One Year Later: How Trump’s Executive Order Is Matching Military Spouses with Federal Jobs

military spouse filling out application
Written by

Military spouses – the Department of Labor wants to hire you.

“We want to hire more military spouses in the federal government, specifically in DOL,” said Tim Green, director of DOL’s Office of Strategic Outreach.

Nearly a year ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to apply the noncompetitive hiring authority to military spouses. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes President Eric Eversole and HOH Senior Director of the Military Spouse Program Elizabeth O’Brien attended the executive order signing ceremony in the White House on May 9, 2018.

Hiring Our Heroes' Elizabeth O'Brien and Eric Eversole look on as U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order supporting military spouse unemployment during a celebration of military mothers and spouses event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2018.

O’Brien noted that this executive order was a win, not only for military spouses, but for the federal government.

“The federal government is facing a mission-critical challenge of attracting the top talent to civil service. Nearly a quarter of the federal workforce is older than 55. Only 17% of federal workers are younger than 35, compared to 40% in the private sector,” she said.

Department of Labor Recruits Military Spouses at HOH Hiring Events

Since May 2018, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have worked together to implement Trump’s executive order with hiring managers at all federal agencies.

This year, the Labor Department is recruiting and providing employment assistance at more than 25 military spouse hiring events through a partnership with Hiring Our Heroes.

“Our secretary wants to be out front on this, so he’s charging the department to clearly articulate when we advertise our jobs that these jobs are open to military spouses,” Green said. “Obviously, there are a lot more jobs based out of D.C. than any other location, but we have regional and state offices all across the country, so there are opportunities all over.”

Right now on, the Department of Labor is taking applications for an economic assistant in North Dakota, a workers’ compensation claims examiner in Philadelphia, and an OSHA director in Alabama, among others. All of these job postings and many more include the option to apply with the military spouse hiring authority.

Besides attending hiring fairs, DOL hiring authorities worked to streamline the application process for qualified candidates. They also lead informational sessions to encourage the use of the hiring authority to fill vacant positions at other federal agencies.

More federal agencies are using the military spouse hiring authority to match qualified military spouse applicants with GS jobs.

Now the challenge is having military spouses apply for these jobs, Green said.

“The last couple of jobs that I advertised I did not get any military spouse candidates apply for them,” he said.

How to Find Military Spouse Hiring Authority Eligible Jobs on USAJobs

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 amended the eligibility criteria governing the military spouse hiring authority. Specifically, this act removed the reference to relocation or PCS orders.

Now every spouse of an active duty service member qualifies for the military spouse hiring authority, regardless of their last PCS. Spouses of service members killed while on active duty or spouses of 100% disabled service members still qualify. The executive order didn’t make any changes to their eligibility.

Here are OPM’s tips for finding eligible jobs and applying as a military spouse:

  1. Go to and find the “Military Spouses” option in the Explore Hiring Paths section for details on how to apply for jobs under this hiring authority.
  2. When searching for jobs, look for the green icon with two interlocking circles on it. This icon indicates that the position is eligible for the Military Spouse Hiring Authority.
  3. Indicate directly on your resume that you are requesting to be considered for employment based on your eligibility for the Military Spouse Hiring Authority.
  4. Have supporting documentation ready to submit with your application.
More federal agencies are using the military spouse hiring authority to match qualified military spouse applicants with GS jobs.

Federal Agencies Report Military Spouses Hires

Besides encouraging federal agencies to hire more military spouses, the executive order also requires agencies to report annually to OPM and DOL the number of positions made available under the military spouse hiring authority, the number of applications submitted under the military spouse hiring authority, and the number of military spouses appointed under the military spouse hiring authority.

This annual report will include recommendations, developed in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security, to improve license portability and remove barriers to military spouse employment.

“The federal government is facing critical shortages in the Scientific, Technical, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) field, as well as Cybersecurity and related positions. Hiring Our Heroes remains wholly committed to key partnerships with the Department of Defense and its many services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the Small Business Administration to connect military spouses with meaningful career opportunities,” O’Brien said.

Hiring Our Heroes provides a variety of programs and events for military spouses. Whether you are preparing to make your next career move or reentering the workforce, HOH can help you every step of the way. Join the conversation by following #HOHMilspouse across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Related Articles