WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced their campaign to ease requirements for military spouses with jobs that require professional licenses received support in all 50 states.
Obama and Biden began the Joining Forces initiative in 2011 when only three states allowed military spouses who worked as nurses, electricians, accountants and other professions that required licenses to transfer their license across state lines.
"To continue their careers, these spouses had to pay hefty fees or take burdensome classes to get a new license in each new state they moved to," Obama said during a Q&A with Military Times. "Our military families already sacrifice so much on our behalf, and to ask them to sacrifice their livelihood as well was absolutely unacceptable."
On Friday, New York helped the program achieve a milestone by becoming the 50th state to sign in favor of allowing military spouses to transfer their licenses.
As part of the Joining Forces program's fifth anniversary Biden and Obama also announced that more than 1.2 million veterans and military spouses had been trained or hired as a result of ongoing outreach.
"Ultimately, this is really what Joining Forces is all about: it's about educating people about the challenges our service members veterans and military families face; the sacrifices they make; and their extraordinary service to our country. And it's about asking people to step up and give something back," Obama said.
Despite the milestone Oboma said more work was required to to improve spousal licensing in fields such as education where licenses can be "particularly complicated and specialized."
"Our military is an all-volunteer force, and we need to show our young people that serving in the military allows you to have a great career, both in and out of uniform," she said. "So we need even more employers to step up and hire our veterans, and we need companies to provide more flexible work environments so that military spouses who are moving every few years can keep moving up the career ladder."