According to a recent Department of Defense survey, military spouses have a 26 percent unemployment rate. As the military service member transitions to civilian life, their spouse is often in job search mode as well. While there is no Transition GPS course for the spouse (although spouses can participate on a space available basis), there are many resources available to assist them.
The U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored CareerOneStop website offers military spouses information on employment resources, education and training, and relocation. Click here to visit their Military Spouse Resources page.
Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) offers military spouses job search assistance and connects them with employers seeking their skills. MSEP is part of the Department of Defense’s broader Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) initiative, which seeks to strengthen the education and career opportunities of military spouses. MSEP creates employment connections that provide companies with direct access to military spouses seeking career opportunities and spouses with direct access to employers who are actively recruiting. MSEP currently has 129 partners who have hired over 27,000 military spouses.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) is a career development and employment assistance program that provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance to eligible military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or Associate’s degree in a portable career field. MyCAA is a component of the Department of Defense’s SECO program described above.
Spouses of service members on active duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2 who can start and complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders are eligible. The program does not include spouses of Coast Guard members. For more information and a complete list of eligibility, visit the MyCAA Fact Sheet.
The Spouse Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) is available for Navy and Coast Guard spouses. This program assists spouses in overcoming the difficulties associated with finding employment, especially during the relocation process. The SEAP offices can be contacted through the Navy Fleet and Family Support Centers or through the Transition/Relocation Manager at Coast Guard Work-Life Staff.
The Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) is dedicated to the job-placement and training of military personnel and spouses. Their mission is to provide military service members, veterans, transitioning military, Guard and Reserves, military spouses and caregivers of war wounded with employment readiness and job placement solutions. Not only do they offer them individual employment and training services in the job search process, but they then help connect qualified and prepped applicants directly to corporate and small business hiring recruiters for direct job placements.
The Military.com website has a Spouse Career page with resources and advice for military spouses. They also have a Military Spouse Career Center that allows you to search for jobs, career resources, and education assistance programs.
The National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) is a networking, mentoring and professional development organization for military spouses. They are committed to the education, empowerment and advancement of military spouses, and they provide information, mentoring, networking opportunities and career resources.
Corporate Gray Online is a website that helps military members with their transition and civilian job search. Spouses are welcome to setup a free account and use the job search services on the website, as well as attend the Corporate Gray Job Fairs in the Washington, D.C. and Virginia Beach areas. This blog and the Corporate Gray Linkedin group, called “Job Networking for the Military Community,” offer advice and information to transitioning military members and their families.
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) offers a range of programs to support the career development of military spouses and also sponsors a Military Spouse Symposium annually. The next one is scheduled for February 8, 2013, at the University of Washington in Tacoma. It will feature workshops, experts, and employers who can help military spouses with their job search, plan for work-force re-entry, or prepare for the next step in their career development.
MOAA also offers a LinkedIn group called “MOAA Career Networking” open to all currently serving members and their spouses. This group features weekly announcements to help military members and spouses with all aspects of their career development.
Two additional resources from MOAA’s Spouse programs are a monthly e-newsletter and their blog “Making it in the MilLife.” These sources have plenty of unique career content for military spouses, like the article, “5 Things Employers Want Military Spouses to Know,” and policy and program updates from Capitol Hill that are easy to understand and take action on. It’s a wealth of information for any military spouse who wants to make decisions for his or her family with the best information. Additional details on MOAA’s military spouse program are available at www.moaa.org/spouse.
As the military service member transitions to a civilian job, it’s important to remember that many of the job search resources available to them are also available to their spouse. Add to that the above resources, and hopefully that 26 percent unemployment rate for military spouses will improve considerably.
Help spread the word about these resources, and if you know of any others, please share them in the comments below or send to me at Karin@CorporateGray.com so I can post them.
About the Author: Karin Durkee is a military spouse whose husband retired after 22 years of service. She is the Social Media Director for Corporate Gray and enjoys presenting workshops to local Washington, D.C. military installations on Using Social Media in Your Job Search.
Special thanks to Monique Rizer, Director of MOAA’s Military Spouse and Family Programs, for her input on this article.