Free Career Resources for Military Spouses
Military spouses face a 24% unemployment rate according to the White House’s Military Spouse Demographics and Employment publication while the national unemployment percentage is only 4%. It is estimated that military spouse underemployment is as high as 50% or more.
Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence recently stated: “We know employment issues are one of the biggest challenges military spouses face” and it is “imperative” to “take every opportunity to elevate the military spouse.”
MSAN is committed to expanding our Career and Employment program to support the needs of our over 9,000 military spouse community members. There are a plethora of free resources available to help military spouses with the technical aspects of obtaining employment such as career coaching and professional resume assistance. The following lists includes some of those available resources.
Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) falls under the umbrella of Military One Source. MSEP MSEP provides many free career resources for military spouses including:
Career Exploration: Learn about various career paths to suit your interests and skills that can follow you throughout your tenure as a military spouse.
Education, Training and Licensing: Research training and licensure opportunities, scholarships, loans and financial options to help you achieve your career goals.
Employment Readiness: This service includes career counseling and resume assistance. Utilize tools, tips, resume assistance, networking, interviewing and career counseling resources.
Career Connections: To expand your network and connect with military spouse-friendly employers and learn about upcoming career events and hiring fairs.
Career Coaching: Work with a free career coach through the Department of Defense’s program Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) and get the individual support you need to help with your career search.
2. Branch Specific Resources
Air Force: The Airmen and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) at your local installation has employment resources available through the Employment Assistance Program. Assistance includes: military spouse employment resources, federal application assistance, the Transition Assistance Program for separatees and retirees, local career fairs and hiring events, resume writing workshops and interview techniques. To find your local Employment Assistance Program, search online or contact the local A&FRC for more information.
Army: The Army Community Service (ACS) office on your installation has an Employment Readiness Program (ERP) that offers classes, resume critiques, information on local hiring events and employers, individual career counseling, teen and youth employment assistance and normally offers computers to complete career-related tasks.
Marine Corps: The Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) provides a Family Member Employment Assistance Program (FMEAP) that offers spouse and dependent career services.
Navy: The Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Program (FFSP) features a Family Employment Readiness Program (FERP) that can assist with resumes, interviews, federal employment, self-employment, volunteerism and additional resources. To find out more about this resource, contact your installation FFSP and ask to speak with a consultant from the FERP.
Coast Guard: The Coast Guard’s Office of Work Life Program offers resources to help Coast Guard spouses find employment through the Spouse Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). This program helps spouses land and maintain employment with the help of Health and Safety, Work/Life (HSWL) Work Life Staff.
Reserves & National Guard: Warrior Citizen families are geographically dispersed and not always located near a military installation. Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) is a great virtual option to obtain employment services online or the phone for employment assistance if you are not near an installation. Guard or Reserves spouses can seek employment assistance through programs within or outside of your service member’s branch or at any military installation near your location.
Applying for federal employment poses a unique set of challenges with a complex hiring process and resume style. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) offers free federal professional development courses online through HR University (HRU). OPM also provides free USAJOBS classes to learn to navigate the USAJOBS website, conduct federal style interviews, write federal style resumes, learn the federal hiring process and more. To access the free USAJOBS classes, search the USAJOBS.gov Events Page and scroll through the latest course offerings.
Please check out the MSAN Career & Employment page for a full list of resources and articles that will help your career search: https://www.militaryspouseadvocacynetwork.org/career-employment
4. Transition Assistance Program
The Transition Assistance Program is a federally mandated employment program that every service member must complete prior to separating or retiring from the military. The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (VOW) enacted that service members MUST complete a series of curriculum prior to leaving the military. The spouses of transitioning service members are also eligible to attend the TAP curriculum.
Every branch has individual transition assistance programs:
Air Force: Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
Coast Guard: Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
Department of Defense (DOD) has a special website where transitioning service members of all branches can research TAP requirements and participate in online curriculum: https://www.dodtap.mil
Marine Corps: Transition Readiness
Reserves & National Guard are also required to complete TAP after serving on Active Duty orders for more than 180 days with the exception of training or schools. This means that many Guard and Reserves service members attend TAP multiple times throughout their career after mobilizations or deployments.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention yours truly, the MSAN Career & Employment program. We offer a variety of articles, tools and resources to help you in your career search. Continually check our Career & Employment page for new resources and follow our social media groups to connect with fellow military spouses.
MSAN - New Military Spouse Support Forum on Facebook
If you have any questions or need career and employment-related guidance, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org