Businesses Pledge to Support Military Spouses as Part of New, Nonprofit-Led Program

Businesses Pledge to Support Military Spouses as Part of New, Nonprofit-Led Program
Military spouses and others take part in a job fair at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, in 2019. (Photo by Senior Airman JaNae Capuno/Air Force)

On the heels of the introduction of MOAA-supported legislation aimed at improving retention of military spouses employed by the federal government, two nonprofits banded together to launch a program designed to encourage the corporate sector to do its part.


[ACT NOW: Urge Your Representative to Support the READINESS Act]


The 4+1 Commitment: The Formula for Military Spouse Success would help these corporations retain military spouse employees. Participating businesses would commit to at least one of four ways to help these spouses:

  • Facilitate job transferability
  • Offer remote or telework
  • Offer flexible work hours
  • Provide paid PCS leave


The “+1” component of the program urges employers to consider joining existing government spouse employment programs – the Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot (MSCAP) and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) are highlighted on the program’s website.


Kathy Roth-Douquet, co-founder and CEO of Blue Star Families, and Eric Eversole, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes, kicked off a Dec. 6 event announcing their groups’ joint efforts on the program, which was attended by several supporting advocacy organizations (including MOAA) and first lady Jill Biden, among others.


Businesses already signed onto the program include Starbucks, USAA, Comcast, and Johnson & Johnson. More details, including other participating businesses, can be found in this PDF download.


Need for Support Continues

The traditional American family has morphed over the decades with an increase in dual-income households; the same holds true for military families. Many military spouses want – and, in several cases, need – to work. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against this cohort when it comes to pursuing a career.


[FREE MOAA DOWNLOAD: Military Spouse Employment Guide]


DoD has implemented various programs, such as MSEP, to help military spouses get a foot in the door with employers, and to continue educating employers on best practices for hiring and retaining spouses.


“Military families, in particular our military spouses, are foundational in making our members’ service possible and ultimately advancing the readiness of our force for great power competition,” Alex Wagner, assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs, said at the event.


Our nation cannot afford to endure a retention crisis alongside current recruiting challenges. Improving career opportunities for military spouses is a key component of attracting servicemembers to stay in uniform for 20 or more years.


Will These Initiatives Be Enough?

Only time (and data) will tell. MOAA looks forward to continued engagement with Blue Star Families and Hiring Our Heroes to move the needle downward on the 21% military spouse unemployment rate, which has been constant for more than a decade.


The first lady’s consistent presence at events like the Dec. 6 announcement elevates the issue of military spouse employment. She referenced her husband’s executive order on improving economic opportunity for military spouses, along with veteran spouses, caregivers, and survivors – a document listing nearly 20 actions aimed at enhancing career stability and expanding employment resources for spouses.


[TAKE ACTION: Urge Your Legislators to Improve the Quality of Life for Our Servicemembers]


As MOAA continues its commitment to help the group of committed spouses who worked together to craft READINESS Act language improving conditions for federally employed military spouses when they PCS, we will also support efforts to grow the number of businesses making the “4+1 commitment” to provide similar support practices to the corporate sector.


Oversight will be the key area of MOAA’s work on the programs. Too often, resources and programs are developed with good intentions, but after a while, they cease to be effective or even measured for the small cohort of currently serving spouses (less than 1 million at any given time). It's time to identify programs that no longer provide solutions and put full funding and resources into those that are.


How You Can Help

Register for our Legislative Action Center and send our preformatted messages (that you can edit and personalize) to your elected officials. Consider recruiting your network of friends and family to join the action center (MOAA membership is not required) and improve the quality of life for uniformed service families.


You can also ask members of your network to contact their lawmakers at 866-272-MOAA (6622), MOAA’s toll-free line to the U.S. Capitol switchboard. Ask to speak with the military legislative assistant (MLA) in the office who is focused on legislation for our community. If that staffer is not available, consider scheduling a follow-up call to make a personal connection with these influential MLAs.  


As we approach what is sure to be a heated election year, don’t miss the chance to engage your House member and both senators – it’s the only way Congress will know how best to help our community.


Support Military Spouses

Donate to The MOAA Foundation and support MOAA’s efforts to help military spouses in their career journeys.

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About the Author

Jen Goodale
Jen Goodale

Goodale is MOAA's Director of Government Relations for Military Family and Survivor Policy.