Partnership links spouses with work

| July 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — Job opportunities for military spouses have been expanded under a new partnership between the Department of Defense and employers.

Microsoft, Home Depot, Starbucks and the Navy Federal Credit Union are among the nearly 60 corporations and companies that have signed on with the DOD partnership, said Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

“The design of this program is to bring together those spouses who want to work, with a web portal where companies that would like to employ our military spouses can find them,” he said.

The partnership is based on memoranda of agreement to hire military spouses, Gordon explained.

The partnership is aligned with the White House’s government-wide approach to military family support that involves an interagency effort to strengthen families and enhance their well-being and quality of life.

“Military spouses bring a lot to the table,” he 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.”

Their sense of team focus and strong work ethic are some of the attributes and characteristics employers are looking for in a 21st-century workforce, he added.

The job market has hit military spouses hard, Gordon acknowledged, and they face an unemployment rate of 28 percent.

Of the military’s 1.2 million spouses, he said, 80 percent want to work, but they have been held back by multiple moves and deployments. Also, a 25-percent wage gap divides military spouses and their civilian counterparts, he added.

Because of those factors, the partnership pinpointed organizations that could offer telework options and portable jobs, he said.

In setting up the program’s framework, spouses were asked what they would like to see in such a partnership.

“One of them said, ‘Don’t over-engineer things. We want to look for jobs. We want to be empowered,’” he said. “And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve devised a program that will bring spouses together with employers who are looking for their skills.”

Military spouses can visit the Spouse Career Center at for comprehensive education and career opportunities to support their pursuit of portable careers. Another resource is a OneSource consultant at (800) 342-9647.



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Category: Army News Service, Community

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