Recently, fellow military spouse, Michelle Still Mehta, wrote a well researched article, “Silent Sacrifice: Military Spouse Unemployment in America.” This article has the right people talking about the challenges that military spouses face when it comes to our career.
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this very complex issue. And, sadly, many spouses are unaware of the many services available and they do not even know what to ask.
So…what should you ask?
Are you PCSing? Ask the installation’s family center’s Employment Readiness Program if they have a job posting distribution list or connections with local businesses that might have positions in your career field. Ask your network if they have connections where you are moving. Ask your professional organization to connect you to others in your profession where you are moving.
Do you know about your American Job Center? Ask your if they have any special programs for military spouses. Some consider military spouses displaced workers, which opens a number of services. Others have special programs just for military spouses.
Can you take advantage of a veteran program? Next time you hear about a veteran hiring event or program, ask if military spouses are welcome. When I did this, I found most of the veteran programs were thrilled to include military spouses. If they said no, I educated them about the military spouse unemployment and underemployment. In one case, they could not allow military spouses because of how the grant application was worded, but the next time they applied for the grant they included military spouses.
Interested in being an entrepreneur? Ask your local Transition Assistance Program to take part in “Boots to Business” or ask your local Small Business Administration what services are available to you (and check out their special military spouse page while you are at it).
Keep asking questions and reaching out. Do not give up!
What questions are you asking?
Rose Holland is the spouse of an Active Duty Army Reservist and is an advocate for military and veteran families. She has three adult children and has been married to her husband, Michael, for 30 years. She is a Certified Workforce Development Professional, Federal Career Coach and Job Search Trainer.