70 Employers Sign on to Hire Military Spouses

70 Employers Sign on to Hire Military Spouses

Spouses at a job fair
Photo by: Michelle Gordon

Seventy new organizations have signed on to partner with the Defense Department to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses, the Pentagon announced.

Gilbert Cisneros Jr., undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, welcomed the new additions, which include government, nonprofit and private sector organizations, to the DoD-sponsored Military Spouse Employment Partnership program on Oct. 25.

“I want to welcome and congratulate and thank the more than 70 new employer partners who have joined the Military Spouse Employment Partnership here today,” Cisneros said during an induction ceremony at an MSEP Engage 2022 event in Northern Virginia, according to a DoD news release.

“Today we’re celebrating your commitment and induction, and this marks the culmination of a robust vetting process, all of which clearly demonstrated that you, the class of 2023, are truly committed,” Cisneros said.

With the addition of the 70 organizations, there are now more than 600 participants in the MSEP program, which was launched in 2011 and has helped connect more than 250,000 military spouses with employment opportunities across all industry sectors, according to Cisneros.

“You’ve joined an elite group that opens you to the military spouse community and the diverse skills and talents that they offer," he said, adding that more than 40,000 military spouses had been reported as hired by MSEP partners since last October. 

At the three-day event, new and longtime MSEP partners discussed how new partners can engage with the military spouse community. In networking and breakout sessions, they focused on understanding the challenges military spouses face, and how companies can be more friendly to military spouses. 

For the first time, MSEP partners met with military spouses seeking employment. 

Patricia Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, said that as with most civilian families, military families need a dual income to make ends meet. She pointed out that with the frequent moves a military family makes over the course of career, finding steady, meaningful work is often a challenge.

“Our unemployment rate kind of hovers around 21%, which is far above the civilian rate, as many of you know,” said Barron, who is an Army spouse and a former director of Family Readiness for the Association of the U.S. Army.

With each move she made while her husband was in the Army, Barron said she relied on her own creativity and resilience, along with the generosity of those she worked with. 

“I do owe my employers so much because of their ability to support me and be flexible with my needs,” she said. “Partners, please know you make spouses feel very special. You give them a sense of relief, but more importantly, you give them a sense of self. ... I encourage you to go explore, get creative, get to know the military spouses that you hire, because you'll be very, very glad that you did.”

Barron also noted that many employers in the program have created military-spouse friendly leave policies or programs to transfer jobs as they move to a new duty station, while some have launched internal fellowship programs. 

“The sky’s the limit,” she said, encouraging more partners to “talk to military spouses, and find out what they need.”

Barron noted that programs such as MSEP support the goals of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who in a Sept. 22 memo pledged his commitment to better support taking care of people across the force.

For more information on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, click here.