What’s Behind the Military Spouse Employment Partnership?

Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy)

Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy)

We have always known that our military spouses are an amazingly talented and skilled group, and now we know employers are taking notice, too!  Through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), Fortune 500 “PLUS” companies across America (“PLUS” meaning smaller companies, government agencies, and other organizations in addition to Fortune 500) are partnering with the Department of Defense to create spousal career opportunities.  Since its launch on June 29th, the Partnership is off to a great start:  more than 5,600 military spouses have been hired, and CEOs from across the United States are excited to join the Partnership and connect with our diverse pool of military spouses.  On Oct 10, I will have the pleasure of welcoming another 24 companies to our growing partnership at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual conference in Washington, DC which will bring the total number of MSEP partners to 96.  These companies will join Microsoft, Hyatt, Amazon, CVSCaremark, DELL, H&R Block and many other marquee employers who value military spouses.   We are in the process of vetting an additional 146 companies, and every day we hear from new companies interested in this global partnership.   With 54,500 jobs posted on the site, we believe even more of our spouses will be working and pursuing their career goals within a short time.  I am excited to share this news with you and to have a chance to highlight the positive progress we are making on behalf of military spouses.

It’s inspiring to see such an outpouring of support from employers who are committed to our military spouses.  As MSEP continues to grow, I believe it is critical for our spouses to understand the process by which these companies are selected to join our partnership.  Since it can be challenging for a spouse on their own to find an employer who understands the demands of the military lifestyle, we place great emphasis on the vetting and training process we use with our MSEP partners.

First, we begin by making sure employers understand that our spouses need career opportunities that fit with their lifestyle – opportunities that are portable, mobile, flexible, and incorporate telecommuting whenever possible.   Before these employers are signed on as partners, we also ensure they are keenly aware of the unique challenges facing our military spouses, which can include frequent relocations, late notifications of a loved one’s R&R time, or being the only parent at home who can care for a sick child.

Second, MSEP is more than just a website for job postings; it is a unique, 21st century solution that brings spouses and employers together.  In doing so, MSEP levels the employment playing field for military spouses who must relocate frequently with their Service member.   Our military spouses want to establish careers and continue to gain education and experience, allowing them to reach their career and personal goals.  Our partner companies want employees who are motivated, highly educated, and tremendously skilled.  MSEP simply facilitates the connection between the two.

I am very pleased with the progress and success to date of MSEP.  As always, we must continue to refine what we do.  As we look to develop the next version of our website, I encourage you to visit our current site and share your thoughts with us.  What’s working?  What’s not? What can we do to make this site the very best it can be?  Your questions and comments can help us improve our tools and increase our program’s effectiveness.  Please join our discussion.

This is an exciting time for our career-oriented spouses, and the potential for more opportunities is growing every day. Until next time, be well!

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