Posts Tagged Military Spouse Employment Partnership
By Lisa Daniel
Oct. 11, 2012
The Defense Department is taking internship applications for a program that expands the availability of child care and youth programs, while also giving a leg up to jobseekers in that field, especially military spouses.
DOD and the Agriculture Department formed the Military Extension Internship Partnership in 2010 in concert with a major construction project that started in 2008 to accommodate the growing requests for child care and youth programs, Barbara Thompson, director of DOD’s Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, told me recently.
“We thought the program up because we had huge child care growth,” she said. “We were going through a big construction program and increasing the number of child development spaces and we knew we needed to do something on the employment side. We wanted to be grooming our staff along the way so we would have experienced people to take on the role of management.”
The MEIP is taking applications for summer internships between Nov. 30 and Jan. 31 on its website. Read the rest of this entry »
By Lisa Daniel
Aug. 7, 2012
Like many military spouses, Allison Lattuca doesn’t mention her husband’s Navy service as she job hunts with each forced relocation every few years.
“I don’t put it on my resume,” Lattuca told me at an Aug. 2 Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes’ job fair in Hampton, Va. “But if asked, I tell them the truth.”
Lattuca recently gave up her job at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Santa Barbara, Calif., to relocate to Hampton with her husband. “My job now is finding a job,” she said.
Lattuca’s resume shows a bachelor’s degree and years of work experience in investments and securities. But those years show gaps in employment that inevitably come up at job interviews. “Sometimes it does come back to haunt me,” she said. “They don’t want to put that kind of money into you, knowing you’ll be moving again.”
Lattuca’s employment challenges are common for military spouses. Thankfully, what is changing is employers’ willingness to deal with those challenges. That is due largely in part to the efforts of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, which partners with the Military Spouse Business Alliance, the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership and the first and second lady’s “Joining Forces” campaign to support military families. Together, this quartet provides a powerful support network for spouses who otherwise may find job-hunting a lonely endeavor.
What Lattuca and others found at the Aug. 2 job fair were people who understood their challenges – most either are or have been military members or spouses — and were willing to help. From a spouse networking event to workshops that gave career advice specific to them, spouses were among kindred spirits here.
They heard from spouses like Randi Klein, a former Navy officer whose husband served as a submariner for 33 years, who told them about In Gear Career, a nonprofit that gives networking and career help to spouses. And Stefanie Goebel, another former Navy officer, who gave a presentation on the Chamber’s eMentor leadership program for spouses and veterans. Then there were the hiring officials themselves. Nearly every organization seemed to have a person who either served in the military or was a military spouse. There was Andrea Hall, a CSC recruiter who was an Army spouse for 21 years, and Lockette Dickerson, a Navy wife and human resources associate for the Navy Exchange.
Shronda Walker, who is new to the military, said she felt optimistic after attending the fair. Her husband, Marshaun, joined the Navy 15 months ago and Shronda recently joined him here from their hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. They can get by on his income, she said, but she would prefer to work. They don’t have children and the days alone can drag on while Marshaun works 13-hour shifts, she said.
“I’d like to have something to do,” Shronda, 23, said. “There’s only so much cooking and cleaning you can do.”
Walker and Lattuca represent some 85 percent of military spouses that the Defense Department, Chamber, and Joining Forces officials say surveys show either want or need to work.
Lattuca isn’t surprised by the high percentage.
“Yes, I want and need to work,” she said. “We like to go to restaurants and the movies, and to maintain a good lifestyle. And, it’s important to my self-worth and self-value that I can come home at the end of the day and feel like I’ve contributed.”
The combined efforts of the Chamber, DOD and the White House are giving spouses that choice.
By Lisa Daniel
Tomorrow marks the start of an open season of sorts for job fairs for military spouses in what one Pentagon official calls the “high-touch” part of a “high-tech, high-touch” process.
