THE BLOG
05/10/2013 09:49 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2013

Military Spouses the All Too Often Unsung Hero

May is Military Appreciation Month, and this Friday, May 10th is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. As if we need a special day to thank the military and military spouses for the service and sacrifice to the Nation, but I guess for some, they actually do have to be reminded.

There is no shortage of support for the men and women who deploy, or who suffer an injury as a result of their service. All you have to do is look at groups such as; the Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House, and other non-profits, and I am in full support of any group that recognizes and respects their service. The problem I have is where is the support for the Military Spouse? They serve as the mother, father, coach, and breadwinner in many cases while their loved one is sent to serve in harm's way. They not only have to endure the challenges of running their household, but they also have the uncertainty of when their husband or wife will come home, or if they will even make it home.

The unemployment rate for the veteran population has seen a steady decline since the recession hit. With the latest numbers reflecting an overall unemployment rate for veterans at 7.1% For younger veterans known as Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate is 9.2%

For the Military Spouse, the unemployment rate is a mind blowing 26% That means more than 1 in 4 who need or want to work, is unable to find a job. As a Nation, we should feel both embarrassed and ashamed that this is the case. It is high time we do what we can to ensure they have every opportunity to provide for their family, and secure their piece of the American Dream. Imagine if it was our spouse who faced an unemployment rate of 26%! Last week, I had the privilege of meeting the First Lady and Dr. Biden at an event they hosted at the White House, to celebrate the Joining Forces Initiative they launched in 2011. Since the launch of their program, more than 290,000 veterans and military spouses have been hired, and employers have pledged to assist at least 435,000 more over the next 5 years. The First Lady is leading the charge to make it easier for military spouses to have their credentials and licenses carry across state lines, given they move at a rate that is ten times greater than their civilian counterparts.

The Department of Defense has developed the Military Spouse Employment Partnership that is setup to connect military spouses with employers, who recognize and value the skills and talents they add to the workforce. Since the inception of MSEP, more than 160 leading employers have hired more than 36,000 military spouses. This is further proof that like with veteran hiring, it is up to the private sector to do all we can to ensure that veterans and their spouses should not have to fight for a job after fighting and serving the country we all live in.

My company, Veteran Recruiting Services is proud to host the Military Spouse Appreciation Day virtual career fair on May 10th for the third straight year. More than 30 Fortune 1,000 employers are signed on to participate, and they represent more than 60,000 available jobs, and we hope and pray that as many as possible are filled with veterans and military spouses.

Less than 1% of our population wears the Nation's uniform, and it is a national disgrace that they often struggle so much to find a job when they look to return to civilian life. If every employer in America hired just one veteran and military spouse, the veteran unemployment rate would be a non-issue inside of a year.

How are you showing your support of our military and military spouses this month, and every other month of the year?

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