Since January 2018 we have launched Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones (MSEEZ) from coast to coast. Each community is able to shape their efforts based on the needs of the local military population. Learn more about the MSEEZ program and the unique activities going on in zones throughout the country in this episode of the HOH Sitrep podcast.
Top Takeaways from We’re Working at a Local Level to Solve a National Workforce Issue:
1. MSEEZ communities address military spouse unemployment and underemployment issues.
“We created the Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones because we have to create that conversation at the local level. It has to be a constant drum beat as we are in these communities because we can’t allow people to forget that this has to be addressed.” – Elizabeth O’Brien, Senior Director for the Military Spouse Program, Hiring Our Heroes
2. The program works to solve national workforce issues like child care and occupational licensing through local solutions.
“If we can figure it out for military families, we can figure it out for all working families.” – Libby Jamison, military spouse lead for Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone in San Diego
3. Challenges are the same for military spouses whether they live in Tampa, Florida or Spokane, Washington.
“They’re all finding that their problems or their burdens that they think are unique to them, are not.” – Natalie Ryan, Senior Manager with Hiring Our Heroes and Program Director for Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones
4. Military spouses feel they are alone in their struggles.
“You think ‘I’m the only one that’s crazy enough to try to work and be an attorney or a consultant and balance child care and balance this crazy military life.’ … there’s this whole community trying to do the same thing that you are and dealing with some of those struggles.” – Libby Jamison, military spouse lead for Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone in San Diego
5. Military spouses are great connectors.
“We’re great at networking with each other especially with social media, but then to bring in our industry partners and other service organizations to fill those gaps, it’s really going to make an impact.” – Natalie Ryan, Senior Manager for Economic Development & Strategic Initiatives, Military Spouse Program, Hiring Our Heroes