News: Job fair targets military spouse unemployment
Story by Spc. Adam Garlington
FORT BLISS, Texas - More than 200 job seekers and 40 employers gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes job fair for military spouses Dec. 4 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center here.
The Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program was launched in Jan. 2012 as a nationwide initiative to help underemployed military spouses achieve upward mobility in the workplace and decrease the 26-percent unemployment rate for military spouses, said Noreen O’Neil, deputy director of Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program.
She said the spouse program teams with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, Department of Defense program that evaluates businesses based on their commitment to hiring spouses and laterally transferring spouses to positions at their next duty station.
“When you move to a new location, the transition can be overwhelming,” said Tina Johnson, assistant employment coordinator for Dial America, a participating job fair employer. “If we have another facility where a spouse transfers, it will be an easy transition for their family.”
Veronica Morgan, unemployed military spouse and job fair attendee, agreed that moving often makes it difficult to find employment, but she said the job fair is an opportunity to learn from employers how to distinguish yourself during the job search process.
At times, it may be challenging for military spouses to find employment, but O’Neil said the spouse program links as many employers and spouses together as possible.
“Military spouses are resilient, out-of-the-box thinkers, overachievers that go above and beyond to get the job done,” O’Neil said. “When a military spouse comes to any of our events, they’re going to find employers that see all those qualities that a spouse brings to the table.”
She explained that it’s important for a military spouses to be employed because it helps them build an identity in the community, gives them the ability to contribute to family finances, and it makes their veteran’s transition out of the military easier.
“Hiring a military spouse isn’t charity,” O’Neil said. “Hiring a military spouse is good for business.”
For more information about Hiring Our Heroes employers and job seekers can visit http://www.uschamber.com/hiringourheroes.