MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Area military spouses have an opportunity to aim their career in the right direction with the upcoming "Keeping a Career on the Move" Military Spouse Symposium, held by the Military Officers Association of America at the Marston Pavilion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 17.
While it is open to all members of the military community, including survivors, service members and caregivers, the event aims to assist spouses with professional development, said Christine Gallagher, deputy director of MOAA’s Spouse and Currently Serving Programs.
"We know military spouse employment continues to be a huge challenge," said Gallagher.
Gallagher cited a study conducted by MOAA and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University which states how in 2012, 18 to 24 year-old female spouses had the highest unemployment rates at 30 percent, an increase from their civilian counterparts at 11 percent, and 25 to 44 year-old female spouses had the second highest unemployment rates at 15 percent, their civilian counterparts had a 6 percent unemployment rate.
Survey participants also reported being underemployed based on their education and experience.
"When you think about that, the majority of spouses at Camp Lejeune fall within that age range," said Karen Golden, deputy director of Government Relations for Military Family Issues with MOAA and Evanston, Illinois native. "I think we have to do something about that."
Golden is a military spouse who has been a part of the Camp Lejeune community twice throughout her spouse’s career, she began her journey aboard the installation, she said.
"We want spouses to look at where they’re at and thrive," said Golden.
While job prospects may be limited, the symposium can help spouses see where they are and launch into the right career for them, said Golden.
"We want to empower, inspire and inform military spouses," Gallagher added.
The symposium is scheduled to include a spouse and policy panel, where guests can learn about educational and career opportunities offered by the installation, community, state and federal resources.
A discussion where speakers share how they navigated challenges and what strategies they used to compensate for drawbacks associated with life as a military spouse is also scheduled.
"They’re sharing best practices," said Gallagher.
There are also workshops focusing on resume writing, entrepreneurship, skills assessment and social media strategies. Free resume critiques and photos for use on LinkedIn will also be available.
"It will help give them a professional edge," said Gallagher.
Free childcare is available at all Camp Lejeune child development centers and youth pavilions with prior registration. Food, refreshments and giveaways will also be available.
To register and for more information, visit moaa.org/spousesymposium.