FORT BELVOIR, Va. (July 12) -- Fort Belvoir military spouses seeking job hunting advice and peer mentorship can participate in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes and Academy Women's sponsored MilSpouse eMentor Program.
The program connects spouses with career experts and military spouse hiring-firms that help them find mobile jobs filled with advancement opportunities.
MilSpouse eMentor is also a peer mentor service as tenured spouses offer advice to overcoming deployments, handling permanent change of station moves and other topics important to military spouses.
"I think one of the hardest issues new Army spouses face is the lack of knowledge about programs out there for them, whether it be for financial management or searching for employment. That's why (MilSpouse) eMentor is such a great program. It pairs new spouses with peers who have been through the hiring process" said Jeanne Chandler, wife of Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, via email.
The program, launched in January, is a direct response to the 26 percent of military spouses currently unemployed due to constant moving and lack of a traditional career track network, according to Stefanie Goebel, MilSpouse eMentor program director.
The program involves three types of mentors: corporate, career and peer. Corporate mentors represent a firm looking to hire military spouses, career mentors provide information regarding a specific industry and peer mentors assist fellow military spouses with career issues as well as other challenges specific to military Families.
Mentors help spouses in numerous ways online such as, publishing information and helpful resources, posting advice to military spouses, participating in discussion forums and conducting private messaging with a specific spouse. The web-based MilSpouse eMentor program provides flexibility to mentors and protégés while enabling constructive and meaningful dialog, according to Goebel.
"This gives new spouses the opportunity to learn from those who have been there before and sets them up for future success," Chandler said.
Bethany Howell, The Major Group career development specialist, said MilSpouse eMentor is a great supplement to the Army Family Readiness Group program. Howell, who also serves as a Fort Belvoir FRG leader in Army Community Service, said spouses and FRG leaders can use MilSpouse eMentor for more mentoring opportunities.
"It's hard to sit down with every body at one time," Howell said. "This gives FRG leaders another outlet to reach spouses."
Howell was a recipient of peer mentoring when she became a military spouse eight years ago. Howell found the insight from a fellow spouse very helpful and she encourages present-day military spouses seeking assistance to use the MilSpouse eMentor program.
"As many military spouses know, when coming into the military you are bombarded with a new culture that can be confusing and overwhelming at times," Howell said. "By pairing with a peer mentor these spouses have someone that can answer their questions and help guide them on this new way of life."
According to Goebel, MilSpouse eMentor has been met with great approval from current users, as 70 percent said they've received help with a job search.
"Spouses should use (MilSpouse) eMentor because it gives them the opportunity to connect with mentors who are excellent about helping them grow their careers. Many are experts in their fields and work in military firms," Goebel said. "This gives spouses a fabulous opportunity to connect with people who they otherwise wouldn't come across."
Any career expert, firm or military spouse can participate as mentors and current, widowed and divorced spouses can participate as a mentor's "protégé."
Interested mentors and "protégé spouses" can sign-up online by completing an online profile that helps match suitable partners.
Once their profile is complete, protégés can immediately seek a mentor and once a mentor accepts a protégé's invitation to connect, the pair work together to establish goals, develop an action plan and measure progress towards stated objectives.
For more information or to register in the MilSpouse eMentor Program visit www.MilSpouseMentor.org or contact the program's director, Stefanie Goebel at goebel@academywomen.org or call (520) 955-3370.

Page last updated Thu July 12th, 2012 at 00:00