Placement service helps spouses find work
In early January, Sara Headrick met with a consultant at Adecco, a company that helps employers find the right people for their temporary or permanent positions. Within a few weeks, she was working as an interior designer for HKS Architects, an international firm with an office in Washington, D.C.
The spouse employment career counselor at the Marine Corps’ Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., referred her to Adecco, which has partnerships with the military services to connect military spouses with temporary and permanent positions — and has helped more than 20,000 spouses over the past five years.
“They knew I wanted something at a fast pace,” said Headrick, 27.
She worked as an interior designer in the Hampton Roads, Va., area, before she married her husband, a Marine lance corporal, in July 2006.
“I had a job I loved, but due to the fact he had to transfer, I picked up and moved, and the rest is history,” she said. They came to the Washington area in the fall, and she got a part-time seasonal job in retail. But she wanted a better paying full-time job in her career field. “We had some bills coming in. I wanted to get a job, but it was also necessary for me to get a job,” she said.
The services, understanding the employment needs of mobile military spouses such as Headrick, have formed partnerships with companies that want to hire spouses. Adecco is one of the first, forming a partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps more than five years ago.
Adecco is also part of the Army’s Spouse Employment Partnership, which includes 26 national civilian companies as well as military and federal employers ranging from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to Starbucks. Since 2003, these employers have hired more than 16,000 military spouses.
Adecco has worked with more than 20,000 spouses through seminars, job fairs and other outreach programs. Its Career Connections program, previously known as Career Accelerator, offers career counseling, résumé enhancement, interview training and online skills training.
“The company sees the value of employing military spouses — they are educated, diverse, have strong values and work ethics,” said Navy wife Rachelle Chapman, executive assistant in government relations for Adecco Group North America.
“We have Adecco branches nationwide, and that’s very attractive for military spouses,” Chapman said.
Some of the spouses are looking for temporary or part-time jobs to fit their schedules. Others, such as Headrick, are looking for full-time jobs. Headrick said the career counselor at Henderson Hall, as well as the Adecco consultant, helped her look for a job “when I didn’t have the time or the resources to do so. We don’t have a computer at home.”
Adjusting to being a new Marine wife, as well as coming to the Washington area, were challenges, she said, but the career counselor at the Marine base and the Adecco consultant knew the ropes, and “were eager to get me into the work force.”
Her job is a good fit for her. “HKS does some amazing projects, and they’re an amazing company to work for. They know I’m a military spouse and are willing to work with me in any way possible,” she said, noting that the company has offices in other locations.
“Spouses should contact Adecco before they move, so they can have something in the works when they arrive,” Headrick said.
Among the other training and career opportunities that have opened for military spouses in the last few years is the Accredited Financial Counselor fellowship program. This year’s 200 spouses were notified in late June that they’d won the fellowships, which cover the costs of completing the certification program.
As part of the program, the spouses will be required to offer financial counseling and financial education to the military community. The 2006 fellowship recipients have already provided more than 27,027 volunteer hours, according to the NASD Investor Education Foundation, which funds the program.
Over the past two years, more than 4,700 military spouses applied for fellowships, and 400 were chosen. This year’s class of 200 represents all services, including the Coast Guard, as well as the National Guard and reserve.
The program’s two courses focus on personal finance issues, counseling techniques and skills, and debt management and prepare spouses to provide financial counseling to individuals and Families. The application process begins each spring. Information will be online at http://www.nmfa.org.
By Karen Jowers - Staff writer, Military Times, July 2007