The Military Spouse Employment Review


What is the Military Spouse Employment Study?

The Military Spouse Employment Study will provide a current understanding of military spouse employment across the state of Washington, as well as recommended strategies for barriers to employment that are identified. The effort will include a statewide survey of military spouses, stakeholder interviews, and focus groups, alongside other research. The study launched in April 2023 and will conclude no later than August 2024. For a complete project overview, see slides

What will be the outcomes of this study?

The final report will identify opportunities to address direct and indirect to workforce participation workforce by military spouses. Strategies may involve collaboration among the military; federal, state, and local governments; and private, nonprofit, educational, and labor partners. The final draft of this study is due out in August of 2024.

Why is this study being conducted?

Military spouses have long reported that they face barriers to employment. Nationally, the unemployment rate of military spouses is four times the rate among the general population. This challenge significantly impacts military families and the military itself: among active-duty military families, 44% report spousal employment challenges as a major family stressor and 18% report spousal employment challenges as a reason for potentially choosing to separate from the military (Blue Star Families, 2021). Given these challenges, the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP) is studying the challenges, opportunities, and needs of military spouses in their efforts to find employment and identifying strategies to address barriers and enhance supports for military spouse employment.

Who will be involved?

SSMCP leads this study with funding support from the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) along with project management support from BERK Consulting. Participating stakeholders will include statewide military spouses and their families, military installations, public sector policymakers and staff, and key partners from the nonprofit and private sectors.

What is the timeline for this project? 


Status update as of January 2024: 

We have just completed the first part of this two-part study.  The survey portion of this project was closed on 20 November 2023.  The survey was open for more than six weeks and thanks to the robust engagement of the project’s Stakeholder Committee, we received 646 responses from military spouses across the state.  Those responses are broken down by installation here:



Next Steps:

Based on what was heard from our survey responses, SSMCP and Berk Consulting are putting together focus groups to review and discuss a list of possible recommendations to address barriers to employment for military spouses in Washington State. 

How can I get more information?

For more information, visit the SSMCP website at or contact Maria Tobin,  SSMCP Project Coordinator, at


Connect With Us

South Sound Military & Communities Partnership - SSMCP

Bill Adamson
Program Director
(253) 983-7772 •

Maria Tobin
Program Coordinator
(253) 983-7804 •

Search this Site​

South Sound Military and Communities Partnership (SSMCP) © 2023. All Rights Reserved