About the National Guard Employment Support Program

Service member working on a plane

The Joint National Guard Employment Support Program is vital in supporting our National Guard service members in finding meaningful careers and job opportunities as they face the challenges of military life, whether mobilized or in a steady state posture. Having this “joint” program in the Joint Force Headquarters-State since 2004 underscores this as the Adjutant General’s program, which is critical for success.

A strong Employment Support network has been organized in each state and territory with a Program Support Specialist, and reinforced by partnerships with other government agencies, private partnerships and a synergistic relationship with National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. This Army and Air partnership and coordination ensures that all units and states can readily communicate with each other, and helps resolve issues with employers.

At the state level, the JFHQ houses the Employment Support Program. Additional resources and programs leveraged by Employment Support are often co-located at the JFHQ-State or tied into it in some way. Many of these partners are able to reach across service cultures and touch our National Guard families within their states.

In addition, the 55 Program Support Specialists are the primary resource in providing employment support/opportunities/options to commanders, soldiers, airmen, and families. They can serve as the TAG’s representative on employment issues within the state. They identify, plan, and deliver briefings for mobilization and deployment.

The Employment Support Program has expanded responsibilities recently to include employment facilitation. Program Support Specialists have been recently trained to utilize the CASY-MSCCN case management system for consideration and implementation in their respective states.

Mission and strategy

Mission statement
NGB Employment Support customer focus: Provide employment opportunities and options to develop career-ready service members, prepared/resilient family members, and successfully transitioned members integrated with their community.

Vision statement
Supporting the warfighter, the homeland and developing partnerships by shaping legislation and policy, and affecting outcomes that support the strategic integration of the National Guard in supporting the National Military Strategy through force readiness.


Job Opportunities in Your Local Community

US flag formation of people

Find workforce development career center websites and veterans representatives by state and territory.

Job Opportunities

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes program assists service members, military spouses and veterans with obtaining meaningful employment. 

Workforce Development Career Center Websites and Veterans Representatives by State and Territory

Click on a link below to connect to your local career center and see what services are available to help you land the civilian job that’s right for you.

For volunteer opportunities with the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce (Contingency Operations positions that place civilians alongside the U.S. military to provide crucial functions), visit the DOD Expeditionary Civilian Program.

Additional employment resources for military spouses are located at the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program’s Job Search.

For national employment opportunities, you can search for jobs by state with the links below.

Start Your Career With Military Kids – Come Grow With Us

Children sing a song in a Child Development Center

The Department of Defense is the nation’s largest employer-sponsored child care system and one of the largest youth development programs in the country. Through the Department of Defense’s career opportunities initiative, Come Grow With Us, you can apply for both entry and management-level positions in many child development programs and youth programs world-wide.

Department of Defense child and youth development careers

Watch this video of the career opportunities available within military child development and youth programs.

Streaming YouTube is currently blocked from DOD networks.


As a Department of Defense child development and youth program employee, you’ll enjoy competitive pay and benefits, including:

  • Health and life insurance
  • Paid leave
  • Retirement and 401K benefits
  • Tuition assistance
  • Training, mentoring and professional development
  • Career advancement opportunities

Plus, many of the Department of Defense’s 850+ high-quality child development and youth programs are located on or near military installations worldwide. And, for military spouses seeking employment, spousal preference is offered as well.

If you are interested in a career that offers flexibility and advancement, while providing a vital service to our military families around the world, this employment opportunity is for you.

Some available jobs that may be open in your area include:

  • Child development directors and assistant directors
  • Training and curriculum specialists
  • Before and after school directors
  • Youth program directors
  • Direct care staff

Both entry and career-level positions with Department of Defense programs can be found at:

Ask an Installation Employment Readiness Specialist

Both military spouses and recent college grads from military families can talk to their installation’s employment readiness specialist.

Skills you need to succeed as a child and youth development staff member

If you’re considering a career field in early care and education or youth development, ask yourself these questions to see if you’d fit the qualifications for many entry and management-level positions.

