WASHINGTON, D.C. (AFNS) â€” As the wife of the Air Force Chief of Staff, Suzie Schwartz has the opportunity to meet with Air Force families stationed all across the country and around the world. And when she does, one issue that comes up time and again is spouse employment.
During a recent interview, Schwartz said a relatively new program called the Military Spouse Employment Partnership is addressing the career challenges husbands and wives of active-duty military members face.
â€œThe MSEP is really just about helping spouses find jobs,â€ Schwartz said. â€œItâ€™s teaming up spouses who need jobs with corporations and organizations that have jobs … and offering rÃ©sumÃ© services and interview skills.â€
MSEP is an initiative derived from the Army Spouse Employment Partnership. In January 2011, Presidential Study Directive Report-9 identified the need for a â€œunified federal approach to develop career and education opportunities for military spouses.â€ Based upon the success of ASEP, Defense Department officials expanded the program and opened it to spouses of Airmen, Sailors and Marines.
Spouses of any active-duty member can now take advantage of the initiative through the MSEP Career Portal on the Military OneSource Web site at https://msepjobs.militaryonesource.mil/.
According to MSEP reports, approximately one out of four military spouses is unemployed. Since MSEPâ€™s launch on June 29, 2011, more than 394,977 jobs have been posted by MSEP partners on the Web portal, and 20,529 military spouses have been hired by the programâ€™s partners.
A unique career obstacle that many spouses face is relocating with their active-duty husband or wife. According to MSEP officials, 77 percent of military spouses want or need employment opportunities, but find it difficult because of frequent relocations. That includes those who move to remote and overseas locations where family members are allowed to accompany the service member.
â€œWe move at the drop of a hat,â€ Schwartz said. â€œIf we were to network to find a job, thatâ€™s six months maybe that youâ€™ve wasted, and we donâ€™t have that (kind of time). Many spouses actually need that money, and they donâ€™t have that connection in the local community.
â€œThatâ€™s kind of what (MSEP) offers — some of that networking and assistance that you would have if you were living in a community for 15 years,â€ she added.
As a military spouse herself, Schwartz said the efforts the Defense Department is making to improve the quality of life for families by assisting spouses who seek employment makes her â€œheart happy.â€
â€œI remember the days of going (on job interviews) and people would actually look to see if you had a military decal on your car before they would interview you,â€ Schwartz said. â€œThis program actually brings tears to my eyes because I would have given anything to have someone help me find a job. Now weâ€™re not just talking about it; weâ€™re really doing it.â€