It’s estimated that more than 35 percent of the nation’s military spouses are chronically unemployed. In communities like El Paso, Texas—home to more than 40,000 military-connected families—the rate of spousal unemployment is significantly higher than the national average. For this…
IVMF’s Schmeling Briefs Military Spouses, Congressional Staff Members at MOAA Military Spouse Symposium
On March 26 and 27, IVMF managing director James Schmeling briefed military spouses and congressional staff members on the MOAA/IVMF Military Spouse Employment Report in Arlington, Va., and Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Military Officers Association of America Military Spouse Programs.
Schmeling appeared as part of a spouse and policy panel featured at the MOAA Military Spouse Symposium “Keeping a Career on the Move,” a professional development conference for all military spouses. Schmeling joined fellow panelists to discuss the military spouse employment report, as well as state policies and national programs that assist military spouses and their career opportunities. IVMF founding partner JPMorgan Chase was the executive sponsor of the event.
After the conference, Schmeling briefed the Congressional Military Family Caucus on the Military Spouse Employment report, including key highlights and findings, at the U.S. Capitol. He was joined by Karen Golden, MOAA government relations deputy director, military family issues; Christine Gallagher, deputy director, Spouse and Currently Serving Programs, and, advisor, Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Committee; and Michelle Still Mehta.
Important findings included:
- ACS data consistently show noticeable gaps in income and unemployment between armed forces women spouses and their civilian counterparts. This survey discovered more than 55 percent of respondents indicated they “need” to work, while 90 percent indicated they “want” to work.
- Active duty military spouses are more likely to have moved within states, across states and abroad, compared to their civilian and veteran counterparts. The increased likelihood of moving from one geographic location to another further compounds economic issues for these families. According to survey results, other factors affecting their unemployment or underemployment include relocating to geographic locations with limited employment opportunities, employer perceptions of military spouses and likelihood of future moves, inability to match skills and education to jobs, inflexible work schedules and lack of affordable child care (or access to any child care).
Other study results:
- In 2012, 18-24 year-old Armed Forces female spouses had the highest unemployment rates at 30 percent (which is almost three times higher than their civilian counterparts at 11 percent). Armed Forces female spouses between the ages of 25-44 had the second highest unemployment rates at 15 percent (almost three times higher than their civilian counterparts at 6 percent).