A national fellowship program that connects military spouses with employers to gain experience and fill unemployment gaps will expand to new locations over the next two years.
Hiring Our Heroes, a part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is collaborating with Lockheed Martin to introduce its Military Spouse Fellowship Program into Dallas/Fort Worth; Washington, D.C.; Orlando and Tampa, Fla; San Diego; and Honolulu. The program has been already been established in Maryland, Northern Virginia, San Antonio, and Colorado Springs, Colo.
“This initiative will put spouses back to work, eliminate gaps in résumés, and allow employers to see firsthand how a military spouse can impact change within a company,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The program is supported by scholarships from Lockheed Martin. It will place 100 military spouses with host companies for a six-week fellowship, matching the spouses and companies based on specific skills and preferences. The professional development and direct connection to local employers enables military spouses to build their networks and receive job experience, while the local employers gain access to highly skilled talent with diverse experience.
Interested applicants and potential employers can learn more about the program and apply for spots here.
One success story comes from MOAA, which hired Eryn Wagnon through the fellowship in May 2018. Wagnon, who is the spouse of an active duty Army officer, joined MOAA permanently in July 2018, where she serves as MOAA’s director of government relations for military family policy and spouse programs.
“This fellowship helps you grow your network at a new duty station, which is so hard to do alone,” Wagnon said. “Additionally, if you are looking at making a career change or explore something new, this fellowship is a great opportunity to try something new out or prove yourself in an industry you don’t have direct experience in.”
During her time at MOAA, Wagnon has been instrumental in advocating for programs and resources that benefit military families. After military families revealed mold, rodents, and unacceptable living conditions in housing on installations, Wagnon attended hearings on the Hill to advocate for improved housing conditions.
“I value my work at MOAA because I am able to give a voice to military families and follow through from issue to implemented program or policy,” she said.
Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA’s staff writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.