Meaningful Careers for Military and Veteran Spouses

When it came time to select a keynote speaker to kick off our Career Summit day of professional development, it was a no brainer. Rosye Cloud, the Senior Advisor for Veteran Employment (Veterans Benefits Administration) just gets it. We wish everyone in our community could have been there to hear her insights and lessons learned, but if you missed seeing her in person, you can still read more from her in the most recent issue of NMSN digital magazine. Here are some highlights from her keynote:

Supporting the education and career goals of military spouses is essential to maintaining economic competitiveness of military and veteran families in our  All-Volunteer Force (AVF). Events such as the Military Spouse Career Summit help connect American employers to a skilled and ready talent pipeline.

It is estimated that approximately 87% Servicemembers depart prior to retirement, which means most Servicemembers and spouses will be contributing to the civilian workforce for more years than they served in the military. Therefore, supporting spousal employment during and after service is valuable to the spouse, their family, and the economy as a whole. Making higher education available to spouses is also vital, as it directly affects earnings.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a Bachelor’s degree nearly doubles the median annual wage. Currently, 84% of spouses have some college, 25% have a bachelor’s degree, and 10% have an advanced degree. The NMSN Military Spouse Career Summit was therefore designed to help military spouses connect with resources and provide hands on skills workshops to help in their search for a meaningful career.

Our summit’s keynote speaker, Ms. Rosye Cloud, has a long history of advocating the importance of spouses in the workplace.  Ms. Cloud frequently speaks and writes about the subject frequently, including a blog post for the White House entitled “Military Spousal Employment Critical in “Readiness.” Moved by the strength and intellect of the spouses at the event, Ms.Cloud said, “The military spouses I met at the event represent what I see in every military or Veteran community: driven professionals seeking to contribute and make a difference.  They’re selfless and could be compared to our best professional athletes, wearing their American jersey with pride.  Their authentic commitment to the American flag in the front of the jersey often leads them to forget about their name on the back.”

Many additional speakers discussed the ways in which our nation can better support military and Veteran spouses in finding meaningful employment in spite of challenges created by frequent moves and other stressors. A highlight of the event was hearing from a spouse who was recently hired as a direct result of posting her resume on the Veterans Employment Center.  This is just one of many success stories to come as a result of VEC and other VA employment initiatives.

Click here to learn more about the National Military Spouse Network.

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