The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes, in collaboration with USAA, today announced the launch of Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones (MSEEZ), an effort to address the widespread challenges faced by military spouses as they search for meaningful career opportunities. Working with a broad array of public and private sector supporters, MSEEZs connect military spouses with a network of employers in the local community and a range of employment-related tools and resources.
“Military spouses, like veterans, represent the very best of our country, and they have the tremendous skill sets American businesses are seeking,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Unfortunately, many military spouses are unable to leverage those skills due to the constant cycle of military deployments and relocations. Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones will help to mitigate the uncertainty of job searching in a new city by connecting spouses to a network of businesses committed to offering career opportunities for military families.”
The MSEEZ program grew from the findings of a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation study, Military Spouses in the Workplace, in which an overwhelming majority of employed military spouses said that having dual incomes was vitally important to their family, but only 50 percent of military families polled reported having dual-income status. This disparity places an added strain on military families and can ultimately factor into a service member’s decision to stay in or leave the military—factors that can hurt overall military readiness and retention.
“Our military families often face challenges that civilian families do not. With frequent moves and limitations on jobs due to PCS locations, military spouses appreciate our help in making better connections and having access to tools and resources that will ultimately help them find meaningful careers,” said Harriet Dominique, senior vice president for Corporate Responsibility at USAA.
Hiring Our Heroes will launch MSEEZs throughout 2018 in cities 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, ultimately strengthening the financial security of our 21st century military families.