Photos: Kaine Joins Blue Star Families, Business Leaders For Military Spouses Employment Opportunities Summit
**View photos of the event, here**
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined military spouses and business leaders in Arlington for a summit on improving employment opportunities. Co-hosted by Blue Star Families, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the group—which included military spouse Katie McMaster—discussed obstacles to employment for military spouses and successful strategies businesses have implemented to recruit and welcome military spouses into their workforces. Kaine has been a strong advocate for servicemembers, veterans, and military families through his role on the Armed Services Committee. In the spring, Kaine held a roundtable focused on issues affecting military families in Hampton Roads where spouses raised numerous issues affecting employment opportunities and the strains it puts on the servicemembers and their families. Following the event, he asked for help from NVTC and Blue Star Families to pull together the group and bring diverse opinions and experiences to the table.
“This event started a good dialogue about how our businesses and institutions can support our military spouses through expanded workforce opportunity,” Kaine said. “There is not enough information out there about employment issues among our military spouses who already sacrifice so much in service to our country. Military spouses move from place to place and have to deal with different issues—including around credentialing and licensure across state lines—and look for flexible employment that can accommodate the realities of being a military spouse. At the same time, the lifestyle that comes with being a military spouse brings with it numerous soft skills that employers need and which are not highlighted enough. This roundtable pulled together some of the bright minds working to address this issue to look at best practices and where we can expand opportunities. We talked about what Congress can do to help and how we can work more closely with our Governors, business, and military installation commanders to address this issue. Military spouse unemployment is a military readiness issue and I’ll continue to work through my role as Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee to ensure that our warfighters are not distracted by financial uncertainty at home. This was a positive step and I believe the conversation we had opened up eyes in the room to the magnitude of this challenge and will ultimately bring positive change.”
Businesses that took part in the roundtable included representatives from Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, IntelliDyne, MAXIMUS, Northrop Grumman, Samsung, Sprint, USAA, Vencore. Participants from the Department of Defense were also in attendance.
In March, Kaine—who has a son in the military—was named co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Military Family Caucus. The Caucus serves as a bipartisan forum to address the challenges facing Americans with family members who are serving or have served in the armed forces. In the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup, Kaine advocated for a provision that requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to begin evaluating a process to assist military spouses with transferring professional licenses and credentials across state lines.