San Diego Business Journal An ongoing challenge for all branches of the military is spouse unemployment and underemployment. Research by the U.S. Department of Defense shows that the military spouse unemployment rate is nearly three times that of civilians. The issue has been designated as a national security imperative by the White House and has become a cause for First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

In an effort to help, three competing financial services companies that were all founded to serve the military community, 
Navy Federal Credit UnionPentagon Federal Credit Union, and USAA have come together and committed $1 million to Blue Star Families to fund a three-year collaborative effort to conduct research and provide insights to identify root causes of military spouse unemployment and underemployment. In a first ever joint statement, the CEOs of all three companies said “It is well known that military spouses face unique employment challenges compared to their civilian counterparts, which hiders their careers, family livelihood, and impacts the broader military community. Our companies are committed to helping address this critical issue in support of our military families and their communities.”

According to the DoD, 22% of military spouses were unemployed in 2019. That figure had not significantly improved since 2012. Since the start of COVID-19 in March 2020, the situation has only gotten worse with 42% of military spouses, who had been working prior to the pandemic, reporting that they had stopped working at some point.


“Military spouse unemployment is consistently a top challenge presented to our military families and one that requires renewed attention, collaboration, and innovative solutions,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families.


The research phase of the initiative will start in January 2022 and continue through 2024. Results from the research will be released at key points over the next three years.


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Also supporting military spouses who may find entrepreneurism appealing to them is 
The Rosie Foundation. Founded by San Diegan Stephanie Brown, a military spouse, its mission is “to build stronger families by developing entrepreneurial programs and support services that empower active-duty, veterans, and military spouses to realize the American Dream of small business ownership, increasing financial stability and self sufficiency of those who have served.”

The organization has been training active duty, veterans, and military spouses for more than 10 years. All their services are at no cost and more information can be found at: 
therosienetwork.org.