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Giving Military Spouses the Help They Deserve

Text: We've got military spouses covered too! Image: An army spouses poses at the coffee shop where she works.


At the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), we know that training veterans for skilled work or helping them prepare for their next interview enhances their ability to live the American Dream. A steady, meaningful job provides security for both veterans and their families.

Providing support to military spouses is an equally important part of the department’s goal to expand opportunities for all U.S. workers. Like veterans and transitioning service members, military spouses deserve assistance to achieve their personal career goals.

Many of the programs we support are available for both veterans and their spouses — and below are a few highlights:

  • Veterans, transitioning service members, and military families can find free employment and training services at nearly 2,500 American Job Centers in local communities across the country. We also help maintain the National Labor Exchange, used in all 50 states as well as D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico by tens of thousands of employers, with an average of 2.1 million daily job listings collected from corporate job listings, state job banks and the federal government’s USAJobs.
  • We lead a three-day employment workshop, for transitioning service members and their spouses, as part of the Transition Assistance Program to prepare service members for things like resume writing, interview skills, and salary negotiation. Our course curriculum is also available for free online and in a new eBook.
  • We work with state and local employers to recognize the skills that veterans and military spouses bring to the workforce, and encourage them to recognize the credentials earned by military spouses. There’s no reason to have to start from scratch each time a military spouse crosses a state line due to their partner’s permanent change of station or deployments. We also help promote on-the-job training opportunities like the registered apprenticeship program, which is a great pathway into high-growth industries.

We continue to engage employers about hiring veterans and military spouses. We also support national efforts, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program and the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Program. We recently co-led a free employment webinar with the Spouse Employment and Career Opportunities program specifically covering what is offered for military spouses.

At VETS, we understand that working to increase access to meaningful civilian employment for transitioning service members and veterans must include support for their spouses. We want to hear from you on how we can help spread the word on all that is available for veterans and their families to connect with the right kinds of opportunity for all. Follow us on Twitter at @VETS_DOL and tweet us your stories!

Mika Cross is the strategic communications adviser for the department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.

Editor’s note: This post was updated in June 2018 to ensure all links are up-to-date.


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hopefully an inspiration :)

My late husband was an Air Force Veteran of the Korean Conflict. After his passing, I could not believe the lack of programs for surviving spouses of that event, as it appears we are supposed to deal with surviving, on our own, at our age. Getting a job did happen for me in the public sector, but was/am dismayed about the Veterans Preference only for open competitive positions, and not for promotions, making us older women in direct completion with the young: not good !. Also, some of us have disabilities, I do, and it is further distressing to actually see how abusive of their authority managers are towards older women, even with Veterans status. Try and get someone from the Veterans Administration to actually follow up on enforcing "rights" in the workplace - doesn't happen. I have been trying to get the 10 points, because I qualify, to no avail. Also, why shouldn't I collect the pension from the Air Force while employed ? Isn't my husband's service worth that benefit ?
I will be amazed if anyone responds. But thanks for reading - Bernadette Foley

I was married to and cared for a disabled Army veteran for 30 years. I will be 70 in October. Is there no financial assistance from the VA for surviving spouses unable to work?