WASHINGTON,- First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a new hiring effort that will deliver thousands of portable, flexible job opportunities to military spouses.
Eleven companies have pledged more than 15,000 jobs for military spouses and veterans, the first lady said. The good news for spouses is the vast majority of these jobs – in areas such as customer support and telemarketing — can be accomplished from home.
Other jobs will be in contact centers located near military installations, and offer family-friendly scheduling, growth opportunities and the ability to transfer seamlessly from one center to another
This commitment will make a “huge difference” for military spouses, Obama said during a teleconference announcing this effort. “Having an opportunity to have a decent job … is one of the most important ways we can support these families,” she said.
I think my fellow working parents would agree on the value of a flexible, portable job, especially as we attempt to balance home and work life. And it’s particularly important for military spouses, who must balance the everyday challenges of life with military-related demands.
My friend, a Navy wife, is about to move. Fortunately, she works from home and can live anywhere. Not having to worry about finding a new job on top of the other stressors of a move is a huge relief, she said. Her flexible work hours also offer a better work-life balance, especially since she has two children.
Obama cited her own struggles with that work-life balance. As a working mother, she said, she fought for the type of flexibility these jobs offer throughout her career.
The first lady thanked these companies for backing up their words with “meaningful, concrete action.”
Companies’ key commitments include:
— Alpine Access has pledged to recruit, train, and hire more than 3,000 military-connected Americans over the next two years. The company also will launch TalentSprout, an online portal with skill-building and job training curriculum. These career and personal development courses will be offered free-of-charge to qualified members of the armed forces and to their eligible spouses and caregivers.
— Arise Virtual Solutions Inc. plans to add 10,000 new independent business and client services professionals from military families over the next several years. Arise also intends to develop special programs to create awareness among military spouses and veterans.
— DialAmerica aims to increase the number of military-affiliated employees to make up 20 percent of its workforce by 2014.
— Etech Global Services has committed to hiring a minimum of 200 military spouses and veterans in next two years.
— Hilton Hotels employs nearly 800 military-related employees at their hotels and offices around the globe. In partnership with Recruit Military and other community-based organizations, Hilton Worldwide is pledging another 3.5 percent of their Hilton@Home call center positions to military spouses through 2014.
— Prosperity America intends to hire 50 more veterans and military spouses.
— Quality Contact Solutions is creating 150 work-at-home business-to-business marketing and communication jobs for military spouses over the next two years. These jobs will be in the health care and telecommunications industries.
— Agility Marketing is planning to add 100 jobs for military spouses and veterans over the next two years.
— QCSS Inc. will ensure a minimum of 10 percent of the forecasted 200 new hires from now through 2014 will be veterans and their families.
— SP Data intends to add more than 150 jobs for military spouses and veterans over the next two years.
— Veteran Call Center, LLC plans to create an additional 1,000 jobs for military spouses and veterans over the next two years.
These companies and their job opportunities also will be integrated into the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership. MSEP is a partnership with more than 100 private-sector companies that have committed to a focused effort on military spouse employment.
The first lady’s announcement comes in advance of next week’s Joining Forces anniversary. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, launched this national initiative last year to rally the nation in support of troops, veterans and their families.
Since then, they’ve focused much of their efforts on employment issues for spouses and veterans, the first lady said, and have “made strides all along the way.”