White House Plans to Roll Out Military Spouse Coalition

Tamara Rose Olson-Harper, Military Spouse Employment Partnership, speaks during the military spouse education and employment panel March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)
Tamara Rose Olson-Harper, Military Spouse Employment Partnership, speaks during the military spouse education and employment panel March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

The White House plans to develop a military spouse working group aimed at addressing military spouse employment issues, a top White House official said Thursday.

"We're going to be doing a national conference call with different organizations ... we're going to start building out a coalition of military spouses at the White House," said Jennifer Korn, deputy director for the White House Office of Public Liaison.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order May 9 directing federal agencies to double down on efforts to utilize an existing military spouse federal direct hiring authority put in place in 2008 by President George W. Bush. The executive order also directs agencies to collect data on their military spouse hiring practices. Military spouse hiring was also a focus of the Obama administration through a program known as Joining Forces.

The new coalition will look to work through military spouse employment issues. Korn spoke Thursday about the coalition and White House spouse hiring programs to a group of military spouses at a non-partisan political action boot camp for military spouses known as Homefront Rising in Washington, D.C.

"We can't ask the private sector to come in, and challenge them to hire military spouses, if we're not doing it," she said. "And that's why we took the first step."

Trump signed the executive order while meeting with a group of military spouses at the White House, including representatives from the U.S. Chamber Foundation's Military Spouse Professional Network program, previously known as In Gear Career.

"We will now ensure that you have better access to federal jobs. By taking this action today, we are leading by example and encouraging American businesses across the country to expand job opportunities for our incredible and talented and highly educated military spouses," Trump said at the signing.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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