Military spouses get help as they face unemployment
Thursday, June 28, 2012, 1:56:47 PM
When military members get change of station orders, they are guaranteed to have a job when they get to their new base. Their spouses, however, have to find jobs just like the rest of the population in their new communities. According to PolicyMic.com, the unemployment rate of military spouses is 28 percent, more than three times that of the general American public.
The number is high, particularly since 80 percent of the 1.2 military spouses want to work. They are held back by multiple moves and deployments, according to Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. He told the U.S. Navy website that the unemployment rate is unfortunate, given the skills many military spouses have.
"Military spouses bring a lot to the table," Gordon said. "They've volunteered and lead different activities on and off our installations. They are skilled, diverse, and know how to operate in a team environment."
That is why the Defense Department launched a partnership last summer with a number of employers including Microsoft, Home Depot, Starbucks and others to expand job opportunities for military spouses.
The partnership helps military spouses and participating corporations find each other through a web portal called Military OneSource.
First Lady Michelle Obama also recently made moves to help military spouses find employment despite their unique circumstances. Obama attended a bill signing ceremony in Chicago where Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made his state the 23rd in the nation to have legislation that makes career advancement easier for military spouses, The Associated Press reports.
The first lady spoke at the ceremony about the legislation, which will take effect January 1, 2013 and make it easier for veterans and their spouses to transfer state certifications and occupational licenses so they can continue professions such as nursing or teaching after their spouse is relocated with the military.
Obama explained that the bill speaks to "the story of the teacher who has moved 12 times, taking odd jobs to pay the bills, the story of the social worker whose skills go unused as she waits months for paperwork to clear. The accountants, the psychologists, the real-estate agents, child care providers and so many others."
The bill may affect nearly 100,000 military spouses who work in jobs that require state licensure or certification, the news outlet reports.
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