While recent Defense Department actions have helped to put more money into the pockets of military families, for many, financial security isn’t possible unless both spouses are working. A dual-income household contributes to military readiness, allowing service members to focus on their jobs and not worry about their finances.
Department officials continue efforts to work with the business community to make more dual-income military families a reality.
This week, the DOD is hosting the Military Spouse Employment Partnership’s annual ENGAGE event in Alexandria, Virginia. At MSEP ENGAGE, which stands for Empowering New Growth and Gaining Employees, about 130 businesses will be inducted as new partners, bring MSEP’s total membership to more than 700 businesses, nonprofits and federal agencies.
More partners mean more job opportunities for military spouses, who bring a valuable perspective to the DOD. Currently, the unemployment rate for military spouses is at about 21%. DOD officials would like to see that number go down.
MSEP is a recruitment and employment initiative that provides companies and military spouses looking for work direct access to one another. Its partners range from international conglomerates to small businesses in military-impacted communities. MSEP is a program under the DOD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program that supports spouses through professional development, training and career coaching.
The ENGAGE event gives MSEP partners the opportunity to learn from each other to improve on their commitment to recruiting, hiring, retaining and promoting military spouses. The first day of the event will be dedicated to the induction ceremony and orientation for new MSEP partners. The second day will feature a town hall, presentations, panels and breakout sessions, and it will give partners a chance to network with each other and share insights, strategies and best practices for making their organization military ready.
Since MSEP’s inception in 2011, its 700-plus partners have hired more than 275,000 military spouses across every employment sector. And it’s not hard to find these positions, either. The job search section of the MYSECO website posts tens of thousands of opportunities daily for positions that range from full-time and part-time to flexible, seasonal and remote.
Many of these partners have created their own military spouse-ready leave policies and programs for transferring jobs. There’s also the MyCareer Advancement Account Scholarship, which was created to help spouses and MSEP partners by giving spouses a way to improve their skillsets. The scholarship offers eligible spouses up to $4,000 in financial assistance for education, training or certification in their field.
The ENGAGE annual event falls in line with the DOD’s Taking Care of Our People initiative, which calls for immediate and long-term financial support for service members and their families.