Thirty-seven new companies and organizations were formally inducted into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership during a ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia, yesterday, bringing the total number of partners to 297.
The partners of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership are committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining military spouses in portable careers.
Since Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, launched the partnership in June 2011, partners have hired tens of thousands of military spouses, according to Stephanie Barna, acting assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs.
“I state for the record and for the first time publicly, you -- our valued partners -- have hired more than 82,000 military spouses,” Barna said during the induction ceremony at the Mark Center.
“Although MSEP is still a young program, we have known from Day One how eager each of you is to hire our spouses,” Barna said. “You clearly see our spouses as having the knowledge, skills and, most importantly, values that your business needs to develop and reach out to new markets, and deliver new and improved products and services."
Rosemary Williams, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, addressed the military spouses in attendance. “You represent the thousands of military spouses -- both men and women -- around the globe who are searching for meaningful employment and career opportunities that will not only fulfill your career dreams, but provide your families with a greater level of financial stability that keeps you strong and resilient,” she said.
Kristine Kash, a military spouse and an employee of Military Spouse Employment Partnership partner Starbucks, also spoke as part of the ceremony.
“Today’s ceremony is centered around ‘Building Relationships,’ which is perfect, because when I joined Starbucks eight months ago, that was my only option -- to build relationships,” she said.
“My husband deployed to Iraq the same week I started with the company,” she continued. “I knew no one. I had just moved into a new apartment. The reason I resigned from my previous career and gravitated towards Starbucks was because of the stories I had heard from those who worked there were so inspiring. Everyone was always so happy and engaged.”
After the ceremony, partners attended a meeting focused on the day’s theme of building stronger relationships in support of military spouse employment.
As part of the broader Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program, the Military Spouse Employment Partnership is a targeted recruitment and employment solution. It addresses the employment challenges facing military spouses while, at the same time, provides partner employers with access to a pool of highly-qualified military spouses.
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