Soon after Michelle Obama called on governors to make it easier for members of the military to find jobs after separating from services, second lady Dr. Jill Biden spoke out on behalf of their spouses. During a meeting with the National Governors Association, she said that governors should make it possible for the husbands and wives of servicemembers to transfer their professional licenses from state to state.
Frequent moves threaten stability
Of all the challenges military families face, having to move frequently is one of the most difficult. According to the Department of Defense, spouses of those in the Armed Forces have to move an average of 10 more times than the average person. Aside from causing a great deal of stress, this makes it difficult for them to find jobs. As a result, the unemployment rate among military spouses in considerably higher than it is for the civilian population. However, allowing them to use similar licenses and other credentials across state lines, as the second lady is recommending, could make it easier for them to find jobs.
The time is now
Experts estimate that thousands of soldiers will be separating from service over the next several years, which will place a heavy emphasis on the need for both members of military families finding jobs. So far, 28 states have pro spouse policies in place. These laws include language that makes it easier for teachers, social workers, nurses and other similar professionals to transfer from state to state. Still, Biden told the governors that more needs to be done.
"We hope all of you will reach out to your bases and your National Guard and Reserve communities [and] talk with the military spouses – I'm sure many of you already do this already – and make sure that these laws are working for our military families," she told the governors gathered at the White House.
A longtime goal for Biden
Along with Michelle Obama, Biden has been one of the leading voices behind the Joining Forces initiative. Along with helping military families and servicemembers find employment opportunities, the program has been committed to helping spread support for their causes across the United States. Additionally, Obama and Biden have made a point to help schools recognize the unique challenges faced by military children.