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First Lady Michelle Obama To Give Keynote Address At Disney’s ‘Veterans Institute’ Workshop On November 14


Complimentary ‘Veterans Institute’ program is designed to encourage and support hiring of military veterans

Disney will share expertise from its ‘Heroes Work Here’ initiative with other companies to help them build their own veteran-hiring programs

Burbank, Calif. and Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – First Lady Michelle Obama will give the keynote address at Disney’s first-ever Veterans Institute workshop on November 14, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort. Building on its successful Heroes Work Here initiative to hire, train and support military veterans, Disney is hosting the free Veterans Institute workshop to inspire other companies to employ servicemen and women transitioning to the private sector.

The First Lady has made supporting military families and U.S. troops a top priority. In 2011 Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces, an initiative dedicated to connecting servicemen and women, veterans, and military spouses with the resources they need to find jobs at home. Through this initiative, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have met with military families, learned about their successes and challenges, and have connected them with businesses and non-profit organizations as they look for work in the private sector. Joining Forces highlights the workforce potential of veterans and military spouses, expands employment and career development opportunities for veterans and military spouses, and helps employers create military family-friendly workplaces.

“We applaud First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to raise awareness of the strengths and unique needs of veterans and their families, and we are honored to have her join Disney’s first-ever ‘Veterans Institute,’ a program designed to showcase the value of veterans, share best hiring practices, and encourage greater employment opportunities for military men and women transitioning into civilian life,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.

About ‘Veterans Institute’

The day-long Veterans Institute, co-sponsored by Heroes Work Here and Disney Institute, is designed to help companies build effective veteran-hiring programs of their own. The event will feature experts from Disney’s Heroes Work Here, government officials, veterans, and non-profit veterans service organizations, who will share their experiences, best practices, and tips for making a successful transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

Veterans Institute is the latest effort in Disney’s long history of respect and appreciation for the U.S. Armed Services, and it will leverage the success of Heroes Work Here, which Disney launched in March, 2012 with a commitment to hire more than 1,000 veterans by 2015—a goal the company has already surpassed. This past March, Disney increased its hiring goal to create opportunities for another 1,000 former service members in the next two years.

Highlights of the Veterans Institute workshop will include: an inside look at Heroes Work Here; renowned keynote speakers, panelists, Disney on-air talent and personalities; customized Disney Institute courses; advice and insights from experts and elite veterans support organizations; and stories from veterans about their own transition to the civilian workforce.

Featured speakers and presenters who are currently scheduled to appear include:

• Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
• Bob Woodruff, ABC News Anchor
• Rosye Cloud, Senior Advisor on Veteran Employment, Department of Veterans Affairs
• Dr. Susan S. Kelley, Director, Transition to Veteran Program Office, Department of Defense
• Rich Morales, Colonel, U.S. Army and Executive Director, Joining Forces
• Teresa Gerton, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor
• Mike Haynie, Executive Director and Founder, Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

To learn more and reserve space at the complimentary Veterans Institute, please go to

About Disney’s Heroes Work Here

Supporting the U.S. Armed Forces has long been a Disney tradition, and Disney’s Heroes Work Here continues that proud legacy with a company-wide initiative to hire, train and support military veterans. Disney introduced the program in March, 2012 with a commitment to hire at least 1,000 veterans by 2015. Having exceeded that goal in the first year alone, with 1,300 veterans hired, the company announced in March, 2013 that it would create opportunities for another 1,000 former service members over the next two years.

Disney’s Heroes Work Here initiative also features a public awareness campaign to encourage employers across the U.S. to hire former military service members. The campaign includes the free Veterans Institute workshop at Walt Disney World on November 14, 2013, as well as public service announcements highlighting the skills and experience of veterans who work at Disney. The PSAs direct viewers to the White House’s Joining Forces initiative ( and have aired across Disney’s media properties including ESPN, ABC and ABC Family, making more than 500 million impressions.

The third component of Disney’s Heroes Work Here initiative is philanthropy. Disney’s philanthropic support of veteran and military organizations has exceeded $1 million since the launch of Heroes Work Here, and through the Disney VoluntEARS program, employees have engaged in several service projects with veterans organizations in communities around the country.

About Disney Institute

Disney Institute is the professional development arm of The Walt Disney Company [NYSE: DIS]. Since its founding in 1986, Disney Institute has shared the company’s time-tested best practices in leadership, management, creativity/innovation, brand loyalty and customer service with millions of professionals around the world.

To participate in the conversation regarding the Disney ‘Veterans Institute’, please use the hashtag #DisneyVeteransInstitute.


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