When a military family relocates, it can be difficult for military spouses to find employment. According to the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), approximately 26 percent of military spouses face unemployment. The MSEP helps connect military spouses with jobs or provides them with training to help them enter a new career field.
Military spouses are eligible to receive up to $4,000, or $2,000 a year for up to two years, to cover education and training required to enter a portable career field through a Military Career Advancement Account (MyCAA). Career fields that are considered portable include health care, education, financial services, hospitality management and skilled trades such as carpentry and plumbing.
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership program allows businesses to partner with this DoD benefit to provide jobs to military spouses. In 2020 THE Small Business Administration (SBA) joined the partnership with over 80 others bringing the total program partners to 500.Some of the corporate partners include:
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Armed Forces Bank
- Bank of America
- Citi Bank
- CVS Pharmacy
- DaVita, Inc.
- Dell, Inc.
- Express Scripts
- The Home Depot
- La Quinta Inn & Suites
- Lockheed Martin
- National Military Family Association
- Office Depot
- Time Warner Cable
A complete list of companies can be found at Military OneSource
When spouses register with MSEP online, they have access to the program’s Career Portal. This system gives a spouse the opportunity to build an online resume and apply to jobs directly through the portal. A search feature allows spouses to search all available job opportunities in their area and refine the search by job type, company, and industry.
Searches may be saved so that spouses are notified immediately of potential job opportunities in their areas or from favorite companies. In addition to applying for available jobs, individuals may send their resume directly to corporate partners to be considered for future job openings. Resume and cover letter templates are available to help spouses as they apply to jobs through the Career Portal and through other sources. Since 2011, over 175,000 military spouses have been employed by MSEP partners.
Through the MSEP, military spouses also have access to career counseling and advice. The “Ask an Expert” feature in the Career Portal allows spouses to ask their pressing questions related to finding a job and have it answered by some of the program’s career experts. Questions may range from what to wear to an interview to questions about how to get ahead in your current workplace. Articles on the website also provide spouses with valuable career advice.
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership also works with Military OneSource and CareerOneStop to offer career assessments to help spouses find their ideal career. Specially trained consultants help military spouses use the results of those career assessments and other information to develop education and career plans, find financial aid, and determine ways to gain any other necessary skills or certifications. When developing this plan, factor in any upcoming relocation plans, your current MyCAA path, if enrolled, and any relevant experience or credentials if you are prior service.
Spouses who do not have access to a computer or want to talk with a live counselor may also contact Spouse Education & Career Opportunities (SECO) by calling 1-800-342-9647. Through SECO, military spouses have access to career counselors, advice, and other career services. Although MSEP and MySECO have comprehensive online sites, utilizing on-base career centers and education centers can be very helpful. Check out the Military Benefit page links in this article to learn about all of the education and career benefits, scholarships, and programs that you may qualify for.
Tia Christopher is a proud US Navy Veteran. Christopher’s writing has focused on explaining military benefits in plain language and helping fellow service members transition from the military. Christopher was recognized in 2013 by the White House as a Woman Veteran Champion of Change.
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