Back in 2011, President Barack Obama issued a challenge to private-sector employers, urging them to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2013. The private sector fully embraced the challenge and far surpassed the president's initial request.
At an event in April 2015 marking the fourth anniversary of the White House's Joining Forces Initiative, first lady Michelle Obama told the audience, “America's businesses have continued to race past my husband's goal, and together, those businesses who answered the president's call have hired and trained more than 850,000 military veterans and spouses.”
The technology and energy industries are joining the cause. The first lady announced a pledge by companies like Oracle and Microsoft to hire 90,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. “These are industries full of good, high-paying positions, where our vets can continue to thrive for years and even decades to come.”
The Joining Forces Initiative elevated the employment challenges facing veterans and military spouses to the national stage. It is imperative the momentum that has been generated over the past four years continue with added emphasis on military spouse employment.
According to the first lady, veteran unemployment has declined since 2011. Unfortunately, military spouses have not fared as well. A study conducted by MOAA and Syracuse University's Institute for Veteran and Military Families confirmed that not only are military spouse unemployment and underemployment rates high but a 38-percent wage gap exists between military and civilian spouses.
MOAA is hopeful that with private-sector support, we can move the needle for military spouse unemployment in the right direction.