Spokane chosen for new military spouse employment network
SPOKANE, Wash. —
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes and the Washington State Department of Commerce announced Spokane , Washington as the nation’s newest Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone (MSEEZ) today. A collaborative effort among the local business, civic, and military communities to address the economic impact of military spouse unemployment and underemployment on 21st century military families, MSEEZ establish geographically-focused employment networks to connect military spouses to local career opportunities.
“Military spouses in the Spokane area and around the country represent a highly educated and skilled pool of candidates who, despite their skills, continue to face significant rates of unemployment and underemployment,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes and vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Hiring Our Heroes and the Washington State Department of Commerce are proud to launch nation’s next Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone in Spokane .”
Recognizing the tremendous economic impact of military spouse unemployment and underemployment, the Spokane MSEEZ will work as a grass roots effort to combat the issues created by military spouse unemployment.
“As the sixth most military-populated state in the country, we know the impact our service members and veterans have on Washington ‘s economy. It’s time we recognized the incredible value military spouses bring to our communities daily and ensure they, too, can contribute to our economic vitality through meaningful career-connected opportunities. We are honored to be centering our sector workforce strategy on military spouses through the MSEEZ partnership with the U.S. Chamber,” said Kristine Reeves, Director of the state’s Military & Defense Sector.
The MSEEZ program grew from the findings of a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation study, Military Spouses in the Workplace, in which an overwhelming majority of employed military spouses said that having dual incomes was vitally important to their family, but only 50 percent of military families polled reported having dual-income status. This disparity places an added strain on military families and can ultimately factor into a service member’s decision to stay in or leave the military–factors that can hurt overall military readiness and retention.
Hiring Our Heroes will launch MSEEZ throughout 2018 in cities across America . Building on a robust network of national and local employers, educational institutions, and community resources, these MSEEZ will foster collaboration between key stakeholders to help identify best practices that will support and advance the mission of connecting military spouses with meaningful employment opportunities, ultimately strengthening the financial security of our 21st century military families.
Launched in 2011, Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through more than 950 job fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and on military installations overseas; a suite of free online career-based resources; and the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America ‘s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.
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