Military spouses face a higher rate of unemployment and underemployment than their civilian peers due to frequent relocations.
In response to military spouse unemployment, Hiring Our Heroes established the Military Spouse Fellowship Program in 2017. The program provides military spouses with professional training, networking, and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce. The direct connection to local employers enables military spouses to quickly build their networks and gain localized job experience.
More than 330 military spouses participated in the Military Spouse Fellowship Program (MSFP) with nearly 100 host companies in 2022. The current job offer rate is 91% for participants. The average starting salary is $69,000.
This month, Hiring Our Heroes is sharing Marivel Ramos’ Military Spouse Fellowship Program success story. Ramos shares the frustration she experienced applying for job openings and how the fellowship orchestrated her seamless transition from intern to employee with a competitive salary.
Name: Marivel Ramos
Status: U.S. Army military spouse
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Current location: San Antonio, Texas
Current job title: Project Control Analyst
Current employer: Mears Group
Tell us about yourself.
I have a Bachelor of Science in business management. I have extensive experience in customer service and sales. My last role was as a quality assurance analyst with Piedmont Natural Gas in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
What has been your biggest challenge as a military spouse in the workforce?
The biggest challenge is finding a new job every time a PCS comes up. Taking entry-level jobs and starting over with every move is a struggle.
How did you hear about the Military Spouse Fellowship Program?
The Mears Group was already on my radar as a potential company I wanted to work for when I moved to San Antonio in 2021. I applied for some jobs without Hiring Our Heroes’ help. I never heard back from them.
In August 2022, I attended the two-day Hiring Our Heroes’ Joint Base San Antonio Career Summit. On the first day, I listened to a Military Spouse Professional Network roundtable. That’s where I first heard about Hiring Our Heroes and the fellowship for military spouses.
Everyone in the world can apply for this job, but one connection can make sure military spouses can have the opportunity to fight for a job.Marivel Ramos
During this roundtable, I learned the fellowship wasn’t just for an entry-level job, and this caught my attention. I knew I could get an entry-level job. The Hiring Our Heroes program managers said they had connections for higher-level positions, and I said, ‘okay, I’ll give it a try.’
Then, I met a representative from the Mears Group at the hiring fair. I told him I was interested in working at Mears.
My fellowship and job offer came together because Hiring Our Heroes had an event in San Antonio. I know I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without attending it.
What was your goal for the fellowship?
My goal was to land a remote job in a professional career with compensation equal to my experience and education.
Through the fellowship program, military spouses connect with available roles at employers. How did this process go for you?
The moment my fellowship application was released, a Mears representative contacted me. He said, “I have the perfect job for you.”
What was the interview process?
The panel interview I had with the Mears Group was the hardest job interview I’ve ever had. The panel was made up of the people I would be working with, and they asked some hard and very specific questions.
I wasn’t expecting this type of intense interview. I was prepared, but I wasn’t expecting it because I told myself, “It’s just a fellowship. I’m just a fellow.”
When did you receive a job offer from your host company?
Around week five of the fellowship, HR reached out with my job offer, and I accepted. It was super easy.
There wasn’t a day between the fellowship and starting the job. As soon as the fellowship ended, I had day one on the job.
How did Hiring Our Heroes help you?
I would not have had the opportunity to get this job without the help of Hiring Our Heroes. I know it wouldn’t have happened.
Hiring Our Heroes has the connections with companies like Mears, and connections make employment possible.
Everyone in the world can apply for this job, but one connection can make sure military spouses can have the opportunity to fight for a job. Without Hiring Our Heroes and the fellowship program, we may not have the opportunity.