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ICYMI: The Today Show: Military spouses fight their own battle at home: finding employment

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, TODAY highlighted Senator Maggie Hassan and colleagues’ bipartisan efforts to support military spouses by expanding opportunities for them to find good paying jobs. Last month, Senator Hassan and colleagues reintroduced the bipartisan Military Spouse Hiring Act, which would amend the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses.

Read key excerpts from the article below:

TODAY: Military spouses fight their own battle at home: finding employment

By Kait Hanson

[…] The Chamber of Commerce reports that military spouses have faced an unemployment rate of 22%, while the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the national average sits at 3.6%, making service member spouses one of the highest unemployed demographics in the United States.

Military spouses face unique barriers to employment that include frequent, and often abrupt, moves with little or no control over location, educational gaps in employment history, professional licenses that cannot be transferred state-to-state and solo parenting during a deployment without access to reliable, or affordable, child care.

Blue Star Families, an organization that helps raise the nation’s awareness of the unique challenges of military family life, conducts an annual survey that provides a comprehensive understanding of what it means to serve as a military family, including spouse employment.

In the most recent 2021 findings, military spouse employment was a top-five military life issue for nearly half (47%) of active-duty spouse respondents and a quarter of active-duty service member respondents (25%).

While the unemployment rate for military spouses has stayed the same for decades, lawmakers are only recently taking initiative to spark change.

On March 1, 2023, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine introduced the "Military Spouse Hiring Act", legislation that would incentivize businesses to hire military spouses, alongside Senators John Boozman, Maggie Hassan and Mike Rounds.

“It is not only service members themselves who sacrifice to keep our country safe, secure, and free, but also their family members who, in supporting them, face a variety of challenges as well,”  Senator Hassan said in the announcement. “It is common for military spouses to struggle to find employment due to relocation and other factors, which is why we are reintroducing this bipartisan bill to incentivize companies to hire them." […]