SA named first military spouse economic empowerment zone

Military spouses are far more likely to be unemployed than the general population, and San Antonio could be key to helping change that.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring our Heroes initiative has named San Antonio the first military spouse economic empowerment zone in the country. Because of the large active duty population, the Chamber believes San Antonio is the perfect case study to find out what's working and what isn't when it comes to spouses landing jobs.

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While Hiring our Heroes has highlighted some national companies like USAA, Starbucks and Prudential as having best practices when it comes to hiring military spouses, Lori Stinson with San Antonio's Chamber of Commerce hopes those practices can extend to other local companies.

"It's just working with them and understanding that they're adaptable and flexible and just encouraging hiring them," Stinson said.

Stinson is a military spouse herself. Over he husband's 24 year career with the Army, Stinson has moved 17 times and been a single parent to her five kids during her husband's six deployments. While developing a career has been difficult, she says military spouses have a lot they can bring to the table.

"A sense of duty and loyalty and really flexibility and adaptability," she said. Today she is the vice president of military affairs for San Antonio's Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Department of Defense, military spouses have a 16% unemployment rate, four times higher than the national average. Stinson believes that finding jobs for spouses will also increase the service member's chance sof staying in the military.

"They say you don't recruit the service member you recruit the family," she said.