New push to help military spouses find jobs
WASHINGTON (SBG) - Mother of two Nicole Leth is a spouse of an active-duty soldier in the Army. Her family has moved 10 times in 13 years and with every move there are challenges, including in her career.
“I’ve worked as a health educator in a physician's practice, I’ve worked as a professor doing community advocacy and public work, but I literally have to knock on doors and show up and really hustle for employment," said Leth.
Leth says employers are reluctant to hire her because she moves all the time and has gaps of employment on her resume.
“By the time I find something and possibly get an interview, we’re five to six months in. If I do get a job and then take on that training and get acquainted, we are typically moving again," she said.
According to the latest survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes, the unemployment rate for military spouses is 16 percent, four times higher than the national average.
This month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to make it easier for military spouses to find work in the federal government.
"We can never repay you for all that you do. We know what you do and your spouse knows what you do. We can never repay you for that, but we can and we will give you the opportunities you deserve," said Trump during the signing ceremony at the White House.
Jennifer Korn, wife of a Marine and special assistant to President Trump, said underemployment is another concern for military spouses.
Blue Star Families estimates that underemployment of military spouses may be as high as 35 to 40 percent.
“We just want to define what a military spouse is and that we are qualified and educated and we just want to be given the chance to be able to be hired," said Korn.
There is also a push in Congress to help military spouses. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who represents one of the largest military populations in the country, has introduced two bills that have bipartisan support.
“I think employers will benefit from the skills these military spouses demonstrate through the sacrifice that they make," said Kaine.
The new orders just came down -- the Leth family is moving to South Korea next month. Leth is already networking, in hopes of securing a job once she arrives in Seoul.
“We want to work, we want to be employed, we’re qualified and (an) incredibly resilient bunch," she said.