Meg O’Grady was a military spouse herself, having moved 13 times in 17 years, when she began working at the Pentagon just before the June 29, 2011, launch of the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership. Read more. Today, she is its acting program manager.
The partnership hosts an online job portal where military spouses can search for jobs, post resumes and receive education and training, and where employers can post openings and search for new talent. The site has posted more than 500,ooo job ads in the past year, and has 220,000 ads on any given day, O’Grady said. That’s the high-tech part.
The high-touch part gets under way tomorrow as MSEP’s partner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, ramps up its “touch” tactics by sponsoring numerous job fairs in the coming weeks in military-populated cities such as Hampton, Va.; Minneapolis; Utica, N.Y.; Sugar Grove, Ill.; Lake Charles, La.; and Quantico, Va., to name a few. Click for the full list. The DOD and Chamber programs compliment that of Joining Forces, a program started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden that also works to improve military spouses employment.
The job fairs not only bring employers to job seekers, but also offer forums for helping spouses with resume writing, networking and the like, Laura Dempsey, director of Hiring Our Heroes, told me. Dempsey, too, is a military spouse, and so knew the potential of those who mostly have been an untapped resource in hiring. Read the rest of this entry »
By Lisa Daniel
Lori Volkman was in college when she confronted what some would approach as an either-or situation: marry the Navy pilot she’d fallen in love with, or head for law school for the career she was passionate about.
Volkman had grown up in a Navy family and she knew she couldn’t have it both ways – at least not at the same time. “I knew exactly what was involved in that,” she told me when we spoke on Monday.
Not only would frequent relocations prevent her from practicing law, “I didn’t even know if we’d be anywhere long enough for me to finish law school,” she said. “I knew as Navy brat that there was a very real possibility of having only two-year duty stations.”
So Volkman and her husband came to an agreement: he would leave active duty for the Navy reserves, and she would go to law school.
Volkman, the deputy prosecuting attorney for Clark County in Washington state, says she is both fortunate and atypical of military spouse lawyers. “I’m one of the few who have enjoyed working in the same place for 12 years,” she said.
Just over a year ago, Volkman signed on to helping other military spouses pursue their careers in law after Erin Wirth, a federal administrative law judge and Coast Guard wife, asked her to join her and Mary Reding, another military spouse attorney, in starting The Military Spouse JD Network. Wirth had moved seven times in 15 years, and sometimes did not relocate with her husband, to maintain her law career even when it meant taking jobs below her experience level, Volkman said. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by ldaniel in Uncategorized on May 21, 2012
By Lisa Daniel
May 21, 2012
Exciting changes are underway for military spouses that could affect families who serve for generations to come.
It used to be, in the not-so-distant past, that a decision to marry into the military was a decision to not have a career of your own. Even if a spouse could juggle the demands of military home life plus a paid position, who would hire her (95 percent are female, according to Defense Department figures) knowing she would be gone in a couple of years due to a forced military relocation? And how would she even get to the point of applying for a job if she had to renew her professional license – nurse, teacher, realtor, therapist, just to name a few with such requirements — in every new state?
Through the work of DOD’s Military Community and Family Policy office and Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s “Joining Forces” campaign, 16 states have passed laws to improve professional license portability and another 11 have legislation pending. Also, DOD’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership last week added 34 employer “partners” for a total of 128 that post jobs on the site specific to military spouses. As part of the program, the employers – CACI, General Dynamics, Dell, Microsoft, American Red Cross, GEICO, and Sterling Medical are just a few — agree that their positions can move with hired spouses.
The catalyst for change has been the spouses themselves who spoke up about the need. Indeed, DOD officials say 85 percent of military spouses have responded that they either want or need a paid job. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by in Family Matters on April 5, 2012
By Elaine Sanchez
April 4, 2012
First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday unveiled a new hiring effort that will deliver thousands of portable, flexible job opportunities to military spouses.
