Is there a bias against hiring military spouses because they move frequently? And if there is, what to do about it? As existing businesses struggle to find qualified employees, how can we leverage military spouses, dependents, and veterans to bridge the talent gap? That is the question we are tackling with the 2016 Creative Give Back project for the Wayne County Development Alliance. Their innovative project tasked Creative EDC with the development of a strategy and influencing model directed at employer hiring practices. The goal is to transition military spouses and dependents, exiting members, and retirees into local employment.
We kicked off the project in May with a brainstorming session with a Wayne County task force. We asked about perceptions regarding military hires, the challenges facing military and business in regard to employment, and how the two can be changed. To understand the differing perspectives, surveys were sent to community college students, military dependents, and business and industry. Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was instrumental in providing a survey of over 300 military spouses.
We are in the process of researching strategies with an entrepreneurial group on base, military friendly business designations, and multiple educational awareness programs for the business and industry community as well as military dependents, exiting members, and veterans. Next steps are vetting the strategies with the task force and finalizing an implementation plan.
Creative EDC plans to wrap up the 2016 Give Back project by the end of this year. The goal is to provide the Wayne County Development Alliance with a visionary program that will help bridge the talent gap and also be replicated in similar areas around the country. Check back with our team later this year to find out how your community can learn from our work in Wayne County.
The 2017 Creative Give Back will be launched in January. What’s going to be your creative idea?