Mentoring female vets and spouses

Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business & Professional Women Foundation intends to significantly increase women veteran and military spouse employment by combining forces and establishing a network of 10,000 women mentors from corporate, government and nonprofit communities across the country and connect them with women veterans and military wives by the end of 2012.

In support of this effort, successful women executives and business owners from across all economic sectors have agreed to personally mentor women veterans and military spouses and to participate in a senior-level advisory council for the Joining Forces for Women Veteran’s  Mentorship Program (JFWVMP).

“Women who have served our country selflessly in uniform, understand the necessity of teamwork. Women who have supported those in uniform know the value of sharing. These women will now have access to one-on-one mentoring from successful women leaders across the country through this much needed formal network of information and best practice sharing,”  noted former soldier Dr. Lynda Davis, senior vice president of ICF and advisory council chair.

On June 17 at 10 a.m., the first meeting of the JFWVMP advisory council will convene at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce office in Washington, DC. This select group of women will provide the expertise and authority needed to promote the mentorship program within their organizations and personal networks and to act as advisers for the national effort.

“In particular women veterans are among the most underutilized resources in our economy. This program isn’t about helping out a group of women in ‘need.’ Instead, it is about recognizing that our economy needs the leadership skills and expertise these women can bring to our workplaces. Mentors will act as trusted resources for these talented women as they find their place in the nation’s workforce,” explained Deborah L. Frett, CEO of BPW.

As part of the program’s launch, the advisory council members will lead a public discussion on the importance of mentoring and put forth promising ideas for mentoring women veterans and military spouses. Council members, BPW Foundation and the U.S. Chamber will also enlist other employers, associations and individuals to pledge their support for women veterans and military spouses.

Working with public and private partners, BPW Foundation is developing the tools, outreach, and capacity to support a long term goal of engaging 100,000 women mentors to support and assist women veterans and military spouses. The JFWV Mentorship Program will enable women mentors to tap their own experiences in the workplace to help women veterans successfully enter the civilian workforce, positioning their military expertise and skills for long-term career stability and success. The program will also help make connections for military spouses who often can not find jobs that match their skills and education because of the hardships of military life including many moves and living in areas dominated by a military base.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have recognized the BPW-lead program as part of the national Joining Forces.gov initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give America’s service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

To learn more about the mentorship program, visit www.womenjoiningforces.org.

BPW Foundation supports workforce development programs and workplace policies that recognize the diverse needs of working women, communities and businesses. BPW Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) research and education organization. To learn more, visit BPW Foundation - Business and Professional Women

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. http://www.uschamber.com.


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