“Together we have been partnering to do everything in our power to help our veterans and military families find the jobs they need and deserve,” First Lady Michelle Obama said during a Joining Forces event on Tuesday. “Today is simply just a mile marker, and we’re not going to stop until every, single veteran or military spouse that is searching for a job has found one.”
In less than two years America’s businesses have met President Obama’s challenged to hire or train veterans and military spouses. America’s business have followed through hiring 290,000 veterans or military spouses and they have pledged to hire or train another 435,000 in the next five years.
Two women, Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse, have taken Obama’s mission into their own hands, creating jobs for their fellow military spouses who move on average every two and a half years. “Cameron and I were in the same position as so many other military spouses find themselves in. That’s the inability to find employment every time we move in the military,” Lisa Bradley says. “We find that our military spouse friends are just giving up on their career goals and aspirations and we didn’t want to accept that circumstance. We wanted to take something that’s hard in this military lifestyle and make it a positive.”
Their company R. Riveter employs military spouses to make and sell handbags that are handmade from military materials. “All of our bags are made out of recycled military materials. Whether that’s blankets or tents or old uniforms. And the wonderful thing about that is it brings a sort of history of character to each product,” Cameron Cruse explains. “So everybody that buys from our riveter gets something so unique and full of pride and emotion and it is something that you can really be proud of.”
The woman, or Rosies as they call themselves after the famous World War II Rosies, assemble, promote, and independently sell these bags. The key to the operation is that these woman can take their work from post to post as they move with the military.”Whether you want to be an account rep for us, or a small-time Rosie and want to do it part time, we’re just really trying to provide multiple process of employment,” Cruse says.
Marking their one year anniversary the ladies are very happy with the way business has progressed. “The response has been phenomenal because everyone can connect with R. River on some kind of facet,” Bradley says. “Whether it’s the recycle old materials that we use in the handbags or us trying to help military spouses and we are also trying to redefine what it means to be American handmade.”