing military families, local business leaders and NASCAR drivers, First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden kicked off the Ford 400 race by declaring, “Gentlemen, start your engines.” Read about the day’s events in the White House’s Joining Forces blog.

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