The U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes, in collaboration with USAA and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, today announced San Antonio as the country’s first Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone (MSEEZ).
“Military spouses in the San Antonio area and around the country represent a highly educated and skilled pool of candidates who, despite their skills, continue to face significant rates of unemployment and underemployment,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Hiring Our Heroes, USAA, and the San Antonio Chamber are proud to launch the first Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone in San Antonio, a city with a long history of embracing its military residents.”
Established to connect military spouses with companies committed to hiring, MSEEZs are collaborative efforts among the local business, civic, and military communities that establish employment networks in municipalities around the country. MSEEZs connect military spouses with employers in the local community and a range of employment-related tools and resources.
“I strongly support this effort and can assure you that our City’s employers, educational institutions, and community resources will be committed to connecting our military spouses with career opportunities,” said Mayor Nirenberg. “As Mayor of Military City USA, I am proud of the close partnership we have with our military community.”
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.
“Military spouses have skills and traits that carry over very well to the workplace, making them extremely valuable, well-rounded employees. In fact, the Chamber proudly employs two military spouses,” said Richard Perez, president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
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.