Nicholas J. Armstrong, Ph.D., managing director, research and data for the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity on June 15. Armstrong testified in…
Recognizing the Support, Sacrifice and Significance of Military Spouses
National Military Spouse Appreciation Day will be observed on Friday, May 11, 2018. According to MilitaryBenefits.com, the purpose of the day is to honor the contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses who support troops. Experts at Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) talk about the significance of Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
Beth Kubala is the senior director for Strategy and Performance at Syracuse University’s IVMF, and served as a Military Judge in the U.S. Army. Kubala says military spouses have earned a special “hooah” for the mission they accomplish on the home front.
“I’m honored to set aside a special day on the calendar to officially recognize military spouses for what they do every single day throughout the year. Our nation’s service members may wear the uniforms, but military spouses command the home front. Military spouses provide support, dedication, and commitment worthy of a medal – a whole handful of medals!
“When I served at Fort Drum, New York, I saw units from the Mountain Division head overseas for lengthy combat deployments. After the teary send-offs and goodbyes, I saw military spouses wipe their tears away, pick themselves up, put a smile on their face, and take charge of themselves and their families. For the next year, their Army soldier may be away, but the kids will go to school, soccer teams will compete, the bills will be paid, and holidays will be celebrated. Mission home front will be accomplished.
“Take this day to give a special ‘hooah’ to a military spouse. They have earned it.”
Rosalinda Maury is the director of Applied Research at Syracuse University’s IVMF. She lists five major issues impacting military spouses:
- Unemployment and Underemployment: “Military spouses have higher unemployment rates, estimated as much as three times higher than their civilian peers; military spouses are also underemployed; 33% report they are underemployed based on their educational background.”
- Earnings: “Active duty military spouses earn roughly 38% less than their civilian counterparts. The higher the education level, the larger the income gap between active duty spouses and their civilian counterparts.”
- Questioning of Skills: “There are several attributes and characteristics that military spouses have that are both salient and relevant to the business environment. Attributes such resiliency, adaptable, educated, resourceful, team-oriented, entrepreneurial, and social awareness all complement performance in any competitive business environment.”
- Licensure Transferability Issues: “35 percent of spouses work in a field that requires licensure, and of the 78 percent of spouses who reported they had experienced a military move during their husband or wife’s active duty career, only 11% acquired a new professional license or credential after their last move.”
- Frequent Relocations: “Active duty military personnel move on average once every two to three years, 2.4 times as often as civilian families. Military spouses move across state lines 10 times more frequently than their civilian counterparts and sometimes overseas. Frequent relocation can create gaps in employment, inability to start or complete education, unemployment, or underemployment (working in a position inconsistent with work experience or education).”
Additional resources related to military service, and spouse employment:
- Infographic: Women in the Military – From Service to Civilian Life
- Employing Military Spouses Series
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