Hiring Our Heroes officials tout Military Spouse Accelerator Pilot program

By Eric PilgrimFebruary 17, 2023

FORT KNOX, Ky. — An announcement has been circulating across U.S. military email accounts lately describing a pilot program designed to help spouses land competitive jobs.

The message, which includes a link of Military OneSource’s introduction to the Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot, promises to connect spouses with participating businesses all across America, and offering a 12-week fellowship. The fellowship gives spouses the opportunity to work for various industries while allowing the companies to witness the spouses in action.

Hiring Our Heroes officials tout Military Spouse Accelerator Pilot program
Employment Readiness Program manager Summer Carney (left) and others at Fort Knox have been circulating an email that announces a pilot program called Military Spouse Accelerator. The pilot offers a 12-week paid fellowship for spouses looking to land competitive virtual and local jobs. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL

The pilot is a partnership between Military OneSource and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program.

“Most employers get surprised by the caliber of talent in our candidate pool,” said Allison Chamberlayne, director of operations at Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “About 1/3 of our candidates have cybersecurity credentials or some type of it. Military spouses are highly educated … and more willing to upskill or reskill than the civilian population, so this is a talent pool that is prepped and ready for the workforce.”

Chamberlayne said Hiring Our Heroes has been able to leverage the Defense Department’s growing push to include spouses in various military support channels to take the fellowship concept to the next level by securing National Defense Authorization Act funding.

“We’re working very closely with the Department of Defense to basically take the template of success that Hiring Our Heroes has had with the military spouse fellowship program and launching a new initiative with the DOD team at MySECO,” Chamberlayne said.

The core focus of the pilot is the fellowship itself, during which host employers provide direct hands-on training and mentoring of fellows. According to the Spouse Education & Career Opportunities (SECO) website, it is during the training period that employers are afforded the opportunity to determine if candidates are a good fit.

Those fellows who excel may then be invited by the host to apply and join their team. Chamberlayne said she and her team at Hiring Our Heroes have seen great success so far.

“Over the past year, we’ve placed 336 fellows with an average salary of $70,000,” said Chamberlayne. “We expect that trend to continue. We are hoping to have over 500 fellows this year, and again we would anticipate that average salary would probably stay in that range, if not higher.”

Hiring Our Heroes officials tout Military Spouse Accelerator Pilot program
The Hiring Our Heroes website is one a few locations spouses can go to research the fellowship pilot program. Another site is Military OneSource. (Photo Credit: Screenshot of Hiring Our Heroes website) VIEW ORIGINAL

Placements in the fellowship pilot are determined by an applicant’s educational achievements and career choices as well as the host company’s needs. Chamberlayne said while they encourage companies to hire spouses in virtual job positions because of the unique military culture of having to move every few years, the Hiring Our Heroes team does strive to network with companies within spouses’ locations.

“Our network, and strong suit, is with the business community,” said Chamberlayne. “Of course, we have relationships with the installations where we’re doing events and programs there, but the best, most direct line to the Department of Defense is the Department of Defense.”

A critical part of the three-year fellowship pilot is that spouses who are selected to attend will get paid throughout the 12 weeks. Those who are not selected for the fellowship will be provided with several additional resources designed to help them accomplish their goals.

Chamberlayne said her team of professionals know too well how difficult it can be for spouses to land and maintain quality jobs throughout their Soldiers’ careers. The new pilot has the opportunity to reach spouses across the entire nation.

“We see you. We hear you. Our team is typically all military spouses and veterans,” said Chamberlayne. “The unemployment rate for military spouses is at 22%. It’s impacting the economic success of military families. We’ve had fellowship programs since 2017, and we have a proven track record.

“Now we have the opportunity to really make a splash — we want to be a part of the solution here.”


Editor’s Note: Those interested in participating in the Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot can start the application process HERE. For more information, call 800-342-9624 to speak to a SECO career coach, visit https://www.hiringourheroes.org/career-services/fellowships/, or send an email to MSCAP@uschamber.com.