Almost one out of every four military spouses who would like to work is out of a job, according to Department of Defense (DoD) statistics.
The reasons are quite familiar to military families. Service members are deployed to combat zones, hardship-duty stations or unaccompanied tours, or they leave for training exercises, often for weeks or months at a time. That leaves the remaining spouse to run the household.
Taking care of the family and holding down a job can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but military families also have the added obstacle of relocating every three years. Not only does this make it hard to hold down a job, but some employers don’t want to risk hiring someone that may end up moving away. Some military spouses are able to work from home or find jobs that fit with their lifestyles, but now a new program is aiming to make things a little easier for them to land a stable job.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the DoD have teamed up to help military spouses find jobs through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program (MSEP). The DoD contacted hundreds of companies, both nationally and globally, that can benefit by tapping the large, underutilized pool of talent who are married to active-duty members of the armed forces.
Each of the hundreds of companies participating in the program has agreed to these stipulations:
Employers will co-sign statements of support with the armed forces.
Employers will identify and promote career employment opportunities for military spouses.
Employers will post job openings and a corporate employment page on the partnership’s website.
Employers will offer transferable, portable career opportunities to relocating military spouse employees.
Employers will mentor new partnership corporate partners.
Employers will document and provide employment data on military spouses who are hired.
Among the participating employers: Sears, Verizon, Lockheed, Home Depot, Starbucks, Dell, Hyatt Hotels, Toys R Us, AT&T, Walmart, Bank of America and H&R Block. A full list of employers is available here.
The first thing you’ll need to do to participate in the MSEP is fill out an online profile. The site also offers assistance in job-hunting techniques, including creating a resume, cover-letter templates and basic networking advice.
Life in the military is, by its very definition, an uncertain one. For short-term financial assistance, service members can find help through such avenues as short-term military loans; however, spouses who want to add a steady paycheck to the family coffers now have another tool.
Are you a part of the MSEP? How has it helped you or your spouse? We’d love to hear about your experiences.