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U.S. government aims to help military spouses find work

A U.S. Army soldier is greeted by his son after he and fellow troops return from Afghanistan on June 15, 2011. More than 500 soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team returned home following a year of heavy fighting and high casualties against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province.

Jeremy Hobson: Today the Department of Defense is teaming up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to launch a new program to find jobs for military spouses on the home front.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: Careers in the military require constant relocation, from one base to another. That makes it hard for the spouses of service members to hold down a job.

Kevin Schmiegel: They have an extremely high unemployment rate, nearing 30 percent.

Kevin Schmiegel is with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Schmiegel: You have lots of military spouses with college degrees and even with Ph.Ds that are currently not employed because of the transient nature of their families.

A spouse's career becomes especially important if a soldier is injured or killed.

Tom Tarantino with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America says military benefits do help, but they won't pay for a vet's kids to go to college.

Tom Tarantino: Suddenly this person who was in charge of keeping the homefront now has to go out and be the primary breadwinner.

So far, 72 companies have signed on to hire military spouses. This summer, across the country, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be holding job fairs for vets and their spouses.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.
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