By Debbie Gregory.
Many military families require two incomes. Yet, approximately one in four military spouses is unemployed and looking for work. Part of the problem is that military families move significant distances every two to four years, and often live on or near installations in remote locations. A lot of military spouses often find themselves in a new community, unemployed, and not knowing which companies are willing to hire them.
Military spouses who are seeking employment now have another resource at their disposal. With the formation of the Spouse Ambassador Network, the Defense Department’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program has a new and inventive way to connect military spouses who are looking for jobs to employers, referrals and mentors.
SECO partnered with such organizations as the Military Officers Association of America, the National Military Family Association, Blue Star Families and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to create the network for military spouses by military spouses. The original concept for the network was developed based on guidelines offered by a group of military spouses who were well-established in their local business communities.
The Spouse Ambassador Network’s mission is to educate, empower, and mentor military spouses to encourage career fulfillment. This is done through promoting and sharing resources while facilitating effective relationships with local and national stakeholders.
The network is designed to function by having its members meet with participating employers and other partners every three months. The quarterly meetings will generate new and efficient ways to improve and expand the network, and otherwise assist military spouses in finding employment. The first meeting took place in July. At the meeting, the network developed education and career resource materials that will be made available to military spouses through the network.
But the program doesn’t just benefit the military spouses; it benefits the employers too. The Spouse Ambassador Network will give Military Spouse Employment Partnership companies and organizations the opportunity to expand their networks, to include Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program and partner information and resources. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership already connects military spouses with more than 180 employers who have partnered to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses.