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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made a special appearance at the White House on Thursday to announce his company’s pledge to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.

The effort is part of Joining Forces, an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, aimed at rallying Americans around service members, veterans, and their families by supporting them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities.

“At Amazon we’re constantly looking for leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and who want to deliver for customers,” Bezos said after being introduced by Biden. “Those principles look very familiar to the men and women who served our country in the armed forces. And also their spouses.”

Bezos said Amazon was fortunate to have veterans in leadership roles all across the company. He named several employees who are having an impact at Amazon in a variety of positions as well as helping to hire and train more vets and military spouses at the Seattle-based online retailer.

“Because of their amazing work, we’ve more than doubled the number of veterans at Amazon since 2013,” Bezos said.

Bezos got a round of applause when he announced Amazon’s five-year pledge. He smiled and said that like all employees at Amazon, they can expect the same health care package and benefits as even the most senior leadership at Amazon.

In remarks after Bezos, the first lady recognized “our dear friend Jeff … an Amazonian. I like that!”

“Thank you Jeff for your leadership,” Obama said. “For making such an extraordinary commitment to our veterans and our military spouses today. You are setting the bar high, you are doing a phenomenal job, your team is amazing.”

In an Amazon blog post, two Amazon employees — Ardine Williams, VP of talent acquisition for Amazon Web Services, and Kathleen Carroll, senior manger of recruiting, Amazon Operations — wrote about how Amazon’s leadership principles align with what made them successful in the military.

Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier T-Mobile also took part in the events at the White House. The company said it is committed to hiring 5,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.

T-Mobile said in a news release that veterans fit in well at the company because of their values of respect, integrity, loyalty and honor. All of that will help take the “Un-carrier revolution” to the next level.

“Veterans have the unique skillset we need to continue to turn this industry on its head,” said Andrew Sherrard, a military veteran and T-Mobile’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “We’ve trained our recruiters to match them up with a wide range of exciting career opportunities.”

AT&T also announced that it would hire an additional 10,000 veterans, bringing its total pledge to 20,000 by 2020, the company said in a release.

Washington is among the top 20 U.S. states for veteran employment by AT&T, with more than 150 company employees self-identifying as a veteran. AT&T is seeking to fill nearly 60 jobs in Washington State at this time and welcomes those with military experience to apply at

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