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Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine

The Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 takes a comprehensive look at military spouse unemployment. Somewhere between 12% and 25% of military spouses are unemployed with an additional 25% facing underemployment (meaning they are underpaid or have skills that are underutilized compared to their training) causing negative ripple effects across the military. Military families frequently face financial insecurity due to spousal unemployment, which is an often overlooked military readiness issue.

The Military Spouse Employment Act takes steps to reduce military spouse unemployment and examine the effects frequent moves and reassignments have on military spouses’ careers. It expands hiring and career opportunities, addresses access to continuing education programs, increases access to affordable child care, and provides for better transition and employment resources for military spouses.

Boosts military spouses competitiveness in the job market
Modifies federal hiring authority so that federal agencies can expedite the hiring of a candidate who is a military spouse. The most desirable jobs near military installations are often federal positions.

Requires a plan from the Department of Defense (DoD) to increase the participation of military spouse friendly businesses in defense contracts

Supports military spouse entrepreneurship
Recognizing that spouses have faced obstacles to starting small businesses on military installations, this legislation encourages the DoD to submit a plan on how to best facilitate military spouses entrepreneurship on installations.

Instructs the Department of Defense to expand educational opportunities for military spouses

Instructs the DoD to evaluate how to expand and increase awareness of existing career training programs to military spouses. This includes ensuring existing installation career counselors have the most helpful information for spouses and ensuring spouses are aware of the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) – which provides scholarships for spouses to pursue associate degrees, certificates, and professional licenses or cover the costs of recertifying credentials after a relocation.

Increases access to affordable child care for military families

Given that a lack of access to affordable child care increases spouse unemployment, this bill instructs the DoD to examine ways to increase the number of cleared child care providers while ensuring DoD adheres to childcare safety rules and requires the DoD to assess whether each duty station is allotted the right number of childcare subsidies for the number of families requesting them.


Provides military spouses with training and resources to ease their families transitions to civilian life

Acknowledging that career stability plays a big role in successful transitions to civilian life, this bill makes permanent military spouses access to Military One Source (MOS) resources for a full year, instead of just six months. MOS provides non-medical mental health counseling, career help and life coaching for veterans and military families transitions to civilian life.

Requires Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) to make space for military spouses to attend classes with their spouse when appropriate, i.e. on financial planning and family readiness (currently only allowed on a space available basis), and establishes a new spouse-specific TAP program to address transition issues unique to the spouse.

To view the entire bill, click here. more

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