As so many military spouses struggle to maintain a meaningful career amidst repeated moves, defense and service officials and private organizations have attacked the decades-old problem of spouse unemployment from various sides.

One of those solutions is to enter into partnerships with private employers who actively seek to hire military spouses.

In 2021, there are 500 employers who have committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses, as a result of 86 new partners who were inducted Dec. 9 into the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership. These employers, who are vetted by defense officials, understand military spouses’ work ethic, their knowledge and education, skills and experience they bring, not to mention their flexibility and adaptability. Among them are an increasing number of federal agencies.

The companies have a wide variety of jobs available. They offer spouses the ability to move their career with them in a ways such as remote work, or a locations nationwide or worldwide. A few examples of some of the 86 new partners include Kohl’s and Chico’s; Allstate and Travelers; the U.S. departments of State, Education, Interior, Housing and Urban Development; and Boy Scouts of America. Spouses can search the job offerings of these employers on the MSEP website. At this writing, there were more than 210,000 listings.

Military spouse unemployment, which at 22 percent based on the last survey, remains higher than unemployment in the general population.

Since 2011, when the DoD MSEP program expanded from the original Army program, partner organizations have hired more than 175,000 military spouses. The MSEP is one part of a wide range of services designed to further military spouse employment under the Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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