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Local nonprofit joins forces with DoD jobs program to battle military spouse unemployment

American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington (via Google Maps)

A local nonprofit has formed a new partnership to help reduce military spouse unemployment.

The American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA), a nonprofit military financial solutions provider headquartered at Arlington’s Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is collaborating with the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) to bring the military spouse unemployment rate down by connecting spouses with one of the 700 MSEP employers.

“It’s very challenging for military spouses to get jobs and then retain those jobs, especially because their spouses, the military member, moves so frequently,” AAFMAA President Michael Meese told ARLnow.

The partnership is setting its sights on addressing the 21% military spouse unemployment rate, a figure that hasn’t budged since 2015.

As a veteran with 32 years of service, Meese understands the struggle of military spouses finding and keeping jobs, sharing with ARLnow that he and his wife relocated 17 times during his career.

“My wife worked during parts of that time but if you’re only going to be there for two or three years, it’s kind of hard to get a job,” he said.

Meese strives to make sure deployment is not an issue for spouses hired at AAFMAA. He said he currently has a military spouse working for the nonprofit while living in Poland. The spouse started off working onsite, then her husband was deployed to Poland and now her job is remote.

“When we do have military spouses hired we will keep them with us even after they leave here,” said Meese.

Part of the nonprofit’s strategy, Meese notes, is to make sure families are kept in the loop about available and upcoming job openings. Spouses will have the choice connect with MSEP partners about job openings or explore opportunities within AAFMAA.

The nonprofit sees the hiring of military spouses as providing added value because of their insight into military life, says Meese.

“They understand the challenges when somebody says my husband is deployed, they know exactly what that means,” he said.

A press release about the partnership is below.

The American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA), the nation’s longest-standing nonprofit financial solutions provider for the military community, today announces a partnership with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), a Department of Defense (DoD) led initiative that connects military spouses with hundreds of partner employers who have committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses.

MSEP serves to increase career opportunities for military spouses by partnering with like-minded organizations that offer career options and competitive salaries equivalent to their civilian counterparts.

“With the unemployment rate for military spouses roughly at 21%, we want to do what we can to decrease that number,” said Michael Meese, President of AAFMAA. “We are thrilled to join MSEP and are committed to increasing employment opportunities for military spouses who have long struggled to maintain steady employment due to the challenges associated with military life.”

AAFMAA joins over 700 MSEP partners, who have contributed to hiring over 275,000 military spouses. As the DoD website explains, “MSEP, a targeted recruitment and employment solution, creates employment connections that provide companies with direct access to military spouses seeking career opportunities and spouses with direct access to employers who are actively recruiting.” AAFMAA is proud to be leading the effort to enhance spouse employment.

AAFMAA is committed to providing military spouses with employment opportunities, in addition to a supportive and flexible work environment. Currently, AAFMAA has offices in Virginia and North Carolina, with military spouses working remotely from locations including Poland, Texas, and Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Washington State.

AAFMAA recently joined Blue Star Families and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program 4+1 Commitment to help combat military spouse unemployment.

Photo via Google Maps

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