Over five hundred military spouses have enrolled in a cutting-edge paid internship scheme, vying for positions at private corporations searching for permanent hires. The Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot initiative is at no cost to employers, and the fellowships will be funded by the Department of Defense (DoD).
Open to spouses of currently serving members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Space Force, including active duty, reserves and National Guard components, the program is accessible through the Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (MySECO) website.
The three-year pilot was launched by DoD officials last Thursday, however registration opened for military spouses on December 23rd, 2022. So far, eight hundred spouses have initiated the enrollment process, with five hundred completing it, according to DoD spokesman Army Maj. Charlie Dietz.
Due to frequent relocations, military spouses face an unemployment rate of 21%, significantly higher compared to the civilian population. Companies interested in participating can find more information and sign up on the Hiring Our Heroes website in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. As of December 31st, twenty-five employers have registered to join the pilot.
DoD anticipates the first cohort of spouses to be placed with host companies this month, with applications being accepted throughout the duration of the three years. Participating employers can also apply on a rolling basis.
Accepted spouses will partake in a twelve-week, paid internship program with training and mentorship opportunities. They will be paired with companies that align with their location, education, work history, employer requirements and other criteria.
The objective is for the host companies to hire the spouses directly. Although there is no guarantee of future employment, the internship affords the spouses a chance to showcase their skills and gain new ones.
“This program is a paradigm shift for career-driven military spouses,” said Patricia Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, in an announcement. “The department has partnered with Hiring Our Heroes to provide robust and substantive internship placement, which may lead to full-time employment. Military spouses have communicated that meaningful employment is crucial to their well-being, and we hope this initiative offers them a strong foundation for sustainable job opportunities.”
The program not only benefits spouses, but it also gives employers early access to a highly skilled and educated workforce, according to DoD officials.