How to Minimize Spouse Employment Challenges

Getting a good job is a challenge under the best of circumstances. When you add the mobility of a military lifestyle, increased responsibilities due to frequent deployments, and varying state requirements for some jobs, the process can be even tougher. Fortunately, many resources are available to help level the playing field and help military spouses find and secure the right job for them.

First step: Do your homework

The Department of Defense (DoD) and the military Service branches offer a full range programs that can be accessed online, by phone, or in person. Those programs are there for your benefit, so take advantage of them!

The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program offers military spouses comprehensive education and career support. SECO consultants can help military spouses with the following:

  • Career Exploration. Find help identifying your skills, interests, and aptitudes and you will be better able to select a career that will be not only interesting but rewarding.
  • Education, Training, and Licensure. If your career goals require education, technical training, or a license or credential, the Spouse Career Center at Military OneSource can help. You will find information on financial aid, transferring credit, and state occupational license and credential requirements.
  • Employment Readiness. The Military OneSource Spouse Career Center Employment Readiness page can help you brush up on current trends, write a resume, network, and hone your interviewing skills.
  • Career Connections. Find out about trusted resources, such as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership,, and CareerOneStop.

You can contact a SECO consultant online or by telephone (1-800-342-9647). You may also want to connect with the Employment Assistance Program on your installation. Each Service branch has a program that provides employment readiness counseling services, self-development workshops, and access to local employment opportunities. Locate your Employment Assistance Program office through your installation’s Family Support Center.

Another program that helps military spouses reach their career goals is the MilSpouse eMentor Leadership Program, which offers three types of mentors: corporate mentors from military spouse-friendly employers, career mentors from industries or career fields, and peer mentors to advise fellow military spouses on professional and personal issues relevant to military families.

Child care resources offer solutions

One common hurdle in obtaining employment is finding a suitable child care solution. The DoD and the military Service branches offer extensive child care options on military installations and in surrounding communities worldwide, including Child Development Centers (CDC) and Youth and Teen Services. For more information, visit the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS directory of Child Development Centers or call 1-800-342-9647.

Resolutions for special circumstances

What can you do if you are unable to find a job or you can’t take advantage of DoD programs because your military sponsor is transitioning out of the military? If that’s your situation, you might find a solution here:

  • Determine if you are eligible for unemployment compensation. The rules vary from state to state. Check the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration site under Unemployment Insurance Filing Assistance to learn about your state’s policies.
  • Connect with the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). When a service member is transitioning out of the military or retiring, his or her spouse can participate in the Transition Assistance Program. This program can assist with resume preparation and provide seminars and personalized coaching with an emphasis on transitioning from military life.

Military OneSource

This free twenty-four-hour service is available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve service members (regardless of activation status) and their families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues. Free face-to-face, phone, and online non-medical counseling sessions are also available. Call 1-800-342-9647 or go to Military OneSource to learn more.


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