DoD Hosts Symposium on Spouse Employment

DoD Hosts Symposium on Spouse Employment

Job fair
Photo by: Michelle Gordon

Registration is now open for the fifth annual Virtual Military Spouse Symposium, which aims to connect military spouses to a professional community, resources and skills for career development. 

The event, hosted by the DoD Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, will take place April 27–29. This year’s theme is “Reflect, Explore, Act,” and there will be two days of online sessions dedicated to career development and a third day focused on relationships and work-life balance.

Spouse employment remains a concern for many military families, and programs to make it easier for spouses to find and keep work is one of the Army’s top quality of life priorities.

A recent report by the National Military Spouse Network found a “stubbornly high” 25% unemployment rate for military spouses, and the issue has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Blue Star Families’ most recent Military Family Lifestyle Survey found that since March 2020, 42% of active-duty spouse respondents who worked prior to the pandemic reported they had stopped working, with layoffs and furloughs as the top reported causes. Most of those spouses remained unemployed at the time of the survey in September and October.

As many as 36% of active-duty spouse respondents said they weren’t working so they could homeschool their children or supervise virtual schooling.

During the upcoming DoD virtual event, military spouses can explore self-care with the help of DoD’s Military OneSource program; learn about being your own boss and creating a unique brand; get tips on understanding and mastering the federal job search system; and discover how to maximize job interviews.

“We encourage military spouses from across the globe to take advantage of this powerful community and set of resources during this year’s Virtual Military Spouse Symposium,” Patricia Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, said in a statement. 

The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program is a “go-to, trusted resource,” said Holly Dailey, director of Family Readiness at the Association of the U.S. Army.

“I have seen first-hand the profound positive impact it has had on our military spouses,” Dailey said. “AUSA values our military spouses and the importance for them to be educated on and have access to resources, especially for their career development and employment opportunities such as the upcoming symposium.”

The event is open to all military spouses, whether they’re first-time job seekers or experienced professionals.

For more information and to register, click here. You can also call Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647 to speak with a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach.