LAKE BUENA VISTA — First lady Michelle Obama said Thursday that companies participating in a program to help veterans find employment have exceeded their initial goal by training or hiring 380,000 veterans and military spouses.
Obama made the announcement during a speech at a daylong Walt Disney World forum aimed at getting opportunities and developing programs for bringing ex-soldiers into the workforce.
Earlier this year, Obama announced that the Joining Forces program she started along with Jill Biden more than two years ago had hired 290,000 veterans and spouses. This latest new hiring number is nearly four times the original goal the program wanted to reach by the end of 2013.
Flanked by a stage full of Disney employees who are former military veterans, Obama spoke to a packed ballroom of 500 people, representing 350 employers.
"There's a reason you're here today and it's not just because hiring veterans is the patriotic thing to do," she said. "You're here because hiring veterans is the smart thing to do for your businesses."
Thursday's forum was a free event aimed at inspiring employers to hire servicemen and women looking for work in the private sector.