The spirit of the Fourth of July is ingrained into the American character. We celebrate our patriotism and bravery; honor the struggle and sacrifice of previous generations, and reflect, recommit and reaffirm the values for which our founders risked life and limb. And we celebrate our military heroes and service members, who are some of the best our country can offer. But this day, and every day, I will also be honoring the oftentime unsung heroes of the American journey: Military Spouses.
Military Spouses are gravity for the military community; they provide support, care and stability for our troops every day, endure deployments and countless transitions. Active duty service members are reassigned and move on average every 2 years, yet a Military Spouse Unemployment (MSU) rate that is 3-5 times the national average is unacceptable. Let’s raise awareness about MSU and focus on ways to fix it.
Redeployments are rarely a surprise and always disruptive. Beyond the pressures of moving a family, finding new schools, and finding a new community, military spouses often times have to leave their job behind. These families lose needed income and some spouses lose the opportunity to advance in their career.
In my day job, I am fortunate to meet active duty military and veterans and discuss how they can transition to a civilian career. One question that comes up often? How can I find my spouse a job or a better job. If this is a priority for our service members, it should be a priority for us.
Today’s military spouses are at the ready to apply their skills and fill open roles across the country. But we need to enact certain policies and remove barriers to make it happen:
- Educate industries and small to large businesses on the diverse talent pool that awaits to serve their missions
- Reducing the regulations and red tape which stall the hiring process
- Enact licensing reform to accelerate the hiring process
- Promote more digital/remote job training and educational opportunities for families in rural areas
- Renew our focus within local, state and federal chambers on the importance of hiring more military spouses
- Donate our time, energy and money towards training and apprenticeship programs
George Washington said, “A nation is judged by how well it treats its Veterans”; Our 650,000+ military spouses make tremendous sacrifices. It is vital that we remain concentrated on honoring them.