As we honor our veterans, military spouses struggle to find, keep jobs
MIAMI - On Friday we honor our veterans, but one group that is often overlooked is military spouses.
While their partner serves the country, sometimes moving from location to location, many struggle to find a job and keep jobs.
Alexis Kimotho has moved five times in the past 15 years because her husband is in the U.S. Navy. Like most members of the military, the family has to relocate on a regular basis. And for the mother of two, every new city has meant the challenge of finding a new job. And even when she finds one, it can be difficult to advance.
"The employer told me that I was not someone that they would want to invest in because I wouldn't be around long enough," Kimotho says.
It's a common problem. The Military Family Lifestyle Survey conducted last year by Blue Star Families and Syracuse University found the top concern for active-duty military families is spouse employment, more than time away from family or children's education.
"Military spouse unemployment has, on average, been three to four times higher compared to their civilian counterparts," says Rosalinda Vasquez Maury, the research director at the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families.
Even those who find work often have a disadvantage. "We've looked at this a number of different ways, and, on average, military spouses make about 37% to 38% less than their civilian counterparts," Maury says.
But the recent trend of remote work is helping military spouses keep a job even when they move.
Two years ago, Kimotho started working from home with Instant Teams, which connects military spouses to businesses in need of remote workers. Erica McMannes and fellow military spouse Liza Rodewald started the company.
"It is the mission, it is that we know every single person that we hire we are putting additional financial security into military family homes," McMannes said.
Kimotho loves the flexibility of working from home and peace of mind.
"This is the first time in my entire journey with my husband that I feel confident that work will continue," Kimotho says.
Her family may have to move again this summer, but at least this time, the job will stay the same.
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