The Military's Transition Program for Separating Troops Will Soon Have Offerings for Spouses

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Fort Bliss hosts hiring fair for military spouses.
Fort Bliss hosts a hiring fair for military spouses and transitioning service members, February 13, 2020. (U.S. Army/ Michelle Gordon)

Military spouses whose families are getting ready to move to civilian life will soon have the chance to take in-person, career-focused transition classes designed for them and scheduled at convenient times, officials announced this week.

Leaders with the Pentagon's transition assistance program have long said that military spouses are encouraged to attend the sessions, which include classes on civilian career help for service members, financial guidance and information on how to use the Department of Veteran Affairs and what to expect in the form of post-military benefits.

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But those classes are offered to spouses on a space-available basis, do not include childcare and are typically held during normal working hours. While about 44% of spouses surveyed said they would attend the Transition Assistance Program if it was convenient and offered information they found useful, only 7% said they had attended any portion, according to the Department of Labor, which administers elements of the program.

A new TAP addition offered by DOL seeks to address that problem. Dubbed Transition Employment Assistance for Military Spouses, or TEAMS, it includes four courses designed to be delivered both virtually and in-person. They are: "Your Next Move;" "Career Credentials: How Important Are They?;" Mastering Resume Essentials;" and "Marketing Me: Job Search Tactics & Networking."

The classes will be first offered on a limited basis, with virtual sessions for all four in late October scattered throughout morning, afternoon and evening time slots in Eastern time. Pilot in-person classes are being offered in early October at Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Gordon, Georgia. Classes are expected to be held nationwide in early 2021, according to a release.

Funding for the classes was included in DOL's fiscal 2020 budget. The classes do not include childcare.

Spouses can register for the virtual training's on DOL's website. Those who want to attend in person at Fort Hood or Fort Gordon should contact their local transition assistance office.

Although data is not available for the rate at which former military spouses experience unemployment, the rate among current military spouses is estimated between 16% and 24%, depending on the report.

A program administered by the Defense Department, known as Spouse Education and Career Opportunities, offers career training, job placement assistance and, depending on the rank of the service member, money for education.

But access to those services largely ends when the family leaves the military. The DOL programming looks to give spouses an off-ramp into a post-military career.

"Military spouses make great sacrifices for our country. As a nation, we should lessen those burdens when we can, including in the workplace," Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a release. "The TEAMS initiative will equip military spouses with skills they can use to participate more fully in our nation's economy even as they shoulder the challenges of life in a military family."

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

Related: Military Transition Assistance Program Overview

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