This project, by Hiring Our Heroes (HOH), in collaboration with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University and in partnership with Starbucks and the support of the Starbucks Foundation, uses the results from an online survey to cultivate a holistic understanding of the military spouse employment experience. Drawing insight from over 3,300 military spouses, this report identifies how employment, unemployment, and underemployment impact military spouse mental health and wellbeing. The unique timing of this survey’s fielding also allows for the collection of data on the impact of the global pandemic COVID-19 on military spouse employment.
The results from this survey suggest that obtaining and maintaining meaningful employment promotes positive mental health and emotional wellbeing outcomes for military spouses. However, with military spouses chronically experiencing unemployment and underemployment, even long before the COVID-19 pandemic, meaningful employment has not been easily attainable for many of them. To aid in meeting more positive outcomes, this report provides actionable recommendations for community providers, nonprofits, employers, and government organizations to help tackle some of the most pressing needs. Together, the nation can improve the mental health and wellbeing of military spouses, an essential component in strengthening the readiness of the All-Volunteer Force and in retaining talented service members and their spouses.