Bringing the Jobs to US
Last week in a conference call with military family representatives, major media outlets and other interested parties, First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new jobs program for military spouses and veterans. Eleven companies around the country pledged 15,000 jobs for veterans and spouses, and, as Mrs. Obama explained, “the vast majority of these jobs are ones that the spouses can do at home from anywhere in the country.” As military families members at the beginning of PCS season, we all know how valuable work from home jobs can be, and it seems this particular initiative was created with that in mind.
Part of the First Lady’s and Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces initiative and the DoD’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), this program is designed to bring jobs to where spouses are, not just today, but tomorrow, the day before a PCS and the day after you check in at a new duty station.
Granted most of the jobs in this initiative seem to be more entry level, and most of the companies are call or customer support centers, which might not be appealing to everyone. However, customer service skills can be applied to many different industries, and the ability to continue accruing seniority through several moves should not be discounted. Additionally, with a work at home career, “look for a job” can get scratched off the post-PCS list, leaving more time for “unpack all the boxes this time” and “make new friends” and everything else that comes with a move.
Looking beyond the specific jobs offered through this program and examining the driving forces behind it, one can’t help but feel that the message of the military spouse is getting through. In her opening remarks, Mrs. Obama described military spouses as “people who have to know how to do it all. They’re constantly troubleshooting and managing schedules. They’re dealing with changing circumstances and everything else that comes their way. But the beauty of all of this is that it means that our military spouses are often some of the most talented, most resilient and most employable people around.” And while, like everyone else, we all have our good days and bad, it was nice to hear an acknowledgement of how overtasked our lives can be sometimes. Add to that the financial stress or the anxiety of job-hunting every few years, and it’s not a great mix.
This new jobs program seems like a first large-scale attempt to address the unique needs of veteran and military spouse employment, to help connect spouses and vets with job they can take with them wherever they go. Additionally, efforts like this continue to help raise awareness with the business and civilian communities about military families and veterans, and the positive ways in which we can contribute to our communities and the country. As Mrs. Obama said, employers are “getting a better sense of how qualified and talented [military spouses and veterans] are, what important employment resources they are.” And there’s only good to come from getting that message out.
Anna Maria White is a Marine Corps spouse and the Public Relations Manager for Blue Star Families. She and her husband live in California.