As the proud home to five military installations and 38,500 uniformed military men and women, Colorado Springs is the nation’s third city to be recognized as a Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Chamber & EDC being designated as a three-star Chamber of Valor, the Hiring Our Heroes’ highest honor for recognizing leadership in connecting companies with talented veteran and military spouse candidates.
Hiring Our Heroes is a program in partnership with the Chamber & EDC, City of Colorado Springs and USAA, to bring together local and national employers, civic organizations, educational institutions, and military communities to build a robust employment network for military spouses – a group with nearly four times the unemployment rate of their civilian counterparts.
“Military spouses are a dynamic and motivated group of individuals who are ready to contribute, but are having a hard time making it happen,” said military spouse Mollie Raymond, who addressed City officials and the business community during a ceremony in May.
A recent study conducted by Hiring Our Heroes, reported that 67 percent of spouses have been forced to quit a job because of a change of duty station. After relocating, the report found that it can take military spouses four to six months to secure gainful employment in their industry or field of study.
Following the announcement and ceremony, more than 40 representatives from local business, civic, and military communities put boots on the ground to establish a collaborative effort to address the economic impact of military spouse unemployment and underemployment.