The national unemployment rate is around 7 percent, but it is much higher among military spouses who have to change jobs frequently because of moves. A Pentagon program called the Military Spouse Employment Partnership was started three years ago to help unemployed military spouses find jobs has surpassed its goals, connecting more than 60,000 military spouses with 220 private- and public-sector partners, including Fortune 500 companies.
Meg O’Grady, a senior program analyst in the Pentagon’s Office of Family Policy and Children and Youth, said “Eighty-five percent of military spouses actually have some college, 25 percent of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 10 percent have an advanced degree.” The problem is that it can be difficult for large employers who want to hire military spouses to find them.
“We know that military spouses make great employees and businesses recognize that,” O’Grady said. “Through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, we provide a variety of ways for businesses to actually connect with military spouses.” Companies such as Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, as well as other big names in corporate America such as Verizon, AT&T and JP Morgan Chase are marquee brands that O’Grady said also have their eye on service members and their job-seeking spouses.
Officials say the inability of a spouse to find employment can affect the well-being of military communities, thereby affecting readiness and retention, which is why the department has been reaching out to corporations, small businesses and organizations to expand the network of potential spousal employers.
Resources available through the program include education and training, career guidance and mentoring programs. In addition, more than 1.8 million jobs have been posted on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership’s career portal.