NMFA Meets with Ivanka Trump to Focus on Military Spouse Employment Challenges

By: MJ Boice, Staff Writer

The White House is talking about military spouse employment—an extremely important issues near and dear to our hearts. And we were there to hear the conversation.

White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump invited military spouses, including NMFA staff, scholarship recipients, and Volunteers, plus representatives from other organizations to join her and White House staff, including KellyAnne Conway, on August 2 for a roundtable discussion about military spouse employment.

Ivanka and others, like Small Business Administrator (SBA) Linda McMahon, heard about many employment issues, like the challenge military spouses face with portability of certifications and licensure, and the 16% unemployment rate working military spouses face when looking for a new job after a mandatory PCS move.

At NMFA, we know the struggles military spouses have to overcome when trying to balance a purpose-driven career; something the military doesn’t always accommodate.

“These military spouses say many of them face the heartbreaking decision to leave their career or leave their husband…they chose career,” McMahon tweeted during the session.

While many military spouses don’t leave their military member for good, a large number of them have moved to a new city ahead of PCS orders to start looking for work, while others stayed behind when a spouse received new orders so they could continue a promising career. Many jobs in professions like medical or teaching fields, require state specific licensing—a reason why many spouses stay put in a location to maintain.

Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta attended the roundtable and shared that the Administration aims to create policies that will help alleviate or eliminate certain licensing requirements while working towards reciprocity allowing military spouses to carry their certifications and licensures from state to state with more ease.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, who advocates for America’s small business and entrepreneurs, discussed the myriad of SBA partnerships they have with the Department of Defense, and spotlighted opportunities that NMFA has to offer, like partnerships with schools and organizations to help military spouses find funding for license, certificate, training, or exam fees, and scholarships to help spouses better navigate transitioning from state to state.

NMFA’s Government Relations Director, Kelly Hruska, believes the listening session was a great start to addressing military spouse employment challenges and finding potential solutions to them.

“We really appreciate Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, and others for taking their time to listen to the spouses and organizations that were there,” said Hruska. “NMFA looks forward to hearing how the White House will address the challenges military spouses face when pursuing their careers, and look forward to working with them.”

Following the session, participants had the unique opportunity to meet President Trump in the Oval Office.

Posted August 3, 2017

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