February 20, 2019


WASHINGTON, D.C. —The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes and the State of Georgia announced the launch of a Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone (MSEEZ) to combat the barriers to entry military spouses face when seeking employment in Georgia.

“When communities come together to recognize the talent and potential military spouses bring to the table, we collectively take another step in the right direction to combat military spouse unemployment and underemployment,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Hiring Our Heroes has a strong history of creating meaningful employment connections for thousands of military spouses in communities around the world. We are proud to welcome Georgia to the growing network of Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones working to provide local solutions to barriers to entry for military spouse employment.”

Established to connect military spouses with companies committed to hiring, MSEEZs are collaborative efforts among business, civic and military communities to build employment networks in municipalities around the country — now including the entire state of Georgia.

“Collaboration between the States’ Labor Exchange System partners, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Georgia’s Business Community to fully support and stabilize the transitioning of Military Spouses is key to our state’s continued economic growth and the strengthening of our workforce. Military Spouses bring much needed skills and experience to any state’s labor force. The establishment of Georgia’s Military Spouses Economic Empowerment Zone and this partnership, will reinforce these talented individuals’ ability to seamlessly connect to local employers in need of skilled workers and reduce unemployment among military spouses,” said Mark Butler, Georgia’s Labor Commissioner.

The MSEEZ program grew from the findings of a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation study, Military Spouses in the Workplace, which found that an overwhelming majority of employed military spouses thought having two incomes was vitally important to their families. However, the study said, only 50% of military families reported having dual-income status. This disparity reflects added strain on military families and can ultimately factor into a service member’s decision to stay in — or leave — the military. Such decisions, in turn, can affect overall military readiness and retention.

“The Georgia Chamber is proud to partner with the US Chamber and Hire Our Heroes to provide support for our military families through the Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone. With ten military installations including our National Guard headquarters in Georgia, the Chamber is honored to support and stand by the workforce development tactics that can impact our military community,” Morgan Law, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Military spouses represent an untapped segment of the workforce of the future. They provide employers with a rich talent pool of diverse and versatile candidates with an exceptional level of grit.

“As a spouse of a Navy officer, I know how challenging it can be for military spouses to build successful careers while managing families, changes in duty station, and deployments. I also know that those same challenges instill in military spouses a resilience and flexibility that make companies stronger. We, at First Data, are proud to hire military spouses and support military spouse owned businesses. We are excited to partner with Hiring Our Heroes in the launch of the Georgia Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone.” Dr. Vivian Greentree, Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Citizenship at First Data.

Hiring Our Heroes will launch MSEEZs throughout 2018 in communities across America. Building on a robust network of national and local employers, educational institutions and community resources, these MSEEZs will foster collaboration between key stakeholders to help identify best practices that will support and advance the mission of connecting military spouses with meaningful employment opportunities — and ultimately strengthen the financial security of our 21st century military families.