A new push to hire 100,000 military spouses is among several new government and private sector initiatives being rolled out to help ease barriers to employment for military spouses.
Here’s a closer look at three of these new efforts.
‘Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses’ campaign
A coalition of 15 companies and organizations working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program have launched a campaign to encourage employers to join a nationwide effort to hire military spouses — with an initial goal of hiring 100,000 military spouses in the next three years.
The list of coalition members is on the Hiring Our Heroes website. Other employers are being encouraged to sign up on the site to participate in the nationwide effort.
Hiring Our Heroes officials will track the number of spouses hired, similar to their nationwide effort to hire veterans, which began in 2012. To date, there have been more than 500,000 confirmed veteran hires, according to Hiring Our Heroes officials.
It’s not clear whether military spouses will be able to link to employers seeking to hire them from this specific site. However, virtually all of these coalition members, ranging from Amazon to Starbucks and USAA, are members of the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership program, which includes over 360 employers who are vetted by the Defense Department. They specifically seek military spouses and can offer portable careers. Links to their available jobs are available here.
Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noted that President Trump recently signed an executive order designed to increase opportunities for military spouses to find employment in the federal government.
“Now, it is the private sector’s turn to make military spouse employment a top priority,” Eversole said, in a statement about the launch of the campaign.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, noted that the federal government and the private sector have made progress in reducing unemployment for veterans, and it’s time to learn best practices and translate that to helping military spouses.
She said there are 6.7 million unfilled jobs in the country, yet there are barriers to entry for military spouses.
“All the attributes employers seek are right there in front of them with military spouses,” she said during a Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Employment Summit June 28.
Conway cited military spouses’ talent, education, their ability to multitask, their flexibility, their resilience, as a talented work force.
Jill Biden, former second lady of the U.S., also called for renewed efforts to solve the “pressing problem” of unemployment of military spouses. She said she was grateful to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation for “rallying behind our military families” with the new initiative.
Conway has taken on the issue of military spouse employment, she said. Biden also made the issue a priority during the Joining Forces effort when her husband was vice president.
The Department of Labor launched a portal that gives spouses specific information on states’ efforts to ease expensive, time-consuming processes for military spouses to obtain a license or credential in order to work in the field. Spouses can click on a specific state on a map to find out whether the state has adopted licensing rights for military spouses.
Spouses can also search for occupational license information for states and federal agencies, searching by occupation, license name or licensing agency.
The portal is a result of the collaboration between various divisions of the Department of Labor, and the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense State Liaison Office has worked with states for many years on the issue of portability of licenses and credentials for military spouses.
Various states have adopted policies or laws to allow for temporary licensing, expedited licensing, or licensure by endorsement for relocating military spouses. Some states have adopted two or all of the options.
Military Spouse Technology Academy
Microsoft will launch a military spouse technology academy this fall, said Danny Chung, Microsoft’s chief of staff for military affairs.
This will redefine retention of careers for spouses, he said, to mean, how long a spouse “can continue to pursue and continue to progress, regardless of whether [he or she] works for Hilton, Starbucks, Microsoft or USAA.”
He issued a call to action to employers, “to open your doors to hiring our military spouses who come out of this academy.”
More details will be available at a later date, he said.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.