Blue Star Spouse Networks Launch

The military community is a lot like a never-ending round of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." Have you played this maddening game whereby you are given a celebrity's name -- say, Matt Damon -- and you must connect said actor to Kevin Bacon via movies in as few moves as possible.

Here goes:
Matt Damon was in the film Ocean's Eleven with Julia Roberts.
Julia Roberts was in the film Flatliners with Kevin Bacon.

Okay that was easy.

My point is that the military community is similarly connected. Only one percent of this nation serves in the military so it stands to reason that many of us know each other or knows someone who served with a friend. Recently during an interview with a military spouse writer for a story, she and I ended up playing the 'oh you know so and so' game and we both agreed to help each other out in the future. And even though she and I are technically competitors, I'll happily share contacts with her knowing she's a milspouse and faces the same challenges I do. Besides spreading good karma, I'll probably reach out to her at some point for advice.

What a great concept. Why not use our powerful community to share resources for career fields popular with military spouses? Introducing Blue Star Spouse Networks.

Hiring Our Heroes is partnering with Blue Star Families to launch three ground-breaking peer-to-peer spouse networks for educators, health care professionals and entrepreneurs. Our networks will give military spouses the power to organize and change their careers for the better. The Facebook platform is a natural place to begin -- it allows for peer-to-peer mentoring, connectivity, a space to pose questions, post job opportunities and ruminate with other spouses in your career field.

"We are excited to provide this foundation for spouses to coordinate and connect to each other within their own career fields," said Dr. Vivian Greentree, Blue Star Families Director of Research and Policy. "The networks will also provide valuable mentoring and professional opportunities through the career development resources of the U.S. Chamber's Hiring our Heroes program."

Why educators, health care professionals and entrepreneurs? Because of the requirement for state-level licensing for each of them, these arenas need organized, networked spouse-led advocacy at both the state and national level. Additionally, teaching and nursing are two of the top three occupations for military spouses in the labor force. It is our hope that Blue Star Spouse Networks serves as a springboard for some much-needed change. "These networks will help empower spouses to be their own advocates at the state-level as we work with the Department of Defense to continue progress on licensing and certification issues," said Greentree.

Blue Star Health Care Professionals (including Social Workers)

Like the Blue Star Spouse Network Facebook page and enjoy the following:

1. You can have a founding role in an unprecedented military spouse-exclusive network within the most populated industries for military spouses.
2. Each network will have formal partnership with the largest business federation in the world - the United States Chamber of Commerce, with over 3 million business members.
3. You will be able to provide insight and input to government officials working on military spouse licensing and certification issues.
4. You can help in the creation of state level policy on spousal licensing and certification that helps military spouses.
5. You can be involved in Hiring our Heroes' Military Spouse Business Alliance, the first ever coalition of the top nonprofits in the country working on military spouse employment.
6. You will have access to top tier and innovative professional development opportunities, such as national and regional peer and mentoring networks, comprehensive resume assistance geared specifically toward military spouses, networking events to connect high level business and civic executives with military spouses, and professional advice on networking, career planning and career image improvement.
7. You will have access to platforms like eMentor and Odesk, where spouses can connect with other spouses for mentoring and contract and short-term work opportunities.

We are looking forward to 2013, there's no reason it can't be the year of the military spouse.