Service members aren’t alone in making great sacrifices for the good of our country. Military spouses are the backbone of their families and communities, often serving alongside service members and assuming responsibilities on the homefront. As a military spouse, I’ve experienced the challenges that this life brings. While separated from my husband for two and a half years, I took on all responsibilities for our home and managed several out-of-state moves.
The realities I’ve faced being part of a military family made it incredibly difficult to balance my husband’s military career with my own career goals and aspirations. Military spouses are resilient leaders with diverse perspectives, making them powerful assets to the workplace. To ensure that this community continues to thrive in the workplace, this Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Google is excited to share new initiatives that will empower military spouses to build meaningful careers, wherever they’re located.
According to a 2017 report from Hiring Our Heroes, 16 percent of military spouses are unemployed–a figure that’s four times higher than the national rate. And more than 55 percent are underemployed, working in roles below their abilities or education levels.
Despite this hurdle, there are spouses around the world who’ve built fulfilling careers that fit a military lifestyle. In Durham, North Carolina, the Grow with Google team met Kelly Grivner-Kelly, a military spouse whose frequent moves were holding her back in her job search. This changed when she found a job as a program manager where she can work from home–and stay on remotely after her next move.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina, the team met Krystel Spell, who started the blog Army Wife 101 and founded an influencer agency for military spouses after noticing a lack of resources available to her community. Through flexible career paths and entrepreneurial endeavours, more military spouses are pursuing their career goals, becoming breadwinners, and taking their work with them from place to place. And technology is making it easier.
Last year, Grow with Google developed tools and resources for the U.S. military community. Knowing the important role military spouses play, we want to continue using technology to address the unique challenges military spouses face as they build their careers.
Our improved experience within jobs on Google Search makes it easier to find quality remote jobs. Now, you can search for jobs that match your skill set, like “sales jobs” and filter your location to “work from home” to see a list of relevant job listings that meet your criteria. Remote work requires its own kind of expertise, so we created hands-on training that offers helpful tools and advice to set military spouses up for success in remote jobs. A new course from Google’s Applied Digital Skills program, a free online curriculum for digital skills, helps users learn about workplace collaboration tools like Docs, Calendar and Hangouts. We’ve also added two minicourses specifically for military spouses to the Primer app, a free resource for learning business and marketing skills. These minicourses share tips for transitioning to remote work, working from home and the basics of starting and growing an online business.
To ensure that military spouses across the country can benefit from these tools and resources, we’re supporting two organizations with a long history of supporting military spouses. We’ll be providing a Google.org grant to the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) to offer IT training and career guidance to their network. The grant will enable IVMF to provide 1,500 scholarships for the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program, along with professional support and career navigation. Google’s IT Certificate program prepares beginners for entry-level jobs in IT support in about six months. We’ll also be partnering with Blue Star Families, an organization that provides support to military families, including career guidance for spouses. Blue Star Families will share our career preparation training with at least 10,000 spouses across its nationwide network of military families.
My vision is that these new resources empower military spouses to build meaningful careers, regardless of their location or balance of responsibilities. I hope these new efforts ease some of the career challenges military spouses often face as they plan for and build toward their futures. To learn more about our free tools and resources to help military spouses build flexible careers, visit grow.google/militaryspouses.