Trump directs federal government to improve hiring of military spouses

Matt Saintsing
May 10, 2018 - 11:36 am

Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA

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President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday, that makes it a little easier for American military spouses to get federal jobs.

"Military spouses have already shown the utmost devotion to our nation and we want to show you our devotion in return," Trump said at a White House mother's day ceremony honoring military mothers and spouses.

“Your support is essential to making our military the mightiest fighting for force in the world and getting stronger all the time.”

Under federal law, military spouses are granted hiring preferences for a range of government jobs, but according to administration officials, only the Defense Department has been lived up to that promise.

The new order directs every federal agency to review ways to better recruit military spouses, bringing them into the workforce.

“If we are going to be working with the private sector and asking them to hire military spouses, we need to lead by example,” said Jennifer Korn, a special assistant to the president and the wife of a Marine Corps veteran.

“And we need to make sure these military spouses are taken care of.”

Additionally, the order tasks the Office of Personnel Management to “increase awareness” of the hiring of these spouses and to issue an annual report on military spouse hiring numbers throughout all federal agencies and departments.

The order is remanescent of an Obama administration policy known as Joining Forces, which provided employment support for military spouses and veterans. But hours after Trump was sworn into office, the website was deleted from the official White House's website and only an archived version can be found.  

While the nation’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2000, the same isn’t true for military spouses. A survey conducted last year by Hiring Our Heroes found the unemployment rate among military spouses could be as high as 23 percent, a whopping six times the national unemployment rate.

These spouses are also underemployed.

According to a 2014 report from Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families one-third of military spouses said they were underemployed based on their education, and earned about 38 percent less than their civilian counterparts.