Hiring Our Heroes links employers to military spouses

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- The unemployment rate may be extremely low right now, but spouses of those in the military still face challenges finding work.

A new economic empowerment zone targeted specifically for military spouses seeks to change that.

Many officers stationed at Fort Leavenworth are only there for less than two years.

And it can be particularly difficult for their spouses to find anyone willing to hire them for such a short time period.

That's why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is joining with the city of Leavenworth to help create a network between dedicated, educated military spouses and employers in the metro area.

Dual incomes are important for most American families, but the chamber say only about half of military couples have both partners working.

Grantham University in Lenexa, Kansas, is one of the employers willing to hire spouses of those who serve.

"Hiring veterans is good business," Candice Haines said, outreach director at the school. "It's a program we’ve developed that’s free for employers, to teach them how to translate some of those skills. So this year we’ve taken it a step further and combined spouses into that. So companies can learn how to combine a military spouse initiative into their company."

Not having two incomes puts strain on military families and can prompt decisions to leave the service. That hurts military readiness and retention.

Oftentimes employers willing to take a chance on military spouses, don't want to lose them, and will offer them permanent positions where they can work remotely from just about anywhere.

The chamber says the unemployment rate among military spouses is 16 percent. If you are an employer who wants to  participate in the Hiring Our Heroes program go to: hiringourheroes.org

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