AFWERX opens opportunities for military spouses through remote work

  • Published
  • By Katie Milligan

AFWERX will host a virtual hiring event and “Build the Team” panel featuring Sharene Brown, spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Feb. 17 from 1:30–3 p.m. EST. Details for watching the event can be found here.

In addition to the panel, AFWERX will welcome Maj. Gen. Heather PringleAir Force Research Laboratory commander and Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, Department of the Air Force contracting lead. Joining Brown on the panel will be Lt. Col. Wesley Spurlock, AFWERX chief of strategic investment, Michelle West, AFWERX contracting branch chief and Col. Nathan DillerAFWERX director, who will moderate the discussion.

AFWERX is looking to add up to 50 full-time civilian positions to its roster to begin as soon as mid-April 2022. With remote options, this type of federal employment can be key to allowing military spouses to advance their careers even amidst ongoing military relocations.

Brown recognizes that military spouse professional development can affect the health of military families, thus directly impacting the effectiveness of the force. She leads an initiative called Five and Thrive, in which she provides guidance in five areas key to military family quality of life: childcare, education, healthcare, housing, and spouse employment. Brown uses her platform to prioritize and address these challenges head-on, and this event will provide an opportunity for her to share her wisdom and experience in the area of military spouse professional success.

“There is no doubt spouse unemployment and underemployment are readiness, resilience and retention issues for our force. I know firsthand the challenges military spouses face having to reinvent and reinsert themselves into the workforce every time they move. These past couple of years have taught us that adding more portable job opportunities for our military spouses is possible,” Brown said. “In the 2020 Blue Star Family Survey results, military spouses identified remote/telework as amongst their choice of solutions. This is why spouse employment is one of my top five focus areas for our military families, and why my team is working hard to highlight resources and opportunities for our spouses.”

When first joining the AWERX team, Spurlock identified military spouses as prime candidates for AFWERX open remote-work positions. In fact, while applying to the White House Fellows Program in 2020, he wrote a policy memo addressing remote work possibilities and how the pandemic had afforded an opportunity specifically for military spouses to take advantage of remote work. Through his research, he found that military spouses were the most underemployed demographic in our society, not just in the military sector, and that a large number of military families join the military coming from families below the poverty line.

“We ask military spouses to move, but we don’t really prioritize them in the hiring process. It doesn’t really allow military spouses to have a career; it becomes more of just a job-to-job scenario,” Spurlock said. “By allowing them to grow in a career, not a job, we are doing right for our military families.”

West, a military spouse herself, has experienced the trials of being a professional in a military marriage. Constant relocation can prevent career growth, disqualify individuals from promotions and bonuses, and create frustration.

“It is very difficult for professional military spouses with security clearances to work their assignments. That affects your ability to grow, and these things put a ceiling on your career,” West said. “I see this as a great opportunity. We can take this hiring fair as an opportunity to leverage this remote platform to empower military spouses.”

As an organization geographically distributed across the entire nation, AFWERX is looking to use its unique platform to offer remote, in-person and hybrid positions to those who must often relocate for their spouses’ position.

"AFWERX is designed to experiment and rapidly scale innovations for the Department of the Air Force. Since we are intentionally distributed to achieve our mission, AFWERX is a great test bed for this spouse hiring initiative, an initiative that, if proven successful, could rapidly scale," Diller said.

Open positions include opportunities in science and engineering, program and project management, data analytics, contracting, and financial management. AFWERX is seeking personnel with all levels of experience.

For those interested in applying, complete the application. The application window for the March hiring fair will close Feb. 28, but additional hiring opportunities will follow.

Find more information on what to include in a federal resume here.

For more information on joining the AFWERX team, please visit this link.

The event will be broadcasted virtually on ZoomGov (for government employees only) and live-streamed on YouTube for the general public.

To join the event via YouTube, please visit this direct link, and to join the event via Zoom as a .mil participant, please visit this link.

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