Embracing Career Military Spouses in Today’s World of Work

Author

Jenny Schwope

Jenny Schwope joined Parker + Lynch Legal, a Special Counsel pillar, in 2016 and currently serves as the Senior Director for Law Firm Management, placing high-level legal talent business professionals within manager, director, and C-Suite roles throughout the nation. Within the company, she serves on the Diversity & Inclusion Council and Culture Committee. In addition, she has played an active role with the Adecco Group's Military Spouse Employee Resource Group. Finally, Jenny is a proud Army spouse.

May is Military Appreciation Month, as first established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. This is the first Friday of the month we pay tribute to military spouses. Often this day may pass by without any fanfare, and honestly, many other military spouses I know aren’t looking for that at all. However, when it comes to the area of joining our servicemembers professionally and supporting our families financially that is where we raise our hands and call attention to our contributions as assets in the workforce. 

To counterbalance some of these statistics, there are many organizations and calls to action that are helping to further advance career military spouses. The White House has made this a priority in the previous and current administration – deeming it an issue of national security. Professions in law along with healthcare, teaching and other areas face licensing issues as each state has different requirements. Although organizations such as MSJDN do a significant amount of work for military spouses in the legal profession to advocate for licensing accommodations, there is still much to be done in this area.  

On a more practical note for employers, what military spouses are asking for in order to have a successful career is not a far departure from what their workforce is currently seeking. Amidst frequent moves or being a full-time caretaker of all things on the homefront when your partner is suddenly deployed or has a last-minute training exercise, flexibility is critical. Flexibility and remote work capabilities are also something that are the most requested benefits among the workforce today. 

I have been fortunate to work with employers who have supported my career through many moves. Having a career is critical to me and I am proud to work with Speical Counsel, under the Parker + Lynch Legal pillar which has consistently been recognized as a Military Spouse Friendly Employer

On this Military Spouse Appreciation Day, I challenge employers to take a proactive look at military spouse talent to join their workforce. This includes training recruiters to look beyond career gaps on resumes and getting to know the talent and contributions we bring. In addition, as a part of your commitment to hiring talent, you can do an appreciation and professional development event in honor of military spouses. For example, the Adecco Group is partnering with Dress for Success [to provide military spouses with career imaging and career counseling to prepare them for today’s world of work on May 10th, 2019. Workshops like these are easy to facilitate and demonstrate the commitment to hiring military spouses and their ongoing success in your organization.

Finally, I challenge military spouses to embrace the vulnerability it requires to be recognized as a military spouse in the workplace. There can certainly be risks involved with biases, but there is also a great amount of pride, dedication, and resilience that we can demonstrate to employers that we bring to our careers. 

To all fellow military spouses, here’s wishing you the absolute best Military Spouse Appreciation Day! 


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