WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Friday aimed at bolstering employment opportunities for military and veteran spouses whose careers are often disrupted by loved ones’ deployments.
Biden is using a visit to the newly renamed Fort Liberty in North Carolina to highlight the command. The order directs the agencies to develop a federal government-wide strategic plan on hiring and retaining military spouses; strengthen childcare options; improve the collection of data on spouses, caregivers and survivors of military and veterans in the federal workforce; and over a dozen additional actions.
First lady Jill Biden, on a call with reporters to preview the action, said the order was largely framed by conversations under the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, which aims to support the families, caregivers and survivors of members of the United States military. The Democratic president is expected to sign the order during his visit to the base.
With nearly one in five military families citing spousal employment difficulties as a reason for considering leaving active duty, the problem is not a trivial one for Army recruiting and training efforts. , according to the White House. More than 16,000 military spouses work in the federal government.
“We’re asking agencies to make it easier for federally employed spouses to take administrative leave, telecommute and relocate,” the first lady said. “We are creating resources to support entrepreneurs. And the executive order helps agencies and businesses retain military spouses through telecommuting or when they move overseas.
The President unveils the order to the newly renamed army Fort Liberty. His visit comes a week after military officials at the base, formerly known as Fort Bragg, held a ceremony in which it officially dropped its Confederate name.
The base was originally named in 1918 in honor of General Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general from Warrenton, North Carolina, known for owning slaves and losing key Civil War battles that contributed to the fall of the Confederacy.
The recent renaming of the installation – the largest US Army base by population, with around 47,000 active duty soldiers – did not play a role in choosing the base to serve as the canvas. background to Biden to announce his executive order, according to an administration official who was not authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity. It was unclear whether Biden would address the base’s renaming during his visit.
Ahead of their visit to Fort Liberty, the Bidens will meet with students from Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The historically black community college has received $23.7 million to train students for clean energy jobs through Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
The Biden administration has focused on funding programs that help prepare workers for jobs that require post-secondary education, but not necessarily a four-year degree.
Biden’s trip to North Carolina comes as some of the Republican Party’s top presidential candidates gather to address state convention delegates in Greensboro, less than 100 miles from his stop at Fort Liberty. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis headlines a dinner party on Friday, fresh from his campaign tour of a trio of early voting states, where thousands gathered to hear him lambasting Biden and pledging to reverse the Democratic incumbent’s “disastrous economic policies” if elected.
On Saturday, former Vice President Mike Pence and former President Donald Trump, the current GOP front-runner, will address delegates in separate appearances. Earlier Saturday, Trump, who was charged with mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, is due to address the Georgia Republican Party convention in Columbus, Georgia.
Pres’ associate editor, Meg Kinnard at Columbia, SC, contributed to this report.