By Libby Hopkins
Military spouses often find it difficult to have a career while they are moving from place to place with their enlisted spouse.
The In Gear Career program hopes to help military spouses maintain a career while they are traveling abroad. The In Gear Career program is a non-profit organization that was started by military spouses for military spouses, and operates on the principle that past and present military spouses will help each other find fulfilling employment, build community, expand professional networks, capture lessons and mentor each other towards meaningful careers.
Lauren Weiner is the president of Wittenberg Weiner Consulting and she is also on the Board of Directors at In Gear Career. She and her business partner, Donna Huneycutt, started the program after they were stationed with their husbands in Naples, Italy and could not find jobs.
“We started the firm to just provide an avenue for each of us to do project-based work with our contacts back in the U.S., but instead we got consulting work on the base and we started employing other professional-level military spouses on base,” Weiner said. The ladies soon realized the value of this untapped labor pool and it lead to an amazing growth in their program.
Weiner has many plans for the new program and she hopes more people from Brandon and the surrounding communities will become involved with it. “We want to make the ‘business case’ to the private sector,” Weiner said. “Military spouses are such stellar employees and hiring them is often better than hiring a similarly-qualified civilian.” She also hopes to create spouse-led networks around major military installations that can help address the major problems that professionally-focused military spouses face. “We will also continue our advocacy efforts at the federal level to identify easily-addressed barriers to professional careers for spouses,” Weiner said. She is thrilled with all the attention military spouse employment has been getting from the White House and the Department of Defense. She said that her program will continue to be the voice for all military spouses. For more information on the In Gear Career program or if you would like to get involved, you can visit them on the web at www.ingearcareer.org.