According to studies shared by the National Military Family Association, military spouses earn 26.8% less in income than their non-military counterparts which adds to $12,374 per year in lost wages. Part of these lost wages occur due to time loss between jobs with each military move, underemployment at each duty station, and challenges in licensing and re-licensing for some positions for each state.
Here are 12 organizations that are there to help military spouses in their career continuation and advancement.
Resources on Base
The best place to start is with your current duty station. Marine Corps Community Services on
Marine Corps bases offer Family Member Employment Assistance Programs (FMEAP). These programs include networking, job fair, resume workshops, and more depending on the base.
Navy bases offer classes, career services, and resume assistance through Fleet and Family Services. Army Community Service offers employment and career programming for military families through their Employment Readiness Programming. Air Force Family Support Programs runs the spouse employment programs on base and their calendar of courses offered is often found at the local Airman and Family Readiness Center. Coast Guard bases offer programming through their Fleet and Family Support Program.
There is a Military Spouse Preference Program for federal jobs. This preference can be used once per move, and only once at the new duty station. Learn more about this program through your military installation’s family resources listed above.
Related: Military Spouse Employment 101
American Corporate Partners Active Duty Spouse Program
The ACP program was developed to help military members transition to civilian life, and active-duty spouses can apply to be linked with a mentor for a year-long relationship through their mentorship program.
Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families SpouseForce is a virtual community providing tips and employment spotlights to help military families network and connect with potential jobs. The Blue Star Families toolkit also has amazing resume assistance to help translate volunteer experience into keywords and phrases for resume building.
Hiring Our Heroes
The Career Forward program is a free program that offers Google Career certificates to all, even without prior experience in the tech field! A great option for those looking to transition to a career that may be more transportable. Google Career Certificates on offer include Data Analytics, IT Support, Project Management, and User Experience (UX) Design. The certificate programs can be done at a slower pace over a period of 3–6 months.
The Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network on Facebook connects spouses around the world.
The program also offers a two-day intensive career prep program called the AMPLIFY program.
The programs in 2022 will be offered all over the world, both virtually and in person.
The online resume website is free for all, but the premium account allows for advanced searching, unlimited visibility, InMail messaging, and more. Per LinkedIn, every eligible military spouse is able to get a one-year Premium Career subscription with each military move, career change or job loss.
My CAA is My Career Advancement Account, funding that is available to help support learning for career advancement. The scholarship is $4,000 of tuition assistance to spouses of active duty service members in the paygrade of E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2. Eligibility requirements and what the tuition covers is covered here. This tuition is also extended to spouses of active reserve and National Guard members. Looking to become a yoga instructor, massage therapist, or work in cosmetics, this tuition assistance can help. Check out which courses and schools are covered here, and apply if desired.
MilSpouseFest started as in-person events at military installations around the world reviewing resources available to military families for development and growth in a career and in daily military life. It has grown to offer both virtual and in-person events in addition to a large online community. Their weekly e-newsletter highlights spouse education, advancement, and employment opportunities.
Military One Source Spouse and Education Career Opportunities (SECO)
The Spouse and Education Career Opportunities (SECO) offers programming to all military spouses of active duty, National Guard, and Reserve military members in addition to all those categories who have separated from military service in less than 365 days and Gold Star spouses. Check out the Military Spouse Employment partnership job engine to check for jobs from companies looking to hire military family members. If you aren’t sure where to start in starting school for a job, check out the career assessment tool.
National Military Family Association (NMFA)
One large burden to military spouses in careers that require licensing and certificates is the re-certification and licensing at each state with each move. The cost adds up over time, and as spouses maintain licensure across multiple states to allow for continued job portability, more expenses are added. In a civilian job, those licensing costs would be covered by the employer each time it is needed, but for military spouses moving across state lines where a new license is needed, that is not usually the case. A recent program from NMFA is a scholarship program to help cover these costs, in addition to covering costs for earning continuing education, business expenses, entrepreneurial expenses, and supervised clinical hours. Applicants can apply once a year for scholarships.
Looking for a career or education within the technology field? Salesforce Military is the place to start. The organization offers curriculum training, fellowships and interviews. Register and take courses at your own pace and take exams cost-free. Over 500 companies partnered with Salesforce agreeing to interview Salesforce graduates.
The Rosie Network
The Service2CEO program offers fee-free training to small businesses through virtual programs and networking through mentoring and peer-to-peer support, all fee-free!
The Veterati platform assists service members, veterans, and military spouses to find mentors in their desired career field. This mentor builds the network for finding and maintaining employment.
Getting a job with each duty station is not easy, and many have been told “no” to being hired simply because they are military spouses. Finding a portable job isn’t as simple as just finding a job, but also finding one that you enjoy. Thankfully there are resources to assist in finding a career, getting an education, and building networks that can assist in finding a career you enjoy. And tools to help with expenses in maintaining it.