Paycheck Chronicles

President Signs Executive Order to Open More Fed Jobs to Military Spouses

Colorful flowers around the fountain in front of the White House (Photo: Teddy Yoshida/National Science Foundation)
Colorful flowers around the fountain in front of the White House (Photo: Teddy Yoshida/National Science Foundation)

If you are a military spouse seeking federal employment, things just may have gotten a bit easier.

Last month, President Trump issued an executive order to enhance opportunities for military spouses looking for employment with the Federal Government.

The order requires Federal agencies to promote the use of noncompetitive hiring authority that currently exists for military spouses to the greatest extent possible.

It also:

  • directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to educate agencies regarding the use of the noncompetitive hiring authority, and to increase awareness of the opportunities it creates among military spouses;
  • requires all agencies to report annually on their progress in advertising positions to, obtaining applications from, and hiring military spouses; and
  • directs agencies to recommend new ways to improve license portability and remove barriers to the employment of military spouses.

While the order promotes the use of noncompetitive hiring authority for military spouses, it does not require the hiring of a military spouse for an open position over other applicants.

Military Spouse Unemployment High

According to the White House press release there are nearly 690,000 spouses of active duty service members. In 2017 the military spouse unemployment rate was 16 percent, over 4 times the 2017 rate for all adult women. Even though military spouses have a higher unemployment rate, they have a higher level of education than the population at large.

Military Spouses Face Greater Obstacles To Employment

Beyond the stress of having to move frequently due to military deployments, military spouses have to deal with job searches hampered by state regulation that prevents their occupational licenses from easily transferring.

It is hoped that the executive order will open more Federal positions to spouses and provide significantly greater opportunity for military spouses to be considered for Federal competitive service positions.

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