WASHINGTON -- Several key initiatives that target military spouse employment and career progression as well as other quality of life improvements will be discussed at this year’s Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.The virtual "AUSA Family Forum I: Spouse Employment" event is scheduled Oct. 14 from 10-11 a.m. Eastern Time.“Spouses are vital contributors to the financial readiness of Army Families,” said Lt. Gen. Jason T. Evans, deputy chief of staff for G-9. “Reducing spouse unemployment and underemployment is critical to improving quality of life for Soldiers and Families. We are moving forward on initiatives that overcome the roadblocks to spouse employment.”Among the initiatives to be highlighted is a Department of Labor-led pilot program, in which Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Fort Hood, Texas, are slated to participate, that will help military spouses overcome employment barriers as their Soldier transitions out of the Army, said Dee Geise, chief of the Soldier and Family Readiness Division in the G-9 office."We know that a military spouse's careers will often take a hit due to frequent permanent change-of-station moves," Geise said. "This AUSA discussion will [help spouses] maintain consistency and relevancy throughout their careers."Close to 90,000 military spouses are impacted by the transition process each year, according to DOL sources. As part of the pilot, the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, or VETS, has developed a new curriculum under the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program, or TAP.According to a VETS survey, many spouses were unaware that they can join a Soldier as they engage in the TAP process. The pilot aims to provide spouses the necessary tools and services through a series of highly-focused transition courses. Surveys will be provided to all pilot participants, as lead officials look to improve the programs before a full launch across all military installations, DOL sources said.PPP, CEATArmy leaders will also address the updated Defense Department Priority Placement Program, along with expanding the non-appropriated fund employee program under the new Civilian Employment Assignment Tool, or CEAT, Geise said.Some spouses "will, unfortunately, have delays in their employment" and can accrue extra expenses as they wait for a new job,” Geise said.Under the Priority Placement Program, spouses are no longer required to re-register under the DOD-led program to exercise their military spouse preference, or MSP, for employment after a PCS, G-9 officials said.Individuals who are new to the program must complete and submit a "Military Spouse PPP Self-Certification Checklist" and all other required documentation to exercise their MSP option. More information about the program can be found at their local human resources office or civilian personnel advisory center.Along with priority placement, the CEAT program transitions the former non-appropriated fund, or NAF, Child and Youth Services Employee Assignment Tool to its current status, Geise said.Under the new policy, certain NAF employees have the option to request a transfer to another installation at the same grade or pay level and employment category, if a position is available at the gaining location. Personnel should work through their supervisor or local NAF human resources office to initiate the transfer process.By creating more spouse career or employment options, the Army looks to reduce stress and improve the family's quality of life -- which will vastly contribute to Army readiness and retention, Geise said.Virtual hiring fairArmy leaders will also provide more details about an upcoming Military Spouse Employment Partnership, or MSEP, virtual hiring fair on Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time.MSEP is an initiative under DOD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, or SECO, according to Military OneSource.During the free virtual event, personnel can connect with companies and organizations that are committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses. The hiring fair will offer a range of remote and in-person job openings to help spouses find a career that fits their life’s schedule, its website said.Spouses who are interested in participating can also connect with a SECO career coach to prepare for the upcoming hiring fair by going to the Military OneSource SECO website or calling 800-342-9647.(Editor's note: Military spouses and other personnel interested in watching the family forum can register here to attend the virtual AUSA annual meeting.)Related linksFamily forum to highlight housing, moving, and child care initiativesArmy quality of life prioritiesArmy News ServiceARNEWS Archive