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4+1 Commitment: VA job transferability for military spouses

Megan (Meg) Paone is an active-duty Army spouse. She is an accomplished communications professional, a mother of twins, and understands the challenges spouses endure while supporting service members, caring for their families, maintaining employment, and managing the home front. She writes:

For military spouses, the emotions, pressures, and challenges of finding a new job, especially during a relocation, can feel overwhelming. I learned this while preparing for my first Permanent Change of Station (PCS), a year before my family and I moved from Washington, D.C. to Fayetteville, North Carolina.

I had been with my employer for over a year, but after personal reflection and conversations with the company leaders, it was clear that I had to find new employment, and also prioritize finding an employer who understood and supported my life and experiences as a military spouse.

Frequent relocations are one of the many unique challenges military spouses often face. This can mean leaving behind established careers and navigating a new job market at the next duty station.

To address military spouse employment challenges, VA is implementing key tenets across internal hiring and retention efforts as part of the historic 4+1 Commitment. These tenets position VA to attract, hire, and retain military spouses. One of the tenets is VA’s commitment to facilitate job transferability.

As a military spouse, the possibility of relocating your job with you means one less pressure point during a PCS move. The possibility of keeping secure employment while moving to a new location and getting settled in a new environment is important for the well-being of your spouse and your family.

The employment support VA has committed to providing assures military spouses that their career progression is not stalled or stopped because of a relocation. In my experience, maintaining a career while supporting a service member can foster a deeper sense of empowerment and enable spouses to continue contributing to their families and communities.

Within VA, job transferability is vital to supporting the military spouse workforce, but there is work involved. Once military spouses alert their supervisor of an upcoming PCS, the discussion of retention within VA starts. To facilitate the request, funded position must be identified, and the military spouse needs to meet the requisite qualifications to be considered.

However, since VA has more than 1,300 facilities across the nation and U.S. territories, job transferability is a real possibility for active-duty military spouses. VA’s commitment to facilitating these transfers ensures military spouses can navigate career transitions, transfer skills, and maintain professional stability during a PCS move.

Take the first step with VMSTEP

As a military spouse, you have a distinct perspective on what we do at VA and how to help our Veterans. You’re educated, qualified, and ready to serve families who have lived through experiences similar to your own.

That’s knowledge other candidates can’t duplicate, which is why VA has long been a leader in developing and implementing military spouse-friendly policies and agencies, including the Veteran and Military Spouse Talent Engagement Program (VMSTEP).

VMSTEP provides employment readiness assistance and support while advocating the use of special hiring authorities, employment programs, and retention strategies to position VA as the employer of choice for Veterans and military spouses. 

Military spouses who work for VA bring their experience and understanding of what it means to be a part of the mission. Through VMSTEP, we’re taking actionable steps to reduce military spouse unemployment and underemployment rates, thus contributing to the stability of military families.

Work at VA

If you’re a Veteran, military spouse, or are planning your return to civilian life after military service, we stand ready to offer assistance and support in your quest for a meaningful career.

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