Job placement programs help military spouses
Military spouse Marilyn Mitchell-McCluskey settles in to her new job as a PEO C3T program management assistant. Mitchell-McCluskey obtained the position with the help of the Priority Placement Program, a government program that allows military spouse... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Finding a new job after moving to a location can be daunting, especially in this current economic climate. Fortunately there are programs available to help military spouses find civil service positions.

Carolyn Russell, Aberdeen Proving Ground’s military spouse program coordinator at the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, helps spouses navigate job searches. This includes helping them enroll in the Priority Placement Program or find employment under the Executive Order 13473 (Spouse Preference Authority), both of which allow some spouses to be hired for federal jobs without going through the usual competitive process.

“These programs are separate but work in conjunction with each other,” Russell said.

PPP and Executive Order 13473 provide noncompetitive appointing authority for spouses of active duty military members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the U.S. Coast Guard and full-time National Guard, and who are relocating to accompany their service member during a permanent change of station to a new commuting area.

Spouses who enroll in the Priority Placement Program, or PPP, are matched with potential positions that meet their qualifications and preferences. Job placement will vary with each candidate. The spouse may be enrolled in PPP for up to one year and is entitled to one valid job offer for which they are considered “well qualified.”

Russell said Executive Order 13473 offers a little more flexibility. It allows spouses to self-nominate for DoD positions and to apply for jobs offered internally. The spouse remains eligible for a maximum of two years from the date of the PCS orders.

“The Executive Order 13473 gives spouses, who have never had federal experience, a chance to get their foot in the door,” Russell said.

She said military spouses serve their country by supporting their service members through frequent moves.

“It can be difficult to build a career and find jobs as a military spouse, moving every three to five years,” said Russell. “These programs take some of that burden off of them, and it shows that the DoD really is trying to take care of its own.”

Eligibility documents needed to enroll in both programs include:

PCS orders

Marriage certificate or license

Current resume

College transcripts

SF50’s and latest appraisal from previous federal employment.

Russell said Army Community Service provides resume writing assistance, how-to classes and job fairs to help with job placement.

Amy Fuller, a military spouse who has enrolled in the PPP twice, said the program helped her establish her career. Fuller moved to APG with her husband earlier this spring and received a job offer at CECOM in July. She called PPP one of the single best benefits military spouses should take advantage of.

“The PPP gave me the ability to move with my husband and have a career,” Fuller said. “He experiences less stress by knowing that I will be able to find a job when we move, so the program is really beneficial to both of us. And he knows that I will be able to take care of myself financially when he deploys. This allows him to focus on his job.”

Fuller said the program allows her to maintain civil employment, build her retirement fund and help prepare for her husband’s retirement.

“When my husband retires from the military, I will be able to support him with my career while he finds employment,” she said.

Marilyn Mitchell-McCluskey, a military spouse who recently received a job with the help of PPP, advises spouses to be patient. She learned about PPP while volunteering for Army Community Service.

“Don’t just sit and wait,” she said. “Do things to make yourself more marketable, take classes and volunteer.”

For more information about PPP and Executive Order 13473, or to make an appointment, call Russell at 410-306-0173.

For more information about the Army Community Service Employment Readiness program, call Marilyn Howard at 410-278-9669.