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Your Voice Heard - Military and Veteran Spouse Listening Sessions Taking Place across Washington

Your Voice Heard - Military and Veteran Spouse Listening Sessions Taking Place across Washington

By WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos

We know military spouses face challenges when it comes to securing employment that is commensurate with their skills and abilities.  There could be a number of reasons why this happens such certificates and licenses not being portable from state to state or businesses shying away from candidates with on-base addresses or resumes showing multiple moves. 

In Washington State, we are working hard not only to streamline how we issue credentials, but also to inspire businesses to take advantage of the vast potential military spouses bring to the workforce.  Just like veterans whose work ethic, expert training, and commitment to mission are second to none, military spouses bring to their employers adaptability, education, diversity, extensive networks and ability to thrive in stressful situations. 

Before we head down the path of engaging businesses in a military spouse hiring initiative, Suzi Levine, the Washington State Employment Security Department Commissioner, and I are visiting our military installations to make sure we hear directly from military spouse’s what they see as heir challenges and ideas for supporting their careers and families.

Our first session was held at JBLM where spouses shared their experiences with employer bias because of anticipated short-term employment commitments, lack of job search support, and challenges with credential portability.

Recommendations included:

Educating employers by sponsoring business roundtables and publishing materials to promote the benefits of hiring military spouses.
Connecting military spouses with local career navigators both on-base and off-base.
Promoting more robust military spouse orientations.
Supporting programs that quickly transfer credentials following a move.

We want you to join us and share your concerns, ideas and desires during our upcoming Military Spouse Listening Sessions across the state, so please take a look at the upcoming schedule and register now!

Military Spouses Serve Too!


September 16


Naval Air Station Whidbey Island


September 18


Naval Base Kitsap

hosted at WorkSource Kitsap

(both live and virtual)


October 7


Naval Station Everett


Changes are also taking place at the national level.  The Pentagon recently unveiled the Military Spouse Transition Program, or MySTeP.  The MySTeP program is a journey, with resources for the first day that they became a military spouse to the day that their spouse retires or separates. The program includes three steps or phases: “Stepping In” is for new spouses, “Stepping Through” for ones who are familiar with military life, and “Stepping Beyond” for spouses about to transition back to civilian life with their spouse. MySTep is available on the Military OneSource website.

In addition, the Armed Forces are offering reimbursement for qualifying licensing costs to military spouses who must obtain state occupational re-licensures or re-certifications during a permanent change of station.  You can find out more about these at:

-Alfie Alvarado-Ramos

Your Voice Heard - Military and Veteran Spouse Listening Sessions Taking Place across Washington
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