Report Finds Female Military Spouses Are Underemployed - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Report Finds Female Military Spouses Are Underemployed

According to a new report, 90% of female military spouses are underemployed throughout the country.

A survey conducted last fall by the Military Officers Association of America says that over 2,000 female military spouses either can't find work, or they're not qualified for existing jobs in the places they relocate, including on Fort Hood.

The data shows that the unemployment rate among female military spouses ages 18-24 is about 30% higher than that of their civilian counterparts, and although many of the spouses simply don't know where to go for jobs, organizations like the Workforce Solutions of Central Texas Center have become more and more helpful for those searching for employment.

"The time we usually spend with people is helping them build a resume because it may be fragmented," Workforce Solutions director Jerry Haisler said. "It may be spotty. So, we help them figure that out."

Haisler said that one of the major reasons for the high unemployment rate among military spouses is because despite the fact that many have college degrees and advanced skill sets, they are forced to take remedial jobs instead.

"Are they underemployed? Sometimes they are underemployed for a reason," Haisler said. "They need to get a job today - not the job they intend to do for a long time, but to get a job so that they can get to the next job."

Another major factor in the study shows that many military spouses simply don't know what jobs are available to them after moving or relocating with their soldier.

"I think it's just learning about the area and learning about what jobs are here and which employers are hiring or how their skills and abilities and backgrounds and experience might fit that," Haisler said.

The United States Defense Department has even started trying to decrease the number of station moves for soldiers and their families and educating spouses on what employment help benefits are available to them, all with the hopes of helping those who are having a hard time finding work.

"There's a lot of reasons to be underemployed," Haisler said. "I think it's wise to not just accept that, but to come and talk to us and let us kind of help you sort through that and say, "Well, maybe there's something better," and I bet there is something better."

The military has recently expanded it's spouse employment help program by launching a new web portal. It's designed to help spouses develop and then track a career plan. According to the Defense Department, over the last month, more than 1,200 profiles have been created.

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