WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, February 2 in Suffolk, Blue Star Families will stand in support of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Co-Chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, and the proud father of a Marine, as he announces new comprehensive legislation he is introducing to help reduce military spouse unemployment and examine the effects of recurrent moves and reassignments on military spouses’ careers.
“Senator Kaine is truly stepping up for military families with this military spouse employment initiative,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “Like other middle class and working class American families, most military families need two incomes. Due to the military lifestyle of frequent moves and high deployment tempo, we suffer from sky-high unemployment and underemployment. We believe Senator Kaine’s initiatives can be game-changing for many of our families and we fully support their adoption in Congress.”
Military families frequently face financial insecurity due to spousal unemployment, which impacts the overall success of our military. Somewhere between 12% and 25% of military spouses are unemployed. Late last year, Blue Star Families met with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine privately and discussed, among other items, the fact that there are between 35,000 and 55,000 unemployed military spouses in Virginia alone.
As a result, Blue Star Families and Senator Kaine convened the Virginia Summit on Military Spouse Employment with leadership from the Department of Defense, the US Army, and spouses of active duty military personnel on October 23, 2017. Consumer Technology Association (CTA), an organization that focuses on market research in the technology industry as well as provides a platform that unites technology leaders to connect and collaborate, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), the largest technology council in the nation that serves about 1,000 companies and organizations, were at the table as well as other major industry leaders. The event highlighted the economic and societal costs, as well as the threat to readiness and national security, associated with the lack of employment opportunities for the spouses of active duty armed forces personnel.
Military spouses were able to share the challenges they faced in their careers, including Carmen Emborski, an Air Force spouse. Carmen is unemployed in the D.C. region, despite a vigorous job market and her M.S. in Biology. She has struggled to complete her Ph.D. because she has supported her husband’s military mission – losing in-state tuition, frequent relocating (including an overseas move), and transferring paperwork internationally.
Kaine incorporated ideas from those conversations into the legislation he will announce on Friday.
To learn more about Blue Star Families research into military spouse unemployment, visit bluestarfam.org/milspouse-
Friday, February 2
Kaine to Announce Legislation to Reduce Military Spouse Unemployment
Old Dominion University
Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center (VMASC) – Room 1201
**Press interested in attending should contact [email protected]