First lady Michelle Obama holds Eun White, 4, as his father Darnell White (left) looks on during a celebration …Nearly a dozen private-sector companies have agreed to offer work-from-home job opportunities to veterans and military spouses as part of the White House's Joining Forces initiative to support military families, first lady Michelle Obama told reporters on Wednesday.
"Eleven companies are coming together to pledge more than 15,000 jobs for military spouses," she announced during a small press conference. "The vast majority of these jobs are ones that spouses can do at home, from anywhere in the country."
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Military families move 10 times as often as civilian families, according to data from Joining Forces. The initiative is already working to streamline the licensing procedure for military spouses who have jobs in fields that require a state-issued license, like nursing and teaching. Wednesday's announcement should help military spouses avoid the stress of having to find work every time they have to move.
"When the next set of orders come in for these military families and they have to move around the country, these jobs can go with them," the first lady said.
Dawn Schaeffer, 29, knows first-hand what it's like to deal with job difficulties as a military spouse. She lives near the Whitehead Air Force Base in Missouri -- her husband, Staff Seargeant Travis Schaeffer, is a senior munitions inspector -- and spent years working as a veterinary technician before she got married.
When she was pregnant, she and her husband moved from Guam to Missouri. "I looked for work as a veterinary technician," she said, but the jobs all required a long commute. Another military spouse told her about a company that offered telecommuting opportunities; now, her job with Arise Virtual Solutions gives her the flexibility she needs to care for her 7-month-old daughter and bring home a paycheck.
"It allowed me to set my own schedule, it allowed me to stay at home," she told Yahoo! Shine. "I get to provide customer service to some of the biggest companies in the world, and I don't have to worry about making ends meet if we get transferred or move to another base."
When Joining Forces launched last April, President Barack Obama challenged companies to commit to hiring or training 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses by 2013. Many have already pledged to do so but, according to Joining Forces Executive Director Brad Cooper, the 11 companies announced Wednesday are new to the initiative. "All of them have jobs available today," Cooper said.
The 11 companies are:
- Agility Marketing
- Alpine Access
- Arise Virtual Solutions, Inc.
- Dial America
- Etech Global Services
- Hilton Hotels
- Prosperity America
- Quality Contact Solutions
- QCSS Inc.
- SP Data
- Veteran Call Center, LLC
Though many of the jobs are in customer service, other teleworking opportunities are available, and the jobs are for people at different professional levels. "Some are entry level, some intermediate level, some are senior level -- they're all over the map," explained Cooper. "The opportunities depend on the talent." Many of the jobs will allow military spouses to work even if they move overseas.
"Our military spouses are some of the most talented, most resilient, and most employable people around," the first lady added. "When the next set of orders come in for these military parents and they have to move around the country, these jobs can go with them."
"This is the beginning, and we're going to keep shaking the bushes for more opportunities," the first lady said. When it comes to the need for better work-life balance and job flexibility, she added, "Military families are blazing the trail for other families who are struggling with these issues as well."
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