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Two-Minute Take: The All-Volunteer Family
While there has been great attention to hiring veterans, spouses are often overlooked. Military Service Initiative Director Col. Matthew Amidon shares how this impacts the all-volunteer family and what businesses can do to help.
Why is it important we support military spouses just as much as we support our veterans?
Military families are crucial to the stability and health of our all-volunteer force and nation. They bear the burden, anxiety, and stress of their loved one’s deployment, and they are the ones who endure multiple moves. It's time that we start prioritizing military spouses and families care and benefits.
While there has been great attention to hiring our veterans, the spouses are often overlooked. In a recent survey, 30 percent of our military spouses were unemployed, a far greater percentage than Americans outside the military. And 56 percent of employed spouses indicated they are underemployed. Difficulty in finding the right job or career is crucial as 70 percent of millennial military families surveyed cited having two incomes as crucial to their families well-being.
Military spouses face great challenges when trying to balance their home life and find career paths suitable to their amazing skill-sets. Some key findings from a 2017 U.S Chamber Hiring our Heroes study on military spouses in the workplace found that:
- Many spouses are in part time or seasonal positions when they would prefer full time or permanent work.
- Military spouses with degrees face the highest rates of unemployment and the most difficulty finding meaningful work.
- Moves between duty stations play havoc on careers. Not only do most military spouses have to quit jobs because of a move, they face long periods of unemployment after the move.
- Like most American families, military families want and need two incomes – something that is much harder for them to achieve.
- The lack of employment opportunities creates stress and influences a family's decision to stay In or leave the military – factors that ultimately hurt military readiness, retention, and recruiting.
What can the business community be doing to help military spouses?
So much great work has been done on behalf of our Warriors but we must never forget that for many, it is the family that serves and transitions. Providing meaningful career pathways for our Warrior spouses is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
Businesses and communities can help out in many ways starting with:
- Getting more informed on the issues facing military families as they move, and acknowledging the tremendous skill set and leadership potential they offer.
- Joining the U.S Chamber Hiring our Heroes team and learn about their Military Spouse Program which partners with the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership (PSEP)
- Hiring our Heroes, in partnership with Starbucks and other companies, has launched the Hiring 100,000 Military Spouse Campaign with the goal of addressing the issue of military spouse unemployment and underemployment and provide real solutions for military spouses seeking meaningful 21st-century career opportunities.