Eleven companies have pledged more than 15,000 jobs for military spouses and veterans, the first lady said. The good news for spouses is the vast majority of these jobs – in areas such as customer support and telemarketing — can be accomplished from home.
Other jobs will be in contact centers located near military installations, and offer family-friendly scheduling, growth opportunities and the ability to transfer seamlessly from one center to another
This commitment will make a “huge difference” for military spouses, Obama said during a teleconference announcing this effort. “Having an opportunity to have a decent job … is one of the most important ways we can support these families,” she said.
Posted by in Family Matters on February 13, 2012
By Elaine Sanchez
Feb. 13, 2012
Over the past year, veterans and military spouses have been invited to a host of career fairs across the nation that connect dozens of employers seeking to support the military community with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of job-seeking troops and spouses.
While face-to-face exposure is an asset, many career seekers aren’t able to attend these fairs, whether it’s due to distance, finances or life demands.
Hoping to fill this opportunity gap, organizations are forgoing local fairs in favor of online offerings. With the only potential barrier being Internet access, virtual career fairs and other online job resources are steadily gaining popularity.
Milicruit, a sponsor of virtual career fairs, hosted a national career fair in November that attracted about 80 employers and more than 30,000 job seekers.
They’ll host another nationwide virtual career fair for service members, veterans and military spouses Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST.
Posted by in Family Matters on December 8, 2011
By Alicia Brown
Dec. 8, 2011
Army Sgt. 1st Class Lizandro Mateo-Ortiz suffered serious injuries when he was run over while serving in Iraq in 2007. At the time, he was the family’s sole breadwinner, supporting his wife and two teenage daughters.
Suddenly, Milena Mateo-Ortiz found her life changed. She now had to find a way to support her family, and knew education was the answer. Their daughter, Stephanie, decided to postpone her college experience so that her mom could earn a degree.
Milena now has a bachelor’s degree in health administration, and is working on her master’s degree, thanks to the generosity of companies and organizations such as Dominion Virginia Power, which recently presented $250,000 to the National Military Family Association. NMFA provides scholarships to military spouses like Milena, who wish to improve their education and become more employable.
Military spouses don’t always fare well against the civilian workforce. According to the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership, 85 percent of military spouses want or need to work, and military wives earn 25 percent less than their civilian counterparts. The program is one of many that experts encourage spouses to seek out for guidance, information and empowerment.
Without the assistance, Milena said, she couldn’t have afforded to pursue a degree that will land her a good enough job to support her daughters and her husband, who remains on a feeding tube. Now she’s also well on her way to what will be a proud accomplishment when she graduates in 2013.
Posted by in Family Matters on July 11, 2011
Deborah Mullen, a Navy wife and mom and a military family advocate, has been married to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for 40 years.
By Deborah Mullen
I recently attended the launch of the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), a program that will expand career opportunities for military spouses among companies that are eager to hire them.
Fifteen companies joined the partnership June 29, giving MSEP a total of 72 employers who have committed to hiring America’s military spouses.
The ceremony, co-hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, marked the beginning of a new and important chapter in the story of military spouse employment. But, sadly, that story has not always been a happy one.
Many spouses seeking jobs have been turned away, not for lack of qualification or training, but because their loved one’s work requires them to move so much.
Many have had to accept jobs for which they were over-qualified and conversely, been denied employment for the same reason.
Many never had the chance — and still don’t — just to be interviewed, to have the opportunity to tell a prospective employer how much of an asset they could be to the company.
More than one spouse has told me: “All I wanted was to get in the door — to be judged on my merits, my qualifications and my strengths.”
Those living overseas face a similar set of challenges, as they struggle to compete with regulations that prefer the hiring of local nationals.
And too many of our wives and husbands here at home — including Gold Star spouses — have found the rules governing the Federal spouse hiring preference difficult to navigate, even when a job for which they are applying is listed as unfilled.
Surely, these challenges can be overcome. Most of them are bureaucratic, crafted with the best of intentions but perhaps with little thought to the unintended consequences they impel.
