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Military spouses soon to receive career readiness training

The Center for Military and Veterans Education is launching a pilot program to help military spouses prepare for meaningful work and careers. "We are excited about this opportunity because it puts our military spouses front and center and gives us the opportunity to put a program together to help them be successful in the workplace," said Bruce Brunson, the center's executive director.

Thanks to funding from Walmart, TCC was awarded a $7,500 grant from Give an Hour, a nonprofit dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of the troops and families affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its Community Blueprint project for the initiative. The award was announced by Nancy St. Claire, chief operating officer of Give an Hour, during a press event held at TCC on June 12, 2012.

"We are thrilled with this initiative because we know the need is great," added Jennifer Taylor, military outreach officer with Give an Hour. "A recent study conducted by Blue Star Families shows that 51 percent of military spouses are unemployed and looking for work."

TCC's pilot program aims to match military and veterans spouses' skill sets with the job market. "We plan to start with the Birkman Method test, a profile that accurately measures productive behaviors, stress behaviors, underlying needs, motivations and organizational orientation," Brunson said.

The training will continue with career readiness courses, financial management instruction and referrals for needed services, such as counseling for a spouse with post traumatic stress syndrome.

Seven other Hampton Roads organizations providing support for military families received similar Community Blueprint awards for a variety of initiatives, including Good Seed Good Ground; Habitat for Humanity; Old Dominion University - Research Foundation and Business Gateway; Quality of Life Foundation; VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads; and Wounded Wear.

Walmart Market Managers Chris Mehler and Chuck Richards were on hand during the event to meet representatives and learn of their plans.

"This is what community is all about," Mehler said. "We are proud of Walmart's five-year, $10 million commitment to support veteran employment and entrepreneurial opportunities."

Chris Mehler, Nancy St. Claire, Bruce Brunson, Jennifer Taylor and Chuck Richards celebrate the launch of TCC's military spouse pilot program.