Military spouses face a higher rate of unemployment and underemployment than their civilian peers because of frequent relocations.
Hiring Our Heroes established the Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN) to address this challenge. With more than 70 networks across 27 states, Washington, D.C., and 11 countries, MSPN connects thousands of military spouses with career development and networking opportunities in their local communities.
This month, Hiring Our Heroes shares how military spouse Kaitlyn Vogel transitioned from teacher to instructional designer with support from MSPN. Vogel also explains how the demands of her husband’s military career accelerated her decision to leave the classroom during what economists call “The Great Resignation” following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Name: Kaitlyn Vogel
Status: U.S. Air Force military spouse
Location: Clovis, New Mexico
Job Title: Designer, Learning Experience
Employer: Adtalem Global Education
I Was a Third-Grade Teacher for 8 Years
Tell us about yourself: I am a creative and innovative learning experience designer with proven experience creating instructional design and e-content that engages, educates, and promotes lifelong learning.
I was a third-grade teacher for eight years before becoming part of “The Great Resignation.” My husband’s military career accelerated my transition out of the classroom.
I was planning to leave when I finished my master’s degree in instructional design. I resigned with two classes left. Teaching was not fulfilling anymore, and I wanted better for my family. So, I launched a new career in the EdTech (educational technology) world.
What has been your biggest challenge as a military spouse in the workforce? Working full-time when my husband is TDY, and I am the only parent available at our house.
Luckily, my current employer is very flexible, and I get unlimited time off. Now, I don’t stress if I need to take time off when my husband is gone.
I Design Online Courses for Medical Students
How did MSPN help you land your current role? I went to Job Search and Java, a casual event where MSPN members meet up at a local coffee shop. During the event, we help military spouses and service members with their resumes, job search, or whatever else they need.
I met Sandra Dee, who volunteered as the Cannon AFB MSPN social media chair, at one Job Search and Java. Sandra told me about Freedom Learning Group (FLG) and employment opportunities for military spouses through FLG.
Shortly after graduating with my master’s degree, Freedom Learning Group selected me for an instructional design contract position. The MSPN helped me get this contract position. When a full-time position with Adtalem Global Education opened up, I applied. Since I was already a contractor, Adtalem treated me like an internal candidate and quickly moved me through the hiring process.
Describe your role with Adtalem. I design online courses for medical students.
You volunteered to be a Cannon Air Force Base MSPN co-chair last year. Why do you volunteer with Hiring Our Heroes? After I got my position with Adtalem, I wanted to give back to the community that helped me transition out of teaching.
I wanted to help other military spouses transitioning to Cannon. Cannon is already an interesting base. I didn’t want spouses to worry about employment when moving to New Mexico.
“I didn’t want spouses to worry about employment when moving to New Mexico.”Kaitlyn Vogel, Cannon AFB MSPN Co-Chair
What has been your favorite MSPN event? My favorite MSPN event was our “New Year, New You” professional clothes swap! We had spouses donate and “shop” for professional clothes for the new year.
Also, we started a mentorship program at Cannon. Our first mentee was a transitioning teacher. I got her a contract position with FLG by emailing the recruiter who hired me for my first contract position.
I Did Not Heard About MSPN Until I Was Getting Ready to PCS
What advice would you give to a military spouse unfamiliar with MSPN? Try it out! I was one of those spouses who had not heard of MSPN until I was getting ready to PCS.
Everyone on the team is an expert in something different, so you have so much knowledge at your fingertips. I recommend every spouse find an MSPN network near them!
Where do you think you would be right now without the Military Spouse Professional Network? Without the MSPN network, I would still be teaching and stressing when my husband goes away for work.