Career-Specific Help Through DoD Keeps Spouses on Track


Military spouse career help can still be a challenge -- but a new Military OneSource program upgrade from the Defense Department is helping military spouses in specific career fields develop goals -- and stick with them, DoD officials said this month.

The paths rolled out over the last year focus on guiding spouses from four different perspectives or backgrounds into careers from start to finish. The career counselors keep those users accountable by helping them stay on track with goals through regular check-ins and help with brainstorming. They also can connect users with the resources available from the DoD or through DoD partners, said Eddy Mentzer, who leads the spouse career program for the DoD

"Earlier this year we looked at our counseling center, and one of the things that we saw was that while we were getting a great deal of call volume, we saw an opportunity to increase the quality of engagement," he said.

Dubbed "specialty packages," right now the specific military spouse career coaching focuses on those who want to start their own businesses, those reentering the workforce after an absence, those who are getting ready to start a career for the first time and, soon, spouses who are entering the science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields. 

Spouses who want to use the program will be able to meet with their career coach as many times as necessary as they work toward the goal they create together. The offering is similar to career coaching offered by the Department of Labor at American Job Centers, but is designed to be focused on challenges faced by military families, he said. 

So far about 200 spouses have used the career coaching specialty service, Mentzer said, but his team is looking to increase that and the service has room for as many spouses as want to take advantage of the offering. The program is linked to the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) so the counselors can users toward job openings there.

"My goal managing this program is, first that spouses know that these packages are available and that spouses that need them utilize them," he said.

His team plans to put together more military spouse career specializations over time, with the next one in line focused on the healthcare industry, he said. 

We'd love to hear from someone who has used the Military OneSource career counseling service. Let us know your experience in the comments! 

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