Supporting Our Military Spouses During Transition and Beyond

As Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) program staff work with transitioning veterans, it’s an opportunity to understand the resources available to their spouses. Helping to bridge a veteran family’s transition to civilian life with a more informed and holistic approach will lead to a better outlook for their next big step together.

Military spouses are strong and independent and often find themselves in new surroundings, sometimes working as single parents while at the same time trying to acclimate to a new community. They are well educated and highly qualified for various careers, but frequent relocation often presents a barrier to finding and sustaining a rewarding career. Although there are online resources available to help them, the large amount of education and career information online may leave military spouses unsure of where to begin. The American Job Center (AJC) and JVSG teams can help them navigate various resources to maximize their searches and obtain meaningful employment.

The Department of Defense (DoD), through its Transition Assistance Program (TAP), provides a bridging mechanism as military families transition from Active Duty or Guard service. The Department of Labor (DOL), as a partner in this effort, positions itself as the support for military spouses building and sustaining their careers moving forward. Let’s examine a sample of DOL and DoD programs that can help a military spouse’s pathway to employment.

The DoD Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program provides targeted education and career guidance, resources, and tools to military spouses worldwide. Spouses may set up their personal MySECO account and take advantage of direct career coaching services:

  • Work one-on-one with a professional career coach
  • Explore educational and career options
  • Learn about licensure or credential requirements recognized by employers (or that meet industry standards)
  • Connect with employers committed to hiring military spouses
  • Leverage the power of LinkedIn Premium
  • Understand how to evaluate school/training options that work best

Hiring Our Heroes has programs and events that are open to military and veteran spouses. Workshops include networking with local, national, and remote opportunities, hiring events, and mentoring and fellowship programs. The MilSpouse Roadmap is an interactive tool that outlines three common career pathways: entrepreneurship and self-employment, remote work, and reskilling and upskilling. It provides specific steps, suggestions, and resources to help spouses along the way.

Transition Employment Assistance for Military Spouses (TEAMS) workshops tackle the employment barriers unique to military spouses due to frequent moves and transitions alongside their military members. All workshops are free and open to all transitioning military spouses as they plan to pursue their own future employment goals. All TEAMS workshops are instructor-led, virtual training provided at various times to meet the needs of individuals stationed throughout the world!

The DOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) Employment Navigator and Partnership Pilot (ENPP) provides one-on-one career assistance to interested transitioning service members, and their spouses, at select military installations worldwide. Eligibility requirements include:

  • A transitioning service member, or their spouse
  • Within two years of retirement or 365 days of separation
  • Participating in TAP services at one of the 17 ENPP locations

Connect with an Employment Navigator (EN) for individualized assistance with:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Employer networking
  • Referrals
  • Digital skill and experience matching
  • Hiring events
  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • Placement
  • Wrap-around services

ENPP and Off-Base Transition Training (OBTT) are extensions of DOL’s TAP adapted for veterans, including those currently serving in the Reserve Component (National Guard and Reserve members), and their spouses. Workshops combine the skills learned in service with DOL-taught employment fundamentals. The ten, two-hour workshops are in-person and virtual and are built to fit your client’s schedule. These workshops come at no cost based on the veteran’s service; workshops can be mixed and matched to meet specific employment goals and are self-paced.

Veterans and their spouses can benefit from numerous services, workshops, and tools available to JVSG Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and career coaches. Wrap-around employment solutions have become a combination of assessing and responding to both the service member or veteran AND their eligible spouse as we support the whole family and their transition to civilian life and the workplace.