Military spouse unemployment and underemployment are persistent concerns within the military community and are now a threat to military readiness and national security. For decades, military spouses have endured an unemployment rate of 20% or higher. The well-documented factors include frequent relocations, increased family responsibilities when a partner is deployed, limited employment options near military bases, and child care. This crisis has significant implications for our nation’s All-Volunteer Force, including financial instability and the decreased recruitment and retention of service members.
The 4+1 Commitment is a way for employers to voluntarily commit to improving military spouse employment outcomes.
Learn More About the 4+1 Commitment
Adopt at least ONE:
Adopt at least ONE:
Offer remote or telework
Offer flexible work hours
Provide paid or permissive Permanent Change of Station (PCS) leave
Consider joining an existing government spouse employment program
The Original Signatories
Starbucks is the first signer of the 4+1 Commitment and is a founding member of the Do Your Part coalition. In 2023, Starbucks bolstered support for military spouse employees by launching a transfer program to promote retention through a military move!
4+1 The Missing Link
The Missing Link
”We don’t just need spouses to have jobs. We need them to be able to keep those jobs, and turn them into careers. Hiring our Heroes and Blue Star Families are asking for 1,000 companies to commit to retaining more spouses. It’s ambitious, but together we can achieve it. And everyone in this room has a role in making this vision a reality.”
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden
“Spouse. Employment isn't just the right thing to do in 2023. It's an essential part of our military's readiness.”
The Honorable Alex Wagner
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
“Today, the Department of Defense must recruit and retain families. Who will we lose if we can't find flexible professional employment for our spouses and appropriate childcare for our children?”
Spouse of the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“That is what the four plus one initiative does. It brings the community together to focus on a few common sense practices and policies to help military spouses as they search for and maintain careers. And I think we all would agree that military spouses shouldn't have to choose between a life of service, their life of service and their career.”
Co-Founder & CEO, Blue Star Families
“We are facing a national crisis in military spouse unemployment. The 4+1 initiative will serve as a rallying cry to raise much needed awareness and provide pathways to meaningful careers for military spouses, especially those that are remote and portable.”
Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President of Hiring Our Heroes
“Our mission as a company is that with every cup, with every conversation, with every community, we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection. And for us, nothing can be more endearing than the connection we have with our partners, with the communities that we serve. One of those communities is the military and veterans community, and for there we have among our promises a bridge to a better future…I'm so grateful to join my other fellow original signatories and also making sure that Starbucks is able to lead the way and doing it all the way on behalf of this community. So we are grateful to both Blue Star and also hiring our heroes for allowing us to be here today.”
AJ Jones II
Starbucks Executive Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs
“All communities are important to Nextdoor. The military population is especially important to next door because we know that they are looking for a sense of belonging and to feel welcomed in their new community when they settle in and next door is uniquely positioned to help them establish those meaningful connections in their local communities and get things done quickly and easily, like finding employment, whether that's full time or part time.”
Global Head of Consumer Marketing and Managing Director, Nextdoor
“Well, this is necessary because I personally feel I owe it to military families, vets and so on. We owe them a lot. We can't forget them. And, you know, like I like to tell people a nerd's got to do what a nerd's got to do.”
Founder craigslist & craig newmark philanthropies
Do Your Part: End The Military Spouse Unemployment Crisis
December 6, 2023
The two organizations presented the 4+1 Commitment, a first-of-its-kind, nationwide effort to tackle the 21% unemployment rate among military spouses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Blue Star Families and Hiring Our Heroes, in partnership with the Department of Defense's Military Spouse Employment Partnership, will provide a unique badge of distinction for 4+1 signatories.
The 4+1 Commitment: A Formula for Military Spouse Success is presented by Blue Star Families and Hiring Our Heroes in partnership with the Department of Defense's Military Spouse Employment Partnership. The initiative is launched as part of Blue Star Families' Do Your Part campaign, made possible by craig newmark philanthropies.