Michelle Obama, Jill Biden work to ease military spouse job hunt
According to White House figures, there are over 100,000 military spouses with professional licenses who have trouble transferring their licenses as they move from state to state. Military spouse unemployment is verging on 26 percent, more than double the national average.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are tackling this issue, urging states to relax license requirements for military families as they move from base to base.
Before she met her husband Ari, Kim Klein paid her way through school and worked hard at her job. But military life nearly erased that.
Kim Klein, Management Analyst at Wittenberg Weiner Consulting: "I worked very, very hard to build a career. And then for all intents and purposes, it was gone."
Like thousands of military spouses, the Kleins moved often, making the job hunt nearly impossible. During a three-year stint in Washington State she could not find a job.
“I felt a lot of panic that I had done the type of damage to my career that I would not be able to recover from,” Kim said.
In a new report, the first lady and Dr. Jill Biden are urging states to relax license requirements for military spouses to help rebuild their careers after moves. From teachers to nurses, more than 50 professions will be affected.
"You want to get back to the job you love, and the job you need to support your family, but you can't do any of that because your nursing license or your teaching license don't transfer when you move to a new state,” First Lady Michelle Obama said.
For Klein, the inability to find work caused her an increased level of stress and anxiety, and she's not alone. The American Psychiatric Association says more than one-third of military spouses feel an increased level of depression and anxiety.
"I personally needed something more, I needed that professional outlet," Kim said.
After the last move to Virginia, Klein found work as a business analyst in Washington D.C. and she says it's made her a stronger wife, a better mother, and a happier person.