Bridge My Return (BMR) is now open to military and Veteran spouses and caregivers to help them find meaningful employment.
Military spouses often make personal career sacrifices to follow their service member’s military career. These may include moves every 2-3 years, postings to remote duty stations with limited career opportunities, or multiple deployments of their service member, effectively leaving them as single parents.
Sarita Connelly is a Veteran spouse of a retired Marine. She has a stellar bio that includes professional achievements in financial services, non-profit management and education. She’s received leadership awards, graduate certificates and professional licenses, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree.
As her career was skyrocketing, she began a 13-year trek as a military spouse. This created mandatory job changes and limited promotion opportunities.
Now, she is a caregiver for her disabled father, an Illinois National Guardsman from the Korea Era. Her search for a new job has been met with scrutiny over resume gaps and job changes rather than employers being wowed by her achievements and sacrifices.
Connelly is not alone.
Today, the military spouse unemployment rate sits at a staggering 38%, according to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes study. The national rate stands at 5.9%.
What is BMR doing to improve the situation?
Bridge My Return software uses a skills-to-skills matching algorithm to circumvent skills misunderstanding and prevent pigeonholing. BMR members build a profile, which takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. For service members, BMR has mapped skills to their MOS. They select the skills BMR suggests for that military job and indicate their skill level.
But the MOS obviously does not apply to the military spouse. So, BMR has created an MSO (Military Spouse Orientation), which summarizes and presents skills many military spouses have in common, such as service orientation, social perceptiveness, time management, coordination, critical thinking, monitoring and active listening.
Jobseekers then select other skills from a skills bank – skills picked up over the course of a career. In Connelly’s case, she would include management of financial resources, negotiation, management of people, leadership, influencing and complex problem solving to name a few. She would then be matched to positions requiring those skills – jobs and careers with a wide array of military-ready employers ready to hire.
Being military-ready means being military-spouse-ready.
As we see it, most recruiters view the military spouse resume like any other resume. They shouldn’t. It must be viewed through a different lens. We educate them on how to do so. BMR’s training curriculum includes helping organizations understand these nuances so they’re able to see the whole person.
Today, the trend towards work-from-home jobs is game-changing for military spouses, Veteran spouses and caregivers. In some companies, every job can be done from home. A great example of this is Origin8, a tech startup. They plan to hire up to 600 Veterans and spouses over the next two years via the BMR platform – all from home, all with flexible hours. And all perfect for spouses and caregivers.
The combination of job-matching technology, employer education and the national push for better work-life balance is a killer combo that rapidly changes the narrative.
Let’s create the energy for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Military spouses, Veteran spouses and caregivers (and, of course, Veterans, too) can get started here.
Interested employers please contact BMR for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of VA.