Digital Resource Guide
This Digital Resource Guide helps participants understand why Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones are important, how they work, and the best practices involved.
MSEEZ build robust employment networks for military spouses and develop workforces across the United States.
The working groups also act as a network of employers and service providers that can be utilized by the local Military Spouse Professional Networks (MSPN) for career opportunities, training, and an opportunity to expand their local contacts in a new location.
In 2018, Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) Military Spouse Program launched 8 Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones (MSEEZ) across the country. Each location was chosen for having a high population of military spouses and a strong commitment from the community to improve employment opportunities for this underserved population.
In 2019, the program expanded to include 4 more statewide MSEEZ that are within the top military populated states and one state that is focusing its efforts on the National Guard and Reserve populations.
In order to maintain the MSEEZ designation, each working group must meet a minimum of once per quarter to work towards the MSEEZ goals.
Some examples and best practices seen executed in the existing MSEEZ are:
- Identify Local Employers to commit to Hiring Our Heroes initiatives.
- Conduct informational interviews for job seeking military spouses.
- Work with the MSPN Leads in your area to connect with military spouses.
- Talk about your company, the culture, your role, types of positions, etc.
- Keep in mind that you are also trying to connect them to opportunities not just in your company but others in the community as well.
- Support Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Events with your company’s participation, including:
- Grassroots Recruitment Opportunity Workshops (GROW)- grassroots recruitment opportunities highlighting the collaboration between military spouses and military spouse-ready employers. GROW can be virtual or in person events.
- Military Spouse Networking Receptions – More informal opportunities for military spouses to interact with employers, Networking Receptions sponsored at partner companies are an invaluable way for both groups to make meaningful employment connections.
- Military Spouse Hiring Events- Combining a hiring fair with workshops specifically for military spouses, Hiring Events offer military spouse-ready employers the chance to engage directly with military spouse talent both virtually and/or at installations across the U.S.
Provide professional development training to military spouses.
- Conduct and host informal professional development discussions in person or virtual.
- Support the MSPN in your area by attending monthly workshops, giving a presentation, hosting a MSPN event, and ensuring that working group members join the MSPN LinkedIn page.
- Commit to reviewing resumes for military spouses- resumes submitted by MSPN Leads.
- Host an informal “office hour” and allow local military spouses to schedule a time to chat with you and have their resume reviewed.
- Host a training for hiring managers and applicable staff on military spouse resumes and the business case for hiring a military spouse.
- Present at your local chamber the economic impact of military spouse employment.
- Develop a list of SME’s from the Working Group and your network who will commit to a one on one (via phone or video chat) mentoring session with a military spouse attending Hiring Our Heroes AMPLIFY Workshop. AMPLIFY is a two-day career intensive workshop for military spouses where participants engage with other career-minded professionals and employer partners who instruct breakout sessions. At some locations, AMPLIFY is coupled with Career Summits to ensure attendees can meet directly with hiring managers.
- Identify new employers in your area and invite them to join the Working Group.
- Recruit employers to host fellows for the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Fellowship Program (MSFP), if in your area. MSFP is a first of its kind initiative that provides military spouses with professional training, networking, and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce.
- Use your business and professional associations to talk about military spouses (SHRM, business leader group). Write, present, and share data on military spouse employment and the economic impact of hiring military spouses.
- Attend local chamber meetings (most have Military Advisory Committees) on behalf of MSEEZ.
- Work with the local chamber to identify employment challenges faced by military spouses and implement local solutions, leveraging the local MSPN to support efforts.
- Encourage states to prioritize military spouse hiring.
Hiring Our Heroes has developed designation levels to help each working group break down priorities to meet the working group where they are on their journey. By supporting the “Advocate, Hire, and Train” model, MSEEZ locations will receive the following benefits:
- Designation badge for their MSEEZ page on the Hiring Our Heroes website
- Recognition via social media marketing materials
- Badge in email signature block
Standard MSEEZ Designation
The Standard Designation includes the minimum qualifications to maintain the status of an MSEEZ working group. Working group requirements include:
- Shared working group member list.
- 60% of organizations/businesses involved will register for the #DiscoverTheTalent initiative.
- Conduct at least two (2) outward-facing events to educate/advocate for MSEEZ per calendar year as defined as Jan - Dec.
- Meet as working group at a minimum of four (4) times per year.
- Utilize Employment Dashboard to hire military spouses.
- Invite Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN) Lead to the working group meeting.
- If there is a Military Spouse Fellowship Program (MSFP) in your area, invite the Program Manager to your working group meetings.
Silver MSEEZ Designation
The Silver Designation builds further on the Standard qualifications.
- Maintain all minimum (standard) criteria.
- Support local Hiring Our Heroes events as panelists and/or Mastermind Mentors.
- Meet as working group bi-monthly.
Gold MSEEZ Designation
The Gold Designation identifies the working groups that have gone above and beyond to tackle military spouse under and unemployment.
- Maintain all minimum (standard) and silver criteria.
- Create/Identify an opportunity for a shift in the military spouse employment landscape (i.e. “military spouse”as protected status, grants, licensure changes).
- Identify and recruit representation from businesses of the top industries in your area.
- Conduct at least four (4) outward-facing events to educate/advocate for MSEEZ per calendar year as defined as Jan - Dec. (*NOTE – if you are supporting a Hiring Our Heroes event in any capacity this counts toward this goal.)
- Do I have a working group member list?
- Am I promoting #DiscoverTheTalent to employers and community partners to help them hire military spouses?
- Am I planning outward facing events in the community or Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN) to support military spouse employment and education?
- Do I have a predictable and planned schedule for working group meetings?
- Am I using the MSEEZ Dashboard to connect with military spouse talent?
- Am I connected with the local Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN)? Have I invited the network lead to the working group meetings?
- Is there a Military Spouse Fellowship Program (MSFP) in my area? Have I invited them to the working group meetings?
- Have I volunteered to be an Amplify Mastermind Mentor?
- Do I know the prominent industries in my area and do we have representation from each industry in the working group?
- Am I connected with the base personnel? Chamber? Economic Development Organization? Workforce Development?
- Do I know where I need support from Hiring Our Heroes to accomplish these goals? Have I communicated these needs to the MSEEZ Program Manager?
- MSEEZ One-pager
- Hiring Our Heroes One-pager
- HOH MilSpouse One-pager
- LinkedIn Groups
- MSEEZ Dashboard
- MSEEZ Playbook
- MSEEZ Support Request Form
- Outlook Email
- Zoom Background Download
Hiring Our Heroes Tools
Marketing & Advocacy Tools
- Military Spouse Employment Conceptual Framework
- Military Spouse Professional Network
- Psych Armor Training
- Wellbeing In The Workplace Guidebook
- MSEEZ Slide Deck template – download and customize per location
- Military Spouse Program Overview Slide Deck
- Hiring Our Heroes
- Social media tile (can be made in Canva) – Files will be housed in the location specific MSEEZ Canva account
- Facebook – organize posting event in closed Military Spouse Professional Network FB Group (ex Virtual MSPN)
- Working Group
- Send email to working group to raise awareness about events and encourage sharing
- Post on LinkedIn in closed Military Spouse Program Group
- Send email to military spouses
- Share with local military installations, Chambers, and Economic Development Organizations