By: Kevin O’Brien
As if having your husband or wife deployed in places like Afghanistan wasn’t tough enough, imagine having to endure that and being unemployed. That is the struggle many military spouses face, and it is high time more attention was given to helping them. The military spouse is the glue that holds the family unit together, pays the bills, attends the games and endures months of not knowing if/when their loved one is coming home, and it is no secret that they serve right alongside their spouse.
According to the Department of Defense, the unemployment rate for military spouses is an alarmingly high 26 percent which is more than three times the national average. There are some great programs that have been recently launched to assist military spouses as it relates to finding meaningful employment, and the First Lady and Dr. Biden are leading the way with their Joining Forces Initiative which has been promoting spousal licensing portability for military families and other initiatives.
The New Jersey State Senate recently passed a bill that would allow nonresident military spouses to obtain a temporary instructional certificate while completing additional requirements.
Today’s military spouses are skilled, diverse, motivated and extremely talented, and more than 85 percent report wanting and/or needing to work. With more than 750,000 active duty spouses, employers have a wealth of talent they can have access to, and would be well served in looking to add them to their team.
Another great program for military spouses is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership which is designed to help military spouses access career resources and connect with corporations who are ready to help spouses explore career options for their mobile lifestyles.
On May 10 which is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Veteran Recruiting Services in support of the Joining Forces Initiative will host the third annual Military Spouse Virtual Career Fair. Spouses will have the ability to meet live with employers from all over the country, from a wide range of industries and from the comfort and convenience of home. As an added incentive, VRS will also be giving away prizes including; $50 Visa gift cards every 30 minutes, a $200 Coach gift card and an iPad. Spouses are encouraged to register at www.veteranrecruiting.com.
We do not and should not need a special month to show our appreciation of military spouses, and all employers should look to veterans and military spouses when looking to add talent to their organization.