What happens to a military professional once their call of duty is over? When a person in the military transitions from active duty to civilian life, they have access to a Transition Assistance Program. “The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides information, resources, and tools to service members and their loved ones to help prepare for the move from military to civilian life. Service members begin TAP one year prior to separation, or two years prior to retiring” (US Department of Veterans Affairs).
Military spouse experiences an employment “transition” with every PCS during their active military partner’s time in service. There are services such as career coaching, resume building, and professional education scholarships aimed at helping spouses adjust to a new place. However, there are few measurable statistics to show the positive effects of these services.
Studies have shown that military spouses who find work in a new station are often overqualified, underpaid, or under-utilized in their position relative to their civilian peers. Another hurdle spouses face is gaining employment at one assigned duty station only to find themselves in an entirely different labor market 18 months later. Many military spouses ultimately forgo careers or professional advancement, along with the ability to financially contribute to their families’ needs due to a lack of resources and support. This issue can dramatically impact a military family’s quality of life, as financial stability and mental wellness are linked to employment.
The influx of remote work resulting from the pandemic is beneficial for military spouses because they now have a growing remote workforce offering the ability to work from anywhere. However, some spouses may not have the skills necessary to apply, interview for, or perform the duties of remote work opportunities. To address the need for professional training, organizations like MilitaryOneSource and MySECO offer several online classes and resources to military spouses. These organizations have recently partnered with Udemy.com to provide career training to military spouses for FREE until June 29th.
According to The 2022 NMSN White Paper posted by the National Military Spouse Network: “NMSN’s work supports military spouses who need a job just to make ends meet during a transition. NMSN promotes inclusive collaboration on military spouse employment by advocating for all military spouses no matter where they are in their employment journey. Our goal is to offer perspective so that programs and initiatives are informed by experience and, in turn, are adaptable and responsive to the needs of our increasingly diverse military population.” Their website offers excellent information and several resources for military families.
It’s time for the VA, DOD, U.S. Congress, Department of Labor, and other federal departments and agencies to act. They have the resources to create community programs to assist military spouses. We saw proof a decade ago when they successfully turned the tide for veteran employment through community outreach and non-profit programming. It is time for these agencies to do more to address the devastating effects of military spouse unemployment and underemployment on our active-duty families. We need them to commit to redesigning existing veteran programs to include military spouses or to create new programs that offer more tools and resources to help military spouses adjust to a change of station. These programs need to be implemented with the same sense of urgency and vigor as when assisting veterans in adapting to civilian life, and they must include measurable data for effectiveness.
The MilHousing Realty Group is dedicated to finding a solution to military spouse employment issues and is always available to answer questions and assist military families. Please contact us at (210) 756-3553, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or look us up online. We’re on the move with you.