Washington DC Â· October 10, 2007 /PRNewswire/ â€” In Fiscal Year 2006, the Army Spouse Employment Partnership (ASEP) corporations hired more than 5,000 spouses, bringing the total number of hires to 16,000 since the program's inception in 2003. The Army continues to help U.S. companies recruit skilled employees while supporting Army Families by helping spouses find rewarding work through ASEP. Currently, there are partnerships between the Army and 26 companies. Current Partners are: Army Air Force Exchange Service, Adecco, ACS, Inc, AT&T, Boys and Girls Clubs, Concentra, Computer Sciences Corporation, Civilian Personnel, CVS/pharmacy, Defense Commissary Agency, Dell, EURPAC, Home Depot, H&R Block, Humana, Lockheed Martin, Manpower Inc, Sabre/Travelocity, Sears Holdings, Sprint, Social Service Administration, Starbucks, Stratmar, Suntrust, USAA, and the Army Career Alumni Program.
There are more than a half million Army spouses, approximately one-half of whom are currently working in a variety of occupations. "Seventy percent of Army spouses have college/vocational or post-secondary education, and are exceedingly well-qualified for employment, yet relocations associated with their military spouses have hampered their ability to both obtain jobs as well as gain extended experience in a particular job," says John P. McLaurin III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Human Resources. "Spouse employment is a major determining factor in Soldier retention especially as the service strives to retain experienced Soldiers," Mr. McLaurin adds.
"Forward thinking, innovative companies are recognizing the vast pool of talent that exists among Military spouses. They represent one of the most diverse and talented workforce, with a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds and are widely recognized for their work ethic, professionalism and corporate loyalty. "By hiring Army spouses, companies are realizing both financial and logistical benefits," says Isaac Templeton, Jr., Chief, Transition Support Services. "Companies may save on health care packages and relocation costs, in addition to the time and money saved on hiring a loyal and highly-qualified employee from the get-go," Mr. Templeton adds.
"In the past employers were hesitant to hire Army spouses because of their frequent relocations, but now with our forces being stabilized in three to five year long assignments that hurdle has been jumped. Now Army spouses are a highly sought after candidate pool. They have the characteristics that meet much of corporate America's recruitment challenges. In addition to being young and educated they excel in project-based work," says Delores Johnson, Director of Family Programs.
Computer Sciences Corporation's (CSC) Army Programs Business Unit has 1,100 employees with 90 percent of their senior leaders being former military or military spouses. With this type of leadership, military spouse candidates know that our hiring managers can relate to their unique situation. CSC offers spousal preference to military spouses and provides relocation assistance and resume sharing among other ASEP partners. CSC's ASEP Liaison and military spouse, Andrea Hall says "We go beyond just hiring military spouses. Recently, through the ASEP program, we hired a military mom that had to relocate to Washington, DC, to care for her son who was injured in Iraq. And, last year after one of our CSC employees was activated by the Army Reserve to deploy, we hired his wife to replace him. We liked her so much that she kept his job when he returned and we promoted him to a different position," adds Ms. Hall.
H&R Block offers a Military Spouse Scholarship for their 96 hour tax preparation course. All fees are waived for any military spouse wishing to take the course and there are no obligations to either H&R Block or to the spouse upon completing the course. "Many military spouses do elect to come work for H&R Block upon completing the training, but there is no obligation to," notes Lilly Cannon, military program manager for H&R Block. "The spouse can take the course simply to gain a greater understanding of tax laws in order to better prepare their own taxes or they may choose to take what they've learned and go work for someone else. H&R Block offers "portable" careers, providing employees with great flexibility both with when they work and where they work. "H&R Block does not consider the fact that military spouses relocate often as a problem as we have offices throughout the country and in close proximity to military installations. It makes better business sense to help our employees get placed in another branch if/when they move rather than losing a good employee," Ms. Cannon adds.
Manpower, one of the world's largest employment-services companies, showcases its efforts to assist Army spouses at Ft. Benning, GA. These efforts are part of a multifaceted military recruitment strategy in providing Manpower clients with diverse but often untapped talent pool. At Ft Benning each week, Manpower meets, on average, 10 individuals and provides them with employment guidance and information on local labor trends. Those that meet minimum Manpower requirements are encouraged to complete the intake process. Since 2003, more than 2,000 Ft. Benning military spouses have received services from Manpower. Approximately 1,000 completed the intake process, resulting in an average placement rate of 75%. Recently, efforts have become even more focused as the need for talent has intensified, with placement rates exceeding 80% in 2007. "In March 2007, Manpower conducted a survey of 36,000 employers across the world to determine the extent to which talent shortages are impacting today's labor markets. The survey results revealed that 41 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets," says Bojan Cubela, Regional Program Manager, Workforce Development. "Army spouses help fill the need for educated and professional workers in markets where, often times, there is a dearth of the specific kind of talent or experience employers are seeking." Melanie Holmes, Manpower's Vice President, Corporate Affairs - North America adds "Our clients are looking for employees that have talents beyond their core job skills ... We welcome any opportunity to highlight the diverse experiences unique to military spouses and make every effort to create a partnership where those skills open doors to meaningful career opportunities and, at the same time, benefit our clients."
Affiliated Computer Services hires 50-60 employees each week at its call center near Ft. Bliss in El Paso. They will be fine-tuning their military hiring program and reaching out to Army spouses through close relationships with Army Community Service Employment Readiness Offices and expanding their hiring program to locations near other major Army posts, including Fort Lewis and Fort Sam Houston. "We recognize military spouses are a talented group of employees who happen to be located near many of our offices. We offer the advantage of an easy commute and flexibility when military spouses are relocating," says Scott Waters, Vice President of Staffing for ACS.
The Army recognizes that a spouse's satisfaction with Army life is linked to spouse perception of quality-of-life issues, including his or her ability to realize personal and professional goals. The Army Spouse Employment Partnership (ASEP), is a self-sustaining and expanding partnership that is mutually beneficial to the Army and corporate America. The Partnership provides Army spouses the opportunity to attain financial security and achieve employment goals through career mobility and enhanced employment options. Corporate partners are provided the capability to tap into a readily available, diverse and talented pool of candidates. Complementing the Spouse Employment Partnership, on 95 Army installations around the world, Army Community Service (ACS) gives spouses an edge in a competitive job market. Employment Readiness Program Managers (ERPMs) provide information, resources and career counseling to help Army spouses focus on their strengths and find the best employment and training opportunities.
Lauren Itzkowitz/Kathy Boyle
Nine Yards Media
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