USAA and Hiring our Heroes team up to fight MilSpouse unemployment epidemic

Eye on Veterans
July 12, 2019 - 1:32 pm
Hiring our Heroes and USAA fight agains military spouse unemployment together

Photo courtesy Hiring Our Heroes

The unemployment rate for military spouses is four times the national average. There are a number of factors that play into that, chief among them the regular moves that come with military life. USAA and Hiring Our Heroes say those are factors that need to be and can be overcome. 

During an interview on the Eye on Veterans radio show, USAA Senior Vice President for Corporate Responsibility Harriet Dominique and Elizabeth O'Brien, senior director of the military spouse program at Hiring Our Heroes talked about the issues facing spouses looking for work. They both believe that a lack of public knowledge of the issue is a big part of the problem. If the nation, and companies, knew how bad it is, they'd be doing more to help. 

"Our numbers are four times the rate of our civilian counterparts," O'Brien, who is a military spouse herself, said. "If that was our country? We'd be in a state of financial depression." 

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Despite the sky-high unemployment rate, a 2018 report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows that the 690,000 military spouses in America are significantly more educated than the average working-age American. Dominique says that fact alone should perk up the ears of those looking for new hires. 

"So military spouses are this incredible asset that can be leveraged for employers, but are underutilized," Dominique said.

USAA is one of the top employers for military spouses and would like other companies to join them in sharing that title. In partnership with Blue Star Families, they offer a free "Corporate Playbook" which provides information and guidance for employers. 

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O'Brien also urges spouses to take advantage of all the programs and assistance organizations like Hiring Our Heroes provide to military spouses. 

"Show up to events, get connected, build those networks," O'Brien said while pointing out that having a second source of income is important for military families. "You have to be preparing for transition, as a family, pretty much from the day you enter the service. Because transition can come out of nowhere at any time. So we have to make sure our spouses are prepared as well as our service members."

You can hear the full interview with Harriet Dominique and Liz O'Brien below. 

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