Kamiko Ritchey enjoyed her job as a health educator at the Fort Leonard Wood Army Wellness Center, but health education wasn’t her long-term career goal.
Ritchey wanted to be a nurse.
“While I loved what I did there, taking that job instead of going to nursing school was a hard, but logical decision that had to be made. We knew we wouldn’t be in Missouri long enough for me to complete a nursing program, so I had to put my nursing career on hold, again,” she said.
Then Ritchey’s spouse received orders to Fort Campbell. So, Ritchey enrolled in Union University’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program for students seeking a second college degree.
“After working at the Veterans Affairs Hospital straight out of school, I landed my dream job on an oncology floor at an HCA facility, Tristar Summit Medical Center,” Ritchey said.
Ritchey is one of nearly 1,000 military spouses hired by HCA Healthcare in the past year through the Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign.
Hiring Our Heroes, in collaboration with Starbucks, launched the Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign in 2018. This three-year campaign calls for companies and businesses, of all sizes, across America to make a collective commitment to hire 100,000 military spouses.
To date, 132 companies have joined this hiring initiative. Collectively, these companies have pledged to hire more than 25,000 military spouses.
“Since the launch of our Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign in June 2018, we have experienced the beginning of a groundswell across the country as companies have realized the war for talent has a workforce development solution in military spouses,” said Elizabeth O’Brien, Senior Director of Military Spouse Programs at Hiring Our Heroes.
Hired Without Hiding Your Military Spouse Status
As a Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign partner, HCA Healthcare has committed to hiring 1,100 military spouses annually in both 2020 and 2021. This hiring goal is an ambitious, but obtainable one, said HCA Military Affairs Talent Acquisition Lead Avery King.
“This is an aggressive target, but we are very excited about seeing it through,” King said. “Of course, we hope to blow past that goal.”
HCA Healthcare joined the campaign because of its dedication to military spouses.
“We believe it is a way for us to help the military family relieve some of the stress that can be caused by a spouse not having a meaningful career as well as relieve some of the financial burdens,” King said.
Besides HCA Healthcare, the other founding coalition partners include Amazon, Blackstone, Blue Star Families, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capital One, CarMax, Comcast NBCUniversal, HCA Healthcare, Hilton, La Quinta by Wyndham, Microsoft, Prudential Financial, Starbucks, USAA, and WWC. Visit Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses for a current list of committed companies.
Committed companies can either track their military spouse hires or they can identify current employees who are military spouses. Each company reports their military spouse hires to Hiring Our Heroes monthly.
Some small businesses are reporting as few as two hires. Other companies, like Comcast NBCUniversal reported 254 hires during the campaign’s first year. Booz Allen Hamilton reported 114 military spouse hires.
This campaign encourages military spouses to self-identify during job interviews with HOH partners.
“This gives the military spouses the opportunity to be truthful regarding their background and abilities without having to hide the fact they are military spouses,” King said.
It’s not too late for companies to join the Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign.
“We have found in most cases military spouses are more educated than the general population. They are dedicated and loyal. They can assimilate into a company quickly. We have found they excel in most positions they are hired into,” King said.
Up until now, HCA Healthcare has been reporting only military spouses who are currently married to active duty service members.
“However, we are looking into changing the wording to include spouses of former active duty service members too,” King said.
Identifying Military Spouses Who Haven’t Thought of Themselves as Military Spouses
Many Hiring Our Heroes partners are examining similar language adjustments to their military spouse hiring commitments. Companies are attempting to identify spouses of veterans, National Guard members and Reservists, along with military caregivers for the Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign.
“Our hope is this helps spouses identify as military spouses who perhaps haven’t previously thought of themselves as military spouses,” O’Brien said.
In this second year of the Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign, Hiring Our Heroes is asking military spouses to report when they have been hired, even if their employer isn’t a committed company. Many of these hiring success stories have been collected through the Military Spouse Professional Networks.
“It will allow us not only to gather more hires, but also to identify companies that may not be aware of our HOH program. We can then expand our reach beyond companies already in our space. We have wonderful partners, but it has been a challenge getting the rest of America to engage,” O’Brien said.
Securing a Home Away from Home
As an Army spouse and nursing student, Ritchey connected with HCA Healthcare through her clinical rotations. Once it was time to seek full-time employment, she was grateful to have that established relationship with HCA. Additionally, Ritchey felt like she didn’t have to hide her military spouse status during the on-boarding process at HCA.
“A lot of times military spouses can get push back because employers know we won’t be around as long (average two or three years maximum) as some other candidates vying for the same position. I felt nothing but support from everyone at HCA,” Ritchey said.
One benefit of being an HCA employee is portability, Ritchey added.
“HCA is an amazing company to work for because of the potential ability to transfer to other HCA facilities wherever you go. There are so many facilities worldwide, and HCA has programs in place to connect you with other jobs wherever you may get orders next,” she said.
Ritchey hopes she can continue to be a part of the HCA family wherever the Army sends her.
“I found my ‘home away from home’ working for HCA,” she said.