By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Sept. 30, 2020) -- The COVID-19 pandemic won't put a crimp on the next Military Spouse Employment Partnership Virtual Hiring Event, said the director of military community support programs within the Defense Department.
A related event held in April, the Virtual Military Spouse Symposium, saw a 125% increase in attendance over the previous year, said Lee Kelley. "We really saw that participation rate go up, not down." If that's any indication, the next virtual hiring event should be an even greater success than the one held earlier this year.
The event, scheduled for Oct. 14, is sponsored by Military OneSource's Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.
Already, more than 100 of the 450 corporate, nonprofit and federal organizations within the partnership have signed up to participate, said Kelley.
Those partners will be available online during the hiring event to interview military spouses for potential jobs.
"The one thing that all of these partners have in common is that they're committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses," said Kelley.
Because the event is virtual, military spouses from all over the world will be able to attend. Spouses from more than a dozen countries are expected to participate. And employers aren't just looking for new employees to work in the U.S., said Kelley.
"We have companies signed on to the partnership who may have their headquarters in the states, but who have positions [to fill] around the globe," she said.
The MSEP's virtual hiring event is about more than just helping military families augment their finances with a second income, Kelley said. The program also makes it possible for spouses to bring valuable skills and much-needed talent to the private sector, government and nonprofit agencies.
"Military spouses deserve to have recognition of their skill sets and the value that they bring to the table in the workplace," she said. "These events are important because we can say confidently that these are employers who recognize the value of military spouses and who recognize the vast breadth of expertise across industry sectors that spouses have."
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership Virtual Hiring Event begins at 11 a.m. EDT, Oct. 14. Those interested in participating should go to https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil to sign up.
Kelley said she also encourages military spouses who wish to participate to first call Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647 and get in touch with a career coach there to discuss their employment goals.
"Touch base with one of our certified, master's-level career coaches in advance of the hiring fair to make sure your resume is polished and to make sure your skill sets are represented in the best possible light," she said, adding that would-be hiring fair attendees can also go over interview skills that might be helpful.
"My hope would be that every spouse who attends the hiring fair and is ready for employment gets an opportunity in their desired career fields for an interview," she said.