Lawton- Ft. Sill looks to combat military spouse unemployment

Lawton- Ft. Sill looks to combat military spouse unemployment

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - In a recent Blue Star Survey, results showed that nearly half of Military Spouses struggle to find lasting careers, and close to 20 percent of military spouses remain unemployed, which is more than four times higher than civilian unemployment rate.

One spouse on Ft. Sill said being a military spouse has made finding a career, or sticking with one a very difficult task.

“I did have a career, but it was hard juggling family things, and work,” said military spouse Marisela Woodard.

Marisela Woodard worked many jobs during her civilian life, but her new career is a stay at home mom.

Woodard said often times the reason it’s hard to find a fulfilling career is the frequent relocation.

“It’s real scary, with moving, because you get comfortable when you do get a job, and when you find a job that you like, or you are making great money, but it can be scary when you are moving,” said Woodard.

That’s why The Lawton Chamber of Commerce is working to make military spouses a larger part of the employee pool but for that to happen, the Chamber said they need to stop being overlooked.

“Many military spouses have completed their education, they have career goals, and it’s important for the community to recognize that,” said CEO and President of the Lawton-Ft. Sill Chamber Brenda Spencer -Ragland.

“Military spouses, just by the nature of the business, constantly moving, setting up households. They are used to transitions, so they are resilient, but they bring creativity as well,” said Spencer-Ragland.

On Ft. Sill, The Civilian Personnel Advisory Center said when their program originated, military spouses seemed to avoid the job hunt altogether.

“You had to be limited on the number of positions you could apply too, and that kind of hindered some of the military spouses and they didn’t want to compete and apply,” said HR Specialist for CPAC, Teena Figueroa.

Now, CPAC focuses on providing resume help and job resources to spouses that will help them not only find a career, but find one that fits their interest.

“They have priority consideration on our installation, so we want them to come to the Ft. Sill CPAC. All of our positions are located on usajobs.gov, and there are an abundance of Jobs on Ft. SIll that are open and available," said Figueroa.

Woodard said having a career right now isn’t in the cards, but with a move coming next year, she said getting back to work is something she wants to do.

“Im glad I stay home, it’s a job in itself, as far as a career, you can always make money later on, that’s how I think,” said Woodard.

For any military spouses looking for work in the Lawton Area, Spencer-Ragland said anyone can call the Chamber of Commerce with any questions, or they can head to the CPAC office, which is located at the Ft. SIll welcome center.

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