Any decision to hire someone represents a risk. We all know that. That’s why it’s such an important decision for any employer to make. They are taking a gamble on someone they don’t know.
Our spouses understand that, too. They aren’t asking for rules to be broken or for regulations to be cast aside. They know the economy is tough out there — that other really good, really smart people are looking for work.
This isn’t about entitlement for them. It’s about opportunity. Military spouses just want the same shot everyone else gets to take.
With the launch of this partnership, we are instituting change on their behalf. We’re making it easier for them to find work, and perhaps a little less frightening for employers to take that gamble and find the talent so resident in our ranks.
We all know that a job is so much more than a paycheck — it is respect and dignity and self-empowerment. It is the triumph of ability over disability, and the defeat of impoverishment … not just the impoverishment of one’s finances, but also of one’s spirit.
If this partnership lives up to expectations, we’ll go far to enrich that spirit.
Posted by in Family Matters on June 30, 2011
By Elaine Sanchez
June 30, 2011
Yesterday, I attended the launch of the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Through this new program, officials hope to expand career opportunities for military spouses worldwide, and to recognize the numerous job skills and talents they bring to the table.
More than 70 employers already have signed on with the partnership, signifying their commitment to increase employment opportunities for military spouses, provide promotion opportunities to deserving spouse employees, ensure pay equity and spread the word about spousal support.
Partners also have pledged to post job opportunities on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Web portal located on OurMilitary.mil.
After the ceremony, I spoke with several military spouses, who unanimously voiced their approval of this new program.
“We have very valuable skills to bring to the private sector, the public sector, the nonprofit sector,” said Navy spouse Vivian Greentree. “This employment partnership is just opening a door where there wasn’t one before, and the military spouses are going to rush through it.
“This is a very powerful message for military spouses who by and large feel mostly discriminated against because of their military spouse status,” she added.
Pamela Stokes-Eggleston, spouse of wounded warrior retired Army Staff Sgt. Charles Eggleston, recalled when her husband was recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She was laid off at the time, and had a tough time finding a job with a wounded warrior husband, she said, and also was considered overqualified for most available jobs.
“There wasn’t this kind of support you see here today,” she said. “I’m excited as a spouse of a wounded warrior that MSEP is actually going. This is a good step in the right direction.”
Air Force spouse Sandy Cazares said she has changed careers several times during her husband’s 10-year military career. “It’s great to give military spouses the opportunity to actually be heard,” she said, “to be given the chance to be able to be recognized for our accomplishments, our education level, and also take into account the fact that it’s often out of our hands when we have to move.”
Her husband, she added, is preparing to deploy and she will have to pursue yet another career to provide a better work-life balance for their children.
“I think this is a great opportunity for all military spouses — a greatly underappreciated population in the military,” Cazares’ husband said. “Seeing that now, regardless of what base we move to around the world, she has opportunities is a great advancement for military spouses in general.”
Kristi Hamrick, an Air Force spouse who has moved 11 times in 17 years, agreed. “It will make our lives as military spouses so much easier, because right before you move, there’s that ramp up of getting that resume ready and all that on top of moving. If you can get a job where you have another job waiting on the other end … that would reduce so much stress.”
“I’m overwhelmed,” added Jennifer Pilcher, wife of Navy Cmdr. Eddie Pilcher. “I truly think it’s the first time in history that the military spouse has been recognized. To sit here and hear the program is for us is overwhelming and exciting.”
Barbara Thompson, director of the Pentagon’s office of family policy/children and youth, also lauded the new program. “We’ve had spouse employment programs over the years at family support centers, but this is the first organized program across the military services,” she said. “It’s leveraging all of the military services to get these corporations.
“This is just the opening for all America to step up to the plate to tap into this incredible work force.”
For more on this program, read my American Forces Press Service article, DOD Launches Military Spouse Employment Partnership, or visit ourmilitary.mil.