  • Do you have experience with children? Previous experience working with children and youth may give you an advantage when seeking employment. Don’t just count formal student teaching or training, though – an employment history of babysitting or camp counseling will look great to potential employers.
  • Do you have formal early childhood education or youth development training or certifications? Most employers request candidates have at least a GED/high school diploma. Having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in child development, education, psychology, social work, youth development, or physical education can set your application apart from others. Child care-related certifications like the Child Development Associate, or CDA, or the Child Care Professional, or CCP, credentials may also increase your employability, as do basic first aid and CPR certifications.
  • Are you looking for a rewarding, meaningful career? Few careers offer the chance to directly support military children and youth, offering them the foundation they need to succeed as adults. If you enjoy a challenge and are passionate about working with children and youth, this job opportunity is for you.

Career Coaching for Military Spouses

woman smiling on computer

Being a military spouse has great rewards – and a few challenges. Frequent moves are a good example of both. It’s exciting to experience other parts of the country and the world. But it can be hard to sustain a career when you have to pack up and leave every few years.

If your service member’s spouse is struggling to find a job, they may be eligible for free career coaching and other resources to help build a career that will follow them wherever they go.

The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program

The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, provided by the Department of Defense, offers career coaching and a wealth of tools and resources to prepare for, and find, a great job. Encourage the military spouse in your life to check out the resources and tools on the MySECO website, including:

  • Self-assessments
  • A resume builder
  • Scholarship finder
  • A free year-long upgrade to LinkedIn Premium
  • Job listings from Military Spouse Employment Partnership employers who are committed to hiring military spouses

SECO also offers a number of personal services, such as on-demand resume and cover letter review, a job search resource that provides spouses with customized job leads with MSEP partners, and more.

Career coaching tailored to military spouses

Both new and seasoned military spouses might feel alone in their efforts to establish a career. A number of our SECO career coaches are veterans or military family members themselves and have personal experience with finding ways to overcome those hurdles. They can help military spouses identify education and career goals and tap into resources to meet them. A SECO career coach can also help military spouses:

  • Find education or training programs that fit their mobile life
  • Research ways to pay for education and training
  • Maximize their search for jobs
  • Build networks and self-market
  • Conduct video mock interviews
  • Pursue entrepreneurship

Career coaching packages for all situations

SECO career coaches offer specialty consultations for military spouses who are interested in a specific career path. Industry-specific coaching packages include:

  • Intelligence and cybersecurity
  • Science, technology, engineering and math
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Health care
  • K-12 education
  • Federal employment
  • Information technology
  • Freelancing

SECO also provides career transition coaching packages to help military spouses navigate life changes. Career transition coaching package topics include:

  • New spouse
  • Career readiness
  • Career pathways
  • Re-entering the workforce
  • Permanent change of station
  • Working remotely

The military spouse you care about can take advantage of the free resources to strengthen their skills and meet their goals. Connecting with a SECO career coach can open the door to a meaningful and enriching career for the military spouse in your life.

Military spouses can contact a SECO career coach at 800-342-9647 or through the Live Chat feature in the header of the MySECO website.

Career Coaching for Military Spouses

Deciding on a career or finding a job isn’t easy when your family moves every few years. The military spouse in your life can get help through free career coaching from the Department of Defense.

Freelancing in the Gig Economy: An Overview for the Military Community

Service member is painting.

For military spouses and service members, the growing gig economy provides an opportunity to earn extra income. Gig work also offers flexibility and independence that you may not find in some traditional or part-time jobs. And whether you walk dogs or drive for a ride-sharing service, your alternate business may move with you when you PCS.

As with any employment, there are pros and cons to working in the gig economy. Also, the military has specific rules for service members working off duty and for spouses operating a business on a military installation. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether a gig economy job can work for you. 

What gig work is – freelancer, temp jobs and contract jobs

Gig work is a job or money-making venture that is not your typical long-term, paid position. It’s temporary work, a short-term contract or a freelance job that brings in additional money or is an outlet for a passion. You could start a business such as catering, offer services or goods through an online sales platform, or sell old items on an auction website.

