The military’s requirement for frequent relocations can make it difficult for military spouses to find employment when their partner’s service time ends, which is why Wisconsin has taken steps to bring the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone (MSEEZ) program to Wisconsin.
The MSEEZ program focuses on the spouses of military personnel and is designed to combat the economic impact military spouses’ unemployment, or underemployment have on military families.
“Make no mistake, military spouses have served this country and have made sacrifices that must be acknowledged and appreciated,” said Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Caleb Frostman. “Many have sacrificed so much, both personally and professionally. The MSEEZ program is just one way we can support them.”
The announcement was made at a Wisconsin Loves Military Spouses event on Feb. 14 in Madison, a top city for veterans to live. A listening session was later held for military spouses to share the challenges they face with some of Wisconsin’s key decision makers, as well as public and private sector supporters.
“As a veteran and military spouse myself, empowering and caring for military spouses in our state is close to my heart,” said Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary-designee Mary Kolar. “Veterans and their entire families play an incredibly important role in the makeup of our state and to each community they live in…. By raising awareness, helping them receive the benefits they earned and making sure all their needs are met, we continue to serve.”
According to Hiring Our Heroes, MSEEZ communities address local military spouse unemployment and underemployment issues through the efforts of local working groups. These groups work to establish a range of local employment-related tools and resources to help tackle military spouse employment issues head-on. Working with a broad array of public and private sector supporters, MSEEZ communities foster collaboration among local stakeholders and work to identify opportunities as well as barriers to entry for military spouses seeking meaningful employment.
Wisconsin’s MSEEZ designation is the latest addition to the state’s support structure for veterans and military families. From Wisconsin’s 72 County Veterans Service Offices serving veterans living in all areas of the state, to the Tribal Veterans Service Officers that serve the state’s 11 federally-recognized tribes, to the hundreds of Veterans Service Organization’s chapters with thousands of members, Wisconsin is working to ensure it remains the best place for veterans and military families.