For Immediate Release

Contact: Bailey Bernius

First Lady Charges the National Military Family Association with Lead Role in Addressing Military Spouse Career Challenges

February 16, 2012

 ALEXANDRIA, VA, February 16, 2012 – Military leaders joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the Pentagon yesterday to tackle an issue that has plagued military spouses for years —maintaining a career while moving. The First Lady unveiled a report from the Departments of Defense and Treasury outlining solutions to employment challenges military spouses face.

While there are workable solutions, the answer is not one-size-fits-all. The First Lady called on all states to find fixes. “We’re going to be asking advocacy groups like the National Military Family Association to engage at a state level to build the kind of grassroots support that will help get this done,” said the First Lady.

Our Association has long understood the frustrations felt by military spouses who want or need to work. In response, we have done the following:

  • Testified before Members of the Texas Senate in support of legislation to provide alternative licensing procedures for military spouses.
  • Addressed state Senate and House leaders at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Fall Forum to encourage them to sponsor legislation to ease military spouse license portability.
  • Worked with the Department of Defense State Liaison Office to pass a law in Washington State to expedite licensing processes for military spouses.
  • Launched a military spouse credentialing survey to support the grassroots effort to connect state legislatures with impacted military spouses.

According to the report, one in three working military spouses has a job that requires a state-issued license or certification. As too many spouses know, most licenses do not move when your family moves from state to state. The situation is exacerbated by the report finding that military spouses were ten times more likely than their civilian counterparts to have moved across state lines in the last year.

Unfortunately, this leaves many qualified military spouses unemployed, valuable skills unused, and the financial security of military families threatened. An earlier DoD study shows military spouses in the workforce face a 26% unemployment rate. Making it easier to maintain an occupational license is a quick fix to get women and men back to work.

We appreciate the First Lady’s confidence in the National Military Family Association and the awareness the White House has brought to this important issue. Together, with state governments, we will reach our goal of ensuring that military spouses have career opportunities no matter where they live. 

About the National Military Family Association

The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit dedicated to serving the families who stand behind the uniform. Since 1969, NMFA has worked to strengthen and protect millions of families through its advocacy and programs. They provide spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and for the families of the wounded, ill, or injured. NMFA serves the families of the currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA. To get involved or to learn more, visit

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