Like we wrote earlier, the White House this morning unveiled a sweeping military family action plan, with action points across a number of federal agencies.
While we find all of the items interesting – increasing family psychological health initiatives, making education grants more available to military kids, the childcare pilot program we previously reported and a variety of other points – the spouse employment and education push is particularly important.
Unfortunately it looks like it will be a mostly wait and see game as more details about exactly when the employment initiatives they highlighted will be available. These include opening to spouses the Tuition Assistance Program, a program previously only available to separating and retiring servicemembers, expanding the Army Spouse Employment Partnership across all services and bringing down professional licensing barriers to promote competitive career advancement across states on par with civilian advancement.
Meanwhile, military family advocacy organizations are rejoicing that the White House is giving military family policy such big play. In the past such intiaitves have stopped at the Department of Defense. The new policy announcement spreads them across every White House cabinet position and a variety of agencies.
“We’re really pleased,” said Kelly Hruska, a deputy director of government relations at the National Military Family Association. “Looking at that coordinated [federal] approach to support military families is really a step in the right direction.”
We’ll keep you updated as these new spouse employment programs are put into play. You can check out Military.com’s story for more on today’s White House event.
The folks over at Blue Star Families say they are also pleased with the announcement.
"Issues like education, psychological health and spouse employment are important to a strong national defense because when a soldier serves, the whole family serves," said Kathy Roth-Douquet, a Marine Corps spouse and the co-founder of Blue Star Families. "Engaging and involving our communities in developing solutions to these issues will serve to strengthen our military and the country and today's announcement is a significant step forward in the right direction. We are thrilled and honored to be a part of this historic initiative."