Strong Start for DoD’s New Military Spouse Employment Program

Strong Start for DoD’s New Military Spouse Employment Program
A military spouse takes part in a job fair hosted by Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks/Air Force)

More than 85% of the nearly 500 military spouses who participated in the first year of a DoD-run career-accelerator program received full-time job offers from their host employer.


It’s an impressive start for the Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot (MSCAP), a three-year pilot designed to place military spouses in paid private-sector fellowships with a goal of full employment at the conclusion of the 12-week program.


As of January 2024, more than 250 companies had committed to providing employment opportunities to military spouses through the program. This approach, similar to SkillBridge, requires DoD and the private sector to join efforts to find a solution to the decades-long 20% unemployment rate among military spouses – a challenge which directly impacts military readiness.


[RELATED: GAO: Nearly One-Third of Working Military Spouses Have Part-Time Jobs]


“The financial challenges that arise when a military spouse is unable to earn an income to augment a military member’s income often mean those families will rethink their decision to stay with the military,” said Eddy Mentzer, the program manager for spouse education and career opportunities in DoD’s Military Community and Family Policy office.


Implementing Lessons Learned

In the subsequent years of the pilot, Mentzer hopes to see more employers commit to hosting military spouse fellows. There’s an opportunity to get more federal agencies involved to recognize the level of education and experience spouses bring to an organization. Ideally, passage of the MOAA-supported READINESS Act will create policies allowing for higher retention of military spouses within the federal sector.


[TAKE ACTION: Urge Lawmakers to Support Retention of Federally-Employed Military Spouses]


The MSCAP program initially focused on finding opportunities for “career-ready” military spouses. In its second year, Mentzer is looking to include those at lower levels of education and/or experience. Skill-based fellowships can offer on-the-job training and skill development for this cohort.


MOAA is encouraged by the program’s first-year results and looks forward to its continued success. The next steps include reviewing existing military spouse employment programs and determining if and where funds can be reallocated. Ensuring personnel, resources, and funds are invested in proven programs is a must. Solutions to problems morph over time, and archaic programs too often outlive their efficacy.


Solving the military spouse unemployment crisis (yes, it’s at crisis levels) is going to take a multifaceted approach. MOAA continues to urge Congress to add military spouses as a target group under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and to find a more reliable method of accurately tracking military spouse employment/unemployment.  


Visit MOAA’s Legislative Action Center and ask your lawmakers to support policies that support military spouse employment.


Support Military Spouses

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

Donate Now

About the Author

Jen Goodale
Jen Goodale

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