Washington, D.C./ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 17, 2024
Biden Administration Introduces Measures to Support Military Spouses' Employment, Aiming to Reduce 21% Unemployment RateSource: Google Street View

In a bid to bolster the lives of military families, the Biden-Harris Administration has unveiled new measures to ease the employment strains on federal employees married to members of the military. As they announced today, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) struck between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the State Department is set to enhance the Domestic Employees Teleworking Overseas (DETO) program. First Lady Jill Biden, joined by top brass from the DoD and the State Department, is slated to endorse the MOA at the White House, according to the White House.

Key points of this agreement include a collaboration between DoD and State to expedite DETO approvals, the DoD taking on some security roles traditionally performed by Regional Security Officers—like crisis management and security screening—thus speeding up the DETO process, moreover, in areas where the DoD manages housing, the State Department will now recognize DoD security standards, easing the burden for military households. While these efforts aim to keep military families together and maintain their financial security, they also highlight the Biden Administration's ongoing work to tackle the persistent unemployment among military spouses, who face a staggering 21 percent unemployment rate, an issue hardly evolved over the past decade, the statement read.

The administration has taken several steps to address military spouse employment, among them, boosting federal job listings that utilize military spouse hiring authority—now at 84 percent, launching a data-focused Fast-Track Action Committee led by military spouses to monitor employment outcomes, and releasing the first-ever government-wide strategic plan for recruiting and retaining military-connected talent. Additionally, resources like the Guide to Recruiting and Hiring Military Spouses have been made available to imbue federal hiring managers with a deeper understanding of the invaluable skillsets military spouses bring to the table, the White House detailed.

Further initiatives mentioned include DoD's rollout of Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, and the reduction of child care costs which benefit the families of over 32,000 children in military childcare programs, and not forgetting the expansion of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership which now boasts over 700 members and attributed to the hiring of more than 275,000 military spouses. These efforts reinforce the administration's commitment to advocate for the betterment of military and veteran families, aiming to establish the Federal government as a leader in harnessing the talent of military spouses, according to the White House.