What is the Department of Defense Doing to Help Military Spouses Find Jobs?

“A Senior Engineer” with General Dynamics at Pearl Harbor, HI and “Part Time Bartender” for Hilton Worldwide Chicago Downtown – what do they have to do with spouse employment?

Military spouse at job fair – See below for photo creditThe Military Spouse Employment Program (MSEP) kicked off almost a year ago and has more than 440,000 jobs available for a military spouse to search through for their specific needs. The DoD Blogger Roundtable spoke with Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy) as he highlighted the many successes of MSEP and how it has improved the lives of the military community.

With a 26% unemployment rate last year and an approximate 25% wage gap for the military spouses, the military and national leadership had to respond to this critical need.  While the 440,000 jobs listed are not military spouse exclusive, MSEP aims to insure that:  they are portable for frequently relocated military personnel and require a “level playing field” for the military community applicants. Each business agrees through a Memorandum of Agreement to share spouse hiring information, to provide support from their Human Resources department and build a mentorship program for military spouses.

The program has been driven by military spouse concerns, Gordon – “we listened to spouses” said the jobs range from part time to full time and include various skill sets. When queried about skill levels required for the jobs he did not know the percentage of jobs listed that required a degree but he did respond that MSEP is focusing on education, health care and government jobs, (skilled job skills that many spouses have earned), as strategic issues for the business partners.

Secretary Gordon at Ft Carson – See Below for Photo CreditIn less than one year, MSEP has resulted in the hiring of more than 20,000 military spouses! Gordon said that was more than $400,000,000 in income for military families that the program connected business partners provided. Wow! More details on the jobs through the memorandum of agreements will provided at the one year point in June. This will include the major issues of pay gap, portability, career tracks, mentorship, etc.  The program success can also be measured with the induction of 35 new partner members on Thursday, May 17th according to Gordon,.  With their induction 131 businesses will have become military friendly employers! 

What is the business motivation to participate in the program?

“Our military spouses are a great hire” with superior skill sets, on time workers, know how to operate in uncertain conditions, … but Gordon added that they want to improve the program and need our help. Feedback is critical to the program to ensure it is meeting the spouses’ needs.

Here is where to get started with your job search at MSEP JOBS:  
A quick review of the site found the Newest Jobs section including the Senior Engineer with General Dynamics at Pearl Harbor, HI and Part Time Bartender for Hilton Worldwide Chicago Downtown on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning it included Installation Manager for Dish Network in Colorado and a COBOL/PL-SQL Applications Engineer Humana Military Healthcare Services, Louisville, Kentucky  The site has a listing of job fair events in the near future available as well. Today, the job fair locations included Honolulu, Las Vegas and Virginia Beach. If you call the 800 342 9647 toll free line on the site, you will be connected to a Military One Source counselor who can help you get started and also connect you with other resources such as resume writing, interview skills and other job connected skills.

Military spouses are true warriors in the civilian job market and this program is just the right thing to do! One of the most difficult things for a military member to see is a qualified spouse denied a job because they are a military spouse! MSEP will open many doors that were closed and provide some visibility to the challenges that spouses face and have faced in the employment world.

MilitaryAvenue has some great resource information in our Reading Room with Employment Articles such as:

Employment Initiatives for Military Spouses
Spouse Tip of the Week – Looking & Sounding Your Best at Military Friendly Job Fairs
Employment Resources for the Military Spouse

If you would like a transcript or listen to an audio of this conversation with Secretary Gordon please go to DoDLive! A big thank you sir, for taking the time to talk and explain this program to our readers.

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Photo Credit: Emily Brainard
Military spouse Katelyn Jaber fills out a job application at Fort Rucker’s Job Fair last year at The Landing.

Photo Credit: Andrea Sutherland (Fort Carson)FORT CARSON, Colo. — Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of Defense, signs the Statement of Support during the March 21 Military Spouse Employment Program signing ceremony at the Elkhorn Conference Center. Gordon was joined by area military and community leaders including Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, second from right.byColonel KonWednesday, May 16, 2012Military Life:,,,

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