An issue that is sometimes overlooked is the employment opportunities available to military spouses. The spouses of active duty personnel experience frequent moves that are not always conducive to working remotely – meaning they must quit their jobs, if employed, and start anew in a new location.

WorkingNation convened a group of business and education leaders to discuss workforce challenges for military personnel and their families, and some solutions. The result is The Table: Veterans and Work, a roundtable moderated by Ron Insana, respected business journalist and CNBC contributor, and taped before a live audience at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in November 2019.

The issue of military spouse unemployment continues to be relevant today with the pandemic raising additional concerns related to virtual learning and childcare.

What Can Be Done to Help Military Spouses in Their Search for Work

Stuart Ruffin, director of operations, North Carolina for Military Employment (NC4ME), said it’s important to tighten the process that would allow a spouse’s previous credentials to be recognized in different states. He said, “This shouldn’t be an in issue, but an opportunity for talent.” He added that, typically, the unemployment rate among military spouses is higher than that of the general population.

Brandon Busteed, president, University Partners & Global Head, Learn-Work Innovation at Kaplan, expanded and said, “It’s inexcusable that there’s not reciprocity between states recognizing licensure.”

Patrick McKenna, founder, HighRidge Ventures and an Army veteran, said he is able provide job opportunities for military spouses. He said, “When you can move the work out through technology, you have access to a new workforce.” McKenna said military spouses can work remotely as long as they have a computer and strong Internet capability.

Carol Eggert is SVP of Military and Veteran Affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal, and an Army Brigadier General (Ret.) She said it’s a challenge for the private sector employer to understand the military experience—which can lead to challenges for military spouses seeking jobs. She said, “The number one reason people leave the all-volunteer force is because their spouses are not dually employed.” She said if the employment issue is not addressed, the country could go back to the draft system.

Also participating on the panel were James Banks, General Counsel, Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), as well as an Army veteran, and Fernando Snowden-Lorence, VP of Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase and a Marine veteran.

You can watch all four episodes of the The Table, and see all our Veterans and Work stories here on WorkingNation.com.

The Table: Veterans and Work was made possible by the generous financial support of JPMorgan Chase, Comcast NBCUniversal, and the Clint Eastwood Family Foundation.

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