Targeted Training Helps Military Spouses Find Sustainable Employment

Written by
Hiring Our Heroes

Pursing education and training to improve their employment prospects is a high priority for military spouses, according to research conducted by Hiring Our Heroes.

Hiring Our Heroes and Burning Glass, in support from Grow with Google and Google.org conducted a mixed methods study of barriers to and opportunities for military spouse employment. This project, “Examining Entrepreneurship, Remote Work, and Upskilling as Drivers for Economic Success for Military Spouses,” focused on current challenges to full-time employment faced by military spouses, and opportunities for economic mobility based on qualitative and quantitative data.

Researchers set out to determine if military spouses are an effective workforce solution in industries struggling to find qualified job candidates. The answer was a resounding “yes.” With small amounts of upskilling paired with employers committed to remote environments, both the military community and employers can thrive.

55% Say They’re Interested in Learning New Skills

According to our research, military spouses are both highly educated and likely to pursue additional training or education. Three out of every four survey respondents had at least a four-year degree, and approximately 80% had already completed additional training or education during their time as a military spouse. Almost half (47%) described their additional training as “completely worth it.”

A majority of military spouses surveyed were “very likely” to pursue further training or education to improve their jobs or careers in the future. Of those who are very or somewhat likely to pursue additional training or education, 41% said that their most important consideration would be that they get skills they could use no matter where they live; followed by 31% who say cost; 21% who say convenience; and 6% who say the training can be completed in a short period of time.

Military spouses were equally interested in pursuing a degree (52%), a vocational or technical certificate (52%), or brush up or gain new skills (55%).

The survey asked military spouses how interested they would be in pursuing training on a variety of Internet-related tools and software – all-purpose skills that would be beneficial to have in the modern workplace. About half say they would be “very interested” in additional training on marketing tools, general business software, and website design. Sizeable numbers also expressed interest in additional training in basic productivity software and videoconferencing.

Focus on Training for In-Demand Job Opportunities, Including STEM Positions

Researchers wrote that the evidence gathered for this study has two main implications for stakeholders. “The first is that more work needs to be done to increase the real and perceived access that women, not just military spouses, have to in-demand STEM positions that offer flexibility and competitive wages,” the study says.

Training and education focused on transferable skills prepares military spouses for careers that are not specific to one location or industry.

Only one quarter of military spouses expressed interest in STEM positions, such as IT support professional and software developer roles that are frequently remote comparable to the representation of women in these professions across the population.

The second implication for stakeholders is that “given current experience and interest, there are fields that could benefit from military spouse employment and in which military spouses could successfully create sustainable careers. Providing opportunities for greater awareness, training, and education that focuses on transferable, business-enabling skills could help military spouses prepare for good careers that are not specific to one location or industry.”

Support High-Quality Accelerated Training Programs

Online and accelerated education and training programs can be especially helpful to military spouses, whose education and training needs and lifestyles may not accommodate participation in traditional education models.

Self-paced online training, like the free classes available through Salesforce Military, provide military spouses with upskilling needed for an in-demand tech career. Once military spouses earn their Salesforce certification, they can participate in Hiring Our Heroes’ Salesforce Fellowship Program. The 12-week virtual fellowship prepares fellows for a smooth transition into Salesforce careers.

Here are additional upskilling training options:

Leveraging high-quality online and accelerated programs and marketing them to military spouses, Hiring Our Heroes and other stakeholders are working together to connect military spouses with the training needed for STEM careers.

Learning new skills, strengthen your existing skills, and keeping your finger on the pulse of trends and new technologies will make you more valuable in which career path you pursue. As you consider your training options, review the resources available through the Military Spouse Career Journeys Roadmap. This free online tool, which was created based on this research, can help you prioritize upskilling and educational endeavors while navigating work, family, and military life.

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