As a freelancer, you are your own boss. You set your own hours, decide what kind of assignments you want to take, collect your own fees and pay your own taxes. If you freelance for a company, your role is independent contractor, not employee.

Gig work has many advantages for service members and spouses. Many people find a creative outlet in gig jobs. You can make good money, and you have more flexibility, working the days and hours that suit your schedule. You have greater independence, and when you PCS to a new place, a gig economy job is more transferable.

On the downside, gig work usually offers no benefits, such as sick leave, paid time off or worker’s compensation. You don’t have the guarantee of a steady income since you earn only when you work. Plus you risk losing any money you invest in your business if it doesn’t pan out. Also, you must pay estimated federal, state and Social Security taxes four times per year. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of a gig job when considering whether it makes sense for you.

Department of Defense rules for side work

Active-duty service members who want to work gig jobs must follow rules established by the Department of Defense. You may want to see if your service branch has its own rules governing gig work. There are also requirements for spouses who want to operate a business while living on an installation.

Service members:

  • Start by consulting the Outside Activities section of the Ethics Counselor’s Deskbook. This gives you the DOD’s basic rules for off-duty employment.
  • Get permission from your command. Start with your supervisor. You will also need your commander’s approval, and you may need your local legal office or ethics office to sign off. They will evaluate your request to make sure your side job does not:
    • Interfere with your military duties, since the military could potentially call you to work at any time.
    • Impact your safety or the safety of those in the military community. For example, you shouldn’t do a job that makes you miss out on sleep.
    • Violate the military’s ethical standards. For example, you can’t work for another federal agency while you are on active duty.

Military spouses:

Spouses who want to operate a business while living on an installation must meet certain requirements:

  • Register your business with the installation housing office and receive a permit to operate. 
  • Get state and local business licenses if required in your location. If you plan to offer in-home child care, you may need to become a certified family child care provider. 
  • Register with your state as a business entity, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or LLC, if required. 
  • Learn about the policies on advertising your home business on your installation. You may not use the military postal system for commercial purposes.
  • Follow the Status of Forces Agreement rules between the U.S. and your host country if you are OCONUS. Some countries place strict limitations on the type of business you may operate.

Resources to help you get organized

For military spouses and service members, the growing gig economy provides an opportunity to earn extra income. Gig work also offers flexibility and independence that you may not find in some traditional or part-time jobs. And whether you walk dogs or drive for a ride-sharing service, your alternate business may move with you when you PCS.

Military Spouses: Let the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Help You Find a Job

Group of military spouses talking at event

If you need a job, particularly one that is flexible and portable, look no further than the Military Spouse Employment Job Search on MySECO. Through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, hundreds of companies and organizations have committed to hiring and retaining military spouses in jobs that provide meaningful and lasting employment.

What is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership?

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership is an initiative of the Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program that aims to help military spouses find jobs. The partnership includes more than 440 partners or military-friendly employers. Visit the MSEP Job Search on MySECO to look for your dream job or review helpful information on using the job search.

Marketing yourself for the job

Here are a couple of ways to show potential employers you are a great candidate:

  • Capitalize on your skills. Highlight your life experiences that translate into on-the-job skills. For example, as a military spouse, you’ve probably learned to be adaptable, resilient and culturally aware. Employers covet these qualities.
  • Let them know where you’ve used those specific skills. You could show how, after a move, you had to establish a new network of contacts in your community. Let this be an example of building networking and communication skills.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership is here to help. If you need help finding all of the great resources available through the MSEP Job Search on MySECO, call 800-342-9647 to talk to a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

Networking and Self-Marketing Bring Job Search Success to Military Spouses

Military spouses networking at event

Networking leads to 70 percent of all jobs. While it isn’t difficult, networking does take time and effort. It requires getting to know people in your chosen field and staying in touch with them throughout your career. If you want to get hired, be your biggest fan. Here are a few ways to toot your own professional horn.

Market yourself

  • Network extensively. Attend industry and college