Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today at a ceremony at the Pentagon to promote cooperative efforts between the departments to improve the quality of life of servicemembers and their families, and to contribute to the quality of the American labor force.
The MOU provides a framework for a broad range of continuing efforts between the departments including three important areas: connections to the job markets in America’s communities, involvement with labor laws that affect reemployment (i.e., training, unemployment compensation), and interest in states’ reciprocal licensing and certification requirements needed to qualify for employment.
“All of our people who serve are volunteers and we owe them a great debt of gratitude,” said Rumsfeld. If there’s anything we can do to improve their lives and create a circumstance that’s better for them is just enormously important …. and this is one of them.”
The agreement will help military spouses establish careers despite having to transition among job markets due to frequent relocations. It will also strengthen the DoL’s efforts to support returning reservists’ job searches, employ America’s Job Bank to recruit for military jobs, expand DoL’s employment infra-structure to support military spouse employment, and encourage corporate America to hire returning reservists and military spouses.
“We are so proud of our men and women in uniform," said Chao. "Now it's our turn to support them by providing separating servicemembers, military spouses and veterans with the help they need to succeed in the workforce. We are committed to connecting these men and women with employers eager to tap their dedication, talent and skills."
Examples of the collaboration between DoD and DoL include: establishing One Stop Career Centers near major military installations (Norfolk, Va.; San Diego, Calif.; Fort Campbell, Ky.), expanding opportunities for reservists and military spouses to access training and education grants, exploring options with states to offer unemployment compensation to military spouses, working across states to improve reciprocity for state certifications and licensing requirements to reduce employment lags, and targeting unemployment by establishing a military spouse unemployment index.
For further information please contact Lt. Col. Cynthia Colin, at (703) 697-5134 or Elissa Pruett, (202) 693-4681.