A recently released White House report highlights several administration priorities in support of military families. Focal areas of the report include increasing economic opportunity and mobility for military families, supporting the educational needs of military children, and developing quality behavioral, social, and emotional health resources for military families, veterans, caregivers, and survivors.
The report addresses several issues that remain unresolved despite decades of work by DoD, Congress, and military and veteran nonprofit organizations. The military spouse unemployment rate continues to hover at 22%, and 39% of military families consider leaving the service because of the inability of the spouse to find and maintain employment. This report suggests making the federal government an “employer of choice” for military spouses.
All executive departments across the administration have joined the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), committing to encouraging work opportunities for military spouses and increasing understanding and the merits of the noncompetitive military spouse hiring authority by human resource offices within the federal government.
“The MSEP marks 10 years this year and continues to refine its service delivery in support of effective spouse employment connections,” said Rory Brosius, executive director of Joining Forces. “The concierge service will allow federal employer partners of MSEP to work with an MSEP account specialist to locate pools of qualified military spouse applicants.”
To address the lack of available, affordable child care, DoD has implemented the In-Home Child Care Provider Fee Assistance Program at five locations, providing more flexibility for military families. The FY 2022 DoD budget includes a request for $5 million to expand this program to additional installations.
Joining Forces is expanding the use of surveys and data collected from across the federal government. Previously, data on military families collected by a particular agency remained siloed, but going forward, data will be collected, shared, and reviewed at ongoing intervals so policies can be either adjusted or formed in the best interest of military families.
MOAA is pleased to see the reemergence of Joining Forces and the outline of priorities and commitments to improve the quality of life for military families worldwide. As President Joe Biden stated in a letter opening this report, “The commitment and resilience of military families are essential to the recruitment, retention, and readiness of our fighting forces and the enduring strength of our nation.”
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