Study shows more military spouses are unemployed

Mayport Fleet and Family Support Center offering local families career resources


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new study spearheaded by Blue Star Families finds an alarming number of military spouses are having a hard time finding jobs.

The findings show up to 42% of military spouses are unemployed compared to 25% of civilian spouses.

The study shows there are a number of reasons. Most of it has to do with moving frequently and hectic schedules. The folks at Mayport heard the results of this study.

They were disappointed, but at the same time, encouraged knowing there are programs available just for military families.

Marlene Alfaro is hard at work. She takes care of budget and works in I.T. for Fleet and Family Support Center at Naval Station Mayport. She's made the transition from military to military spouse. Alfaro knows the challenges well.

"You’re always moving around with your spouse. You never have an actual place where you can set up a career and just have a career path," said Alfaro.

By the artwork hanging in her office, you can see Alfaro is also a mother. With two little girls, Alfaro understands the pressure a spouse may feel when they're out of a job. "There are a lot of challenges that come along with it," she said.

According to a recent study, there are a troubling number of military spouses going through this right now, as many as 95,000 nationwide.

Many of them are doing jobs below their education and experience to make ends meet.

"Initially, it would bother me, but I am really confident that so many of our spouses have so many resources right here in this building. Help them find employment and help through many other challenges," said Command Master Chief Bill Houlihan with Naval Station Mayport.

Mayport offers many programs that offer support.  Amie McKague, the acting director of Fleet and Family Support Center says some of the resources include:
-- staff who can help with resume writing
-- skills testing
-- and personalized assessments if a spouse is thinking of changing careers

McKague wasn't surprised by the study results but, given what our military families encounter every day, she says there's no reason why the ones still looking for jobs can't overcome the obstacle.

"Military spouses have a lot to offer. Military families are very resilient and strong. They would be an asset into whatever workforce they're going into," said McKague.

With that in mind, if there's ever a feeling of discouragement, just take it from this military spouse and
mother- "Just don't give up...It's out there. There's a job out there for everyone. You just have to look," said Alfaro.

The programs available at NAS Mayport are not exclusive only to Navy families. They're available to any branch of the military, if you're a dependent.

If you want to get in contact with the Family Support Center at Mayport, call (904) 270-6600.

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