We announced several new initiatives and partnerships at this year’s Military Spouse Employment Summit.
The summit, presented by USAA, focused on the importance of creating strong community bonds to help enrich and empower military spouses. This year’s event showcased keynote speakers and panelists from private sector companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
Paid Six-Week Fellowships for Military Spouses
Booz Allen Hamilton Executive Vice President Andrea Inserra announced that Booz Allen Hamilton is funding 100 scholarships for six-week military spouse fellowships. In addition to Booz Allen Hamilton, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Foundation (HSMAI Foundation) and Lockheed Martin are funding scholarships that will be offered in Hawaii, San Antonio, northern Virginia, and San Diego.
“We’re committed to helping military spouses build and sustain their careers no matter where military life takes them,” Inserra said during the announcement.
These paid fellowships will help ensure that military spouses get an immediate foot in the door with local employers and remove one of the biggest barriers to employment — gaps in employment history.
“We need to open the door to military spouses. Every company and nonprofit can chip in and support this,” Inserra said.
More information about these fellowships, including application deadlines, will be available in the coming months.
Connect Military Spouses with Federal Employment
“I have lived through PCSing while supporting my husband and trying to build my career,” Cheryl Mason, chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, told a reception of military spouses, government officials, and business representatives.
As a military spouse herself, Mason was pleased to announce a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Hiring Our Heroes. The goal of this partnership is to connect more military spouses with federal employment.
Currently, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals is the only VA entity who is a member of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. The Board of Veterans’ Appeal employs more than 30 military spouses.
Now, the board — in collaboration with the Veterans Experience Office and Office of Human Resources and Administration — will lead an effort focused on the experience, skills, and values that military spouses and veteran family members bring to their jobs.
This effort utilizes the Military Spouse Noncompetitive Appointing Authority to hire military spouses and develop telework and remote work options.
“This type of intergovernmental collaboration to promote the hiring and retention of military spouses, is important not only for current servicemen and women and their families, but for future generations,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Military spouses bring a unique perspective to the federal workplace, and I am proud that VA is leading the charge in this area.”
Hiring Our Heroes is establishing a dedicated Military Spouse Professional Network focused on connecting military spouses with career development and opportunities within the federal government through this partnership.
“Many of our military families are dual-income households, like most American families, and this partnership is an important step toward making a dual-income military family a sustainable reality with public sector careers,” said Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes.
Identify Barriers to Entrepreneurship
During a fireside chat between Grow with Google’s Military and Veteran Affairs Lead Bronagh Friel and Senior Director of the Military Spouse Program at Hiring Our Heroes Elizabeth O’Brien at the Military Spouse Employment Summit, Friel announced that Grow with Google is funding a macro study to identify barriers and ease access to entrepreneurship, remote work, and upskilling for military spouses.
Grow with Google is an initiative to create economic opportunity for all Americans by sharing free digital tools, training, and expertise. Grow with Google shares their tools through free resources, flexible programs, and in-person workshops.
Recently, Grow with Google turned an eye to entrepreneurship and remote work opportunities for military spouses.
Friel explained how Grow with Google team members went looking for research related to this topic.
“When we couldn’t find the answers when we were researching, we turned to Liz,” Friel said.
This partnership includes a deep dive into these topics through a macro study. The information analyzed will be released in a white paper to policymakers, employers and military spouses.
Resources for Military Spouses to Work Remotely for Their Small-Business Employers
During the inaugural Military Spouse Impact Awards Celebration Dinner that followed the summit, Military Officers Association of America CEO and President Dana Atkins, Microsoft’s Chief of Staff and Business Manager for Military Affairs Danny Chung and O’Brien announced a telework grant that will provide workstations for military spouses.
Microsoft will supply the hardware and software for the Military Spouse Remote/Telework Pilot Program.
To apply for the pilot program, spouses must prove military relationship and fill out the Remote Work Grant Application. Active duty military spouses must be employed full time with a small-business employer and PCSing within three to six months of applying. They must also have approval from their company in order to submit the application.
“With this program, we hope to provide military spouses and their employers with the tools to telecommute, thus keeping military spouses in the workforce,” Atikins said.