You may have heard about the Spousal Preference Program, but have you heard of success stories using this program?!?!? I'm here as a living testimony that the program can work. Last month I started back to work for the federal government and was hired under the spousal preference program.
Let's clarify what the Spousal Preference Program is and what it does! It provides priority in the employment selection process for military spouses who are relocating as a result of their military spouse's PCS. It DOES NOT apply to separation or retirement moves and (I might be wrong) I don't think it applies to Guard/Reserve, sorry!
It does not mean that a position will be created for you when your spouse is PCS'd to another location nor does it provide a guarantee of employment. It may not be available in the area you are moving to so you'll have to check ahead of time. There are a lot of regulations - Go figure! - with this program, so do your research. There has to be a position available that you qualify for and you have to be the best qualified for the position. Veterans (of course) have preference over spouses. You have to request and apply for the program.
I have a friend for whom this program is not working at all. She's been signed up for the program for almost 3 years. She's a teacher and there just aren't any positions that match her skills. It just hasn't worked for her so she's pursued other career options and keeps checking with the Civilian Personnel people. I was really fortunate - I had the experience and skill set that were in demand where we are and it worked for me. I feel extremely fortunate to be in the position I was placed in - here's another thing - you HAVE to take the first position offered or you get bumped out of the program. I happened to feel that any position was worth taking. I got really lucky - I love the job and the people working with me! I'm proud to be working to serve the service members as a member of the civilian workforce.
I realize this program has many frustrated spouses. I know that it's not perfect, but for many it has worked. Make sure you are also applying for positions yourself through USAJobs.gov (whew, get yourself a strong cup of coffee before you dive into this one! It'll make you feel like you've run a marathon before you've completed your application process! Good prep for any job!) and keep other options open for your next career move.
If the program has worked for you, please share your experience and any tips/pointers for those still in the process of finding a position or for those who are just finding out about the program!