Hiring Our Heroes helps military spouses during their own transition

Kaylah Jackson
July 27, 2018 - 4:08 pm

Photo courtesy of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Finding employment as a spouse often means taking underpaid and odd jobs, or even having no job at all.  When you leave the military life behind, unfortunately, those career challenges still linger.

The Military Spouse Professional Network, an initiative under Hiring our Heroes, is an all-compassing web of programs designed to help military spouses succeed. Whether it’s an active–duty, reserve or veteran spouse, each career development or networking opportunity is geared toward tacking the unemployment and underemployment of military spouses.

“We’re happy to serve spouses at any point, even if the service member’s time is finished, that does not take away the effects on the military spouses career,” said Amanda Patterson Crowe, director for the Military Spouse Professional Network. “Life just changes after transition, you’re not necessarily on the email list for all of the activities on the base or the active duty families in your area.”

Crowe, who served in the Navy Reserves and whose husband is on active duty, manages the career development and network programs for the various network’s 40-plus chapters. ”Once a military spouse, always a military spouse, might as well be an unofficial motto,” said Crowe.

This year, Hiring our Heroes launched their Military Spouse Economic Empower Zones in various cities in the United States. Each zone acts as a partnership between local and national employers and the surround communities so that they can focus their attention on the mil spouse population right in their backyard.

“When we talk to employers or civic leaders or Chamber of Commerce, we’re constantly try to remind them what the military spouse population looks like,” said Crowe.

And who better to show employers what that population looks like than the spouses themselves?

Photo courtesy of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Patie Powers, a veteran spouse, who is the Tampa, Florida Network Lead for the Military Spouse Professional Network knows best the challenges they face on the job search.

“Whether it’s taking a job that wasn’t necessarily in your ideal career path, you do what you need to do to make things work out in that lifestyle,” said Powers.

Although she has a background in industrial engineering, relevant job availability when her family moved was sparce. That landed her positions in everything from customer service management to even market and pricing, all areas she didn’t necessarily have training in, but she adapted, so when her husband retired and the family moved to Florida, she wanted to get back in the workforce.

Experiences like Powers’ aren’t isolated, many spouses face those same difficulties. The Military Spouse Professional Network, formerly In Gear Career at the time Powers got involved, offered her employment resources that later led to her helping spouses who shared the same story.

From Linkedin workshops, to hiring events and intense career preparation, Hiring our Heroes programs value the contributions and experiences military spouses bring to the work place and elevate them so they can attain and retain meaningful employment.   

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