National Hire a Vet Day now includes spouses, a largely untapped talent pool

Despite high levels of education, military spouses face employment barriers.

SAN ANTONIO – It’s National Hire a Vet Day, and the effort now also includes military spouses., a largely untapped talent pool, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber says military spouses have long faced employment challenges with an unwavering unemployment rate of 22% to an estimated increase to 38% due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michelle Logan, a local military spouse, says she has experienced both the joys and hurdles of marrying into the military.

Logan met her husband in Louisiana, where he was commissioned into the U.S. Army 25 years ago.

Since then, Logan says they have had to relocate 13 times.

Logan tells KSAT she understood her husband’s duties and responsibilities to the Army and was on board for the ride.

She says at first, it was a great experience, meeting other spouses along the way and learning there was a role she had to take.

“His commanders’ spouses were all very engaging; some of them worked, some of them didn’t. That was kind of the expectation at the time, was that you became the spouse, you became the person behind the military,”

Logan, a Louisiana State University grad with a degree in microbiology, sacrificed her career as a researcher and prioritized her family. She says putting her professional endeavors aside was something she did to keep her family together.

“So, through the years, I did, you know, whatever jobs I could get,” Logan said.

While stationed in Germany with her husband, Logan gave birth to two boys.

“Our boys were born in Germany, so at that point, it wasn’t an option to work anymore,” Logan said. “When we came home, you know, child care became an issue because unless you had a professional job, then it was just not worth it to work because all your money would go towards child care,” Logan said.

Logan says she understands just how difficult it is to find a job and keep a job as a military spouse but says through the help of organizations like Endeavors and Hiring Our Heroes, she has found a fulfilling career.

Chief Administrative Officer of Endeavors, Danny Hernandez, a non-profit organization and largest provider of supportive care for veteran families, says organizations can gain a lot of value in hiring veterans and military spouses.

“I have the unique perspective of not only serving but having been a dependent,” Hernandez said. “My father served in the Army, and I saw the challenges that my mother faced as a spouse with his frequent assignments. Despite the many skills that she had, she had difficulty securing employment along the way. Oftentimes when she was able to secure employment, it was basically, this is what you get … take it or leave it.”

In June, the White House presented an executive order on advancing economic security for military and veteran spouses.

“I think the fact that the Biden administration has made this effort to not only focus on veterans but on military-connected spouses as well really speaks a lot to the value in the military spouse,” Hernandez said.

The executive order directs federal agencies to prioritize hiring military spouses and veterans.

One way is by offering flexible telework and remote work options while focusing on recruiting and retention.

“I would like to see more companies be more open to knowing that, ‘hey, you may not be around for two years, but the remote jobs, those are the types of things you can transfer from place to place,’” Logan said.

Hernandez says there is a lot of effort now in recognizing the challenges and the contributions military spouses make.

“We want to recognize them as well and do everything that we can to bring them into the workforce. We work closely with associations on the local installations. Sometimes they’ll have a hiring fair for spouses, and it’s always good to go out and gather that information and see if we can’t fit them into the organization,” Hernandez said.

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About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.