‘Who Is Going to Join Me?’ Spouse of Former Chief of Space Operations Encourages Enrollment in Career Forward

Mollie Raymond
Written by
Hiring Our Heroes

One second, she’s lending her support to match military spouses with “hard-to-fill career fields” in Space Force. And the next, she’s enrolled in Hiring Our Heroes’ Career Forward program.

Well, maybe it didn’t happen in seconds. But Mollie Raymond’s shift from Career Forward promoter to learner happened quickly. In addition, her commitment to learning in-demand skills available through a Google Career Certificate (GCC) with Career Forward encouraged more than 90 military spouses to say, “I’m in.”

“It just shows you how important it is to ask others to come with me on this journey instead of always telling people [to do something],” Raymond said.

Mollie Raymond head shot
Mollie Raymond

Career Forward Provides a Pathway to Start a New Career

Hiring Our Heroes launched Career Forward with support from Google a year ago. Today, nearly 4,000 veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members are on the path to completing a GCC with Career Forward.

This program is the first to provide a career path for military community members via Google Career Certificates. Available certificates include data analytics, IT support, project management, user experience (UX) design, and digital marketing & e-commerce.

In short, Career Forward provides a pathway for military community members to start a new career or level up a current career in under six months.

Help Military Spouses Connect With In-Demand Career Fields

Raymond’s Career Forward journey started when her husband, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, was the Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force. As a military spouse for nearly 35 years and with 19 relocations, Raymond knows firsthand the challenges facing military spouses. In her role, she promoted family engagements, community connections, and portable employment.

“Every military spouse regardless of branch struggles with employment, and it’s because of the nature of the lifestyle. The challenges of moving and licensing,” Raymond said. “The Space Force has recognized this issue and is trying very hard to help support military spouses.”

Christina Parrett, director of civilian policy and programs for the U.S. Space Force, pioneered the Guardian Family Career Program. This program identifies transferrable employment opportunities within Space Force. Therefore, spouses have remote work options, and the Space Force has the talent to fill in-demand tech roles.

“We are trying to help spouses pursue their goals with portable remote jobs,” Raymond said.

Panel photo
Mollie Raymond, spouse of Chief of Space Operations, moderated a panel discussion focused on military spouse employment at the Air & Space Forces Association’s Air Space, and Cyber Conference on Sept. 20, 2022. You may watch a recorded video of that panel discussion here.

As a Guardian Family Career Program supporter, Parrett invited Raymond to join her for a meeting to learn how Google Career Certificates provide a pathway into technical in-demand career fields. Raymond planned to pass the information on to other spouses.

“In that meeting, it was said, ‘Mollie, if you take a course, you would be leading by example,’” Raymond said.

Without hesitation, she was fully on board.

“By enrolling, I thought I could create awareness about Career Forward. And instead of just telling them about the program, they could do it with me,” she said. “I thought my participation would be so much more impactful.”

“Who Is Going to Take This Course With Me?”

Raymond took her idea to social media. She posted information about the Career Forward program on the Spouse of Chief of Space Operations Facebook page and on LinkedIn. Less than 24 hours later, she posted a poll asking spouses, “If you were to sign up for one of these sought-after job skills, which one would it be?”

“The next post was ‘One of these courses had the most votes. We’ll release the answer tomorrow. But in the meantime, who is going to take this with me?’” Raymond said.

In less than a week, more than 90 military spouses enrolled in Career Forward to complete a GCC in project management.

“Who knows project management better than military spouses? We are already multitaskers. We are adapting to change all the time and we are organized. You know, all the things it takes to be a successful project manager are inherent to a military spouse,” Raymond said.

“Who knows project management better than military spouses?”

Mollie Raymond

On Track to Complete the Certificate Next Spring

Three months into her Career Forward journey, Raymond enjoys learning at her own pace with the support of Hiring Our Heroes and other Career Forward learners.

“I try to do a little bit every day as best I can. So far, so good,” Raymond said.

Career Forward came into Raymond’s life at the right time. Her husband retired in November after completing his time as the Chief of Space Operations.

“I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for myself,” she said. “This came along at the right time, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.”

Space Forward Gen. Raymond
U.S. Space Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, and wife Mollie pose for a photo outside of U.S. Forces Japan headquarters on Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 4, 2022. (Source: Jessica Avallone/U.S. Air Force)

Raymond said she’s gaining confidence in her abilities thanks to Career Forward and Hiring Our Heroes.

“Hiring Our Heroes is devoted to military spouses, and it’s an honor to work with this program. We are very grateful as military spouses to have Hiring Our Heroes on our side,” she said.

Raymond is also making plans for her next career.  

“Even though I have an MBA, I’ve been out of the workforce for a long time. With this course, I’d like to prove to myself that I can go back to school to learn current topics, processes and information. Career Forward is growing my skill set on what I can offer to employers,” she said.

“This came along at the right time, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.”

Mollie Raymond

The military spouses enrolled in Career Forward because of Raymond’s social media posts are now her accountability partners.

“I never ever dreamed it would come to this. I thought four or five people would do it [with me],” she said. “It shows military spouses have what it takes to be successful, and we shouldn’t ever sell ourselves short.”

Additionally, Raymond expects to celebrate alongside the Career Forward learners in the spring.

“I look forward to saying, ‘I have this project management certificate.’ It’s going to be a proud day,” she said.

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