Milspouse Employment: What to Do (pt 5)
In the last few days, we’ve talked about the trials associated with finding and maintaining satisfactory employment when you’re a milspouse. Today, let’s get positive and proactive.
First, what can we do to change the status quo? I’ll list some ideas, but I’d like to keep the awesome conversation going. Please, if you have ideas, comment with your own suggestions.
- What can be done about discrimination against milspouses? According to LAW, the EEOC won’t touch this because we’re not considered a protected group. Department of Labor had never heard of our situation before. They suggest we contact our state Veterans Employment and Training Services if we run into discrimination. In the meantime, what’s to be done? Perhaps the issue of not being a “protected” group is something that the First Lady would take on. Perhaps this should become a bullet point in the Blue Star Families’ – and other military groups’ – activism goals.
- Would education help milspouses? Not milspouse education – employer education. Would it help if they knew what milspouses brought to the table? Sure, they can look at individual resumes, but will it register what a gold mine they could have at their disposal if they could get over the milspouses-move-every-two-years objection? Could it be that more flex-office and telecommute opportunities will open those doors?
- How can we let employers know that we are interested in career growth, and how can we make such a desire a real option rather than a pipe dream or post-retirement goal? Is this a matter of education, too? Or are we doomed to backseat priority after our spouse’s military career until the services choose to make us a real priority?
- More training opportunities for spouses whose careers have been eaten by the military? Would this help? What about training within our fields that will make us tastier candidates for jobs? Those of us with tons of experience and/or degrees/certificates/training to back up our abilities need more than a pat on the head and an offer of employment in a completely new and incompatible industry.
- When trying to effect change, one of the easiest ways to see that change is to offer incentives. What kinds of incentives can we, or our government, offer to potential employers?
Now let’s talk about what’s already out there to help us. Again, if you know of other resources, add them in the comments.
The first place to go if you’re Navy is the Fleet and Family Service Center’s employment assistance program. I know the local Army base has an equivalent program, and I’m sure the other services offer the same.
The following links are ones I’ve visited in the last several months, regardless of whether I found anything useful there. Your mileage may vary, and as always, proceed with caution unless you know a site is a legit forum. And never, never, never type your social security number into a job site.
National Military Family Association Spouse Employment (check out their Joanne Holbrook scholarship if you’re looking at school!)
Thanks to everyone for taking part in this conversation!