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House bill would require Pentagon set up apprenticeship program for military spouses

House appropriators have introduced a bill requiring the Pentagon to create a program that...
House appropriators have introduced a bill requiring the Pentagon to create a program that would give military spouses multiple opportunities to earn internships and apprenticeships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Naoto Anazawa)(Nacho Anazawa | 18th Wing Public Affairs)
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 8:35 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - House appropriators introduced a bill requiring the Pentagon to create a program that would give military spouses multiple opportunities to earn internships and apprenticeships.

According to the National Military Spouse Network, nearly one-quarter of military spouses actively seeking a job were unemployed due to the pandemic. The rest are all from struggling spouses trying to keep a job down, a problem that many know all too well.

“Going back to work always costs extra money, so this would help them get back,” said Tila Jernigan, an Army Wife and Director of Military & Veteran Services at Texas A&M Central Texas.

“I’ve experienced overseas moves where I’ve been completely unemployed because there just wasn’t a lot of opportunities overseas for me to go to work.”

That’s why lawmakers proposed a bill that would give them $4,000 to find programs that jumpstart their careers. Spouses in the U.S., those living overseas and those that have lost their loved ones while on active duty would all qualify.

“Internships provide great opportunities for military spouses,” Jernigan said.

“The mentorship and the valuable work experience they get from that and even networking opportunities can carry over into PCS moves which is a really big deal. Also, they could be reintegrating into the work force or going through a career change.”

The House appropriations committee’s defense subcommittee has already set aside $5 million for a pilot program just to see how it works. While many are anxious to see how it goes, Jernigan says it’s important to convince Congress how much this program could help.

“To ensure that we can get back to work when it’s required and we can be a contributing member of the team while having to sacrifice our careers, is an exceptional opportunity for military spouses across the board,” she said.

Information on signing up for the pilot program has yet to be released.

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