Joint Statement on the 4+1 Commitment

kathy roth-douquet, blue star families ceo and eric eversole, hiring our heroes president providing statement during 4+1 event

Today, military and veteran service organization leaders from Hiring Our Heroes and Blue Star Families released the following joint statement after their roundtable session in Washington, D.C.: 

Today, we — Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes, and Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families — join together with private and public sector partners to solve the long-standing crisis in military spouse unemployment. Alongside First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, in partnership with the Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), philanthropic and nonprofit partners (notably craig newmark philanthropies), and 4+1 original signatories (Starbucks, T-Mobile, PenFed Credit Union, Telemynd, USAA, Nextdoor, Navy Federal Credit Union, Comcast NBCUniversal, First Command Financial Services, Booz Allen Hamilton, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and Johnson & Johnson), we unveiled the 4+1 Commitment: The Formula for Military Spouse Success. 

Military spouse unemployment and underemployment are persistent concerns within the military community and are now a threat to military readiness and national security. For decades, military spouses have endured an unemployment rate of 20% or higher. The well-documented factors include frequent relocations, increased family responsibilities when a partner is deployed, limited employment options near military bases, and child care. This crisis has significant implications for our nation’s all-volunteer force, including financial instability and the decreased recruitment and retention of service members. 

Over the years, our organizations have seen the power of collaborative action in the military community. Working with private and public sector partners, we have tackled veteran unemployment after the Great Recession, worked to end veteran homelessness and suicide, and have fought for military caregivers. We believe military spouse unemployment requires the same collaborative action.

The 4+1 Commitment: The Formula for Military Spouse Success is a scalable, actionable, and effective way for companies to commit to improving military spouse employment outcomes.

The initiative underscores the important role employers can take in supporting the military spouse community by asking them to adopt at least one of the following military spouse-ready policies:

  1. Facilitate job transferability
  2. Offer remote or telework 
  3. Offer flexible work hours
  4. Provide paid or permissive Permanent Change of Station (PCS) leave

We are also asking employers (i.e., the plus-one) to consider joining an existing government spouse employment program, such as DoD’s MSEP.

The recommendations address the factors that new and existing research by Blue Star Families and Hiring our Heroes shows prohibit or limit military spouses from finding or retaining employment, such as Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves and keen demands on the military spouses due to the unpredictable nature of the military job requirements. Adopters of the 4+1 Commitment will have the option to display a medallion of distinction in partnership with DoD’s MSEP. 

At a time when most American businesses are looking for talent, we know the 4+1 Commitment will create pathways for companies to find and retain military spouses in the workforce. The commitment underscores a business’s support to military spouses and their unique challenges. In return, these businesses will realize the benefits of retaining this highly educated, resourceful, and resilient talent pool. National security improves from increased military retention. It is the proverbial “win-win-win.”

Over the coming days and weeks, we will continue to share how organizations can adopt the 4+1 Commitment. Together, we will create a nationwide recruitment and retention effort and end the military spouse unemployment crisis.

The Do Your Part coalition is led by Blue Star Families with support from Craig Newmark and craig newmark philanthropies.

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