Report: Military spouses’ job opportunities often hit obstacles

Military spouses—numbering over 605,000 in active duty families alone—could use more help from federal, state and other authorities in finding and keeping good gainful employment in fields in which they possess expertise.

That’s the finding of a new Government Accountability Office report, which offers both analysis and recommendations on how the situation can be improved.

For example, a quarter of military spouses whose work requires credentials—especially state licenses—were unemployed, at least in part according to the analysis because of unnecessary obstacles to making these credentials more portable. State authorities and the DOD could help in this regard.

“Thirty-four states could increase their use of interstate compacts, which allow spouses in certain career fields, such as nursing, to work in multiple states without relicensing,” the report found.

“Frequent moves and difficulty transferring occupational licenses are some of the challenges that … spouses may face when pursuing careers,” the report noted.

The report also faulted DOD for inadequate coaching and advising resources.

“The Department of Defense offers various resources, like virtual career coaching, to help military spouses find jobs,” the report concluded. “But inconsistent information-sharing across DOD limits the effectiveness of outreach about these resources.”

The report duly noted that DOD did engage in outreach to military families to help military spouses obtain and keep suitable jobs. However, these efforts were often inadequate.

There is “inconsistent information sharing across DOD and with external stakeholders who help spouses with employment,” the GAO found. Such problems “hindered the effectiveness of outreach.”

Overall, appropriate information gathering and sharing was cited as lacking—a circumstance that DOD should remedy, the report said.

“Without strategies for sharing information among internal and external stakeholders, DOD may miss opportunities to increase spouses' awareness of available resources, and improve their employment opportunities,” the report stated.

Reader comments

Tue, Feb 2, 2021

My sister is a military spouse in Miami Fl. She has been there over two years unemployeed. She was a federal employee for over 10 years. She worked for Bayer for nearly 7 years and she has applied for countless Federal jobs in Miami Fl and been denied without even getting a interview. Something needs to be done.

Mon, Feb 1, 2021

Probably a lot worse problem now as the pandemic makes everything in the economy worse.

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