Leaders discuss benefits of employing military spouses

Leaders discuss benefits of employing military spouses

RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Did you know that there were 7,000 new jobs added to the Augusta economy last year? A lot of them are directly related to Fort Gordon.

With more military families also coming to the area, many need help integrating into our community. Moving to a new city can sometimes feel like being in a foreign land.

Some military spouses battle the challenge of uprooting their career and children. For military families, the struggle is second nature.

"We're very resilient and when we come into a new community, we don't have time to wait. We get our curtains on the windows, we get our kids enrolled in schools and we're out there looking for a job. we're out there to continue our career, wanting to volunteer in the community and on post," said Ann Morrison, who is the wife of Fort Gordon Commanding General, Major-General John B. Morrison

But with uprooting comes uncertainty. Although Fort Gordon brings thousands of jobs to our area, that doesn't mean it makes it easier for their spouses to find work. A study commissioned by Blue Star Families in 2016 found 42 percent of military spouses - or 95,000 - were jobless.

The Augusta Metro Chamber and Women in Business are working to change that.

"I hope that they take away for how important it is for the community to become integrated and really help these military families when they come in. Not just from a standpoint of support but also helping them with jobs and helping the kids get integrated into the schools better," said Ashlee Duran, publisher at Augusta Magazine and Chair of Women in Business Committee.

With the help of a power point presentation at a luncheon led by Morrison, the keynote speaker, organizers hope  guests will learn how they can help. They learned about things military spouses have to offer to potential employers. Spouses already have medical and dental benefits, so often times employers  won't be expected to provide benefits. Perhaps that could lead to higher salaries for spouses.

They're also hoping businesses can be flexible with schedules because of challenges that come with being married to soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines.

"Military families are looking to find their place, whether its because they have children, they're looking for some place for their children to be, they're been looking for a place in their religious community, they're looking for a place, jut in general in the community, and they're looking to be part of our area here," Morrison said.

Morrison said there are could be 6,000 more people moving to the area over the next six years - and they're all looking for a place to belong and a place where they can be productive.

CLICK HERE and search for Community Support Facilities & Programs to learn how you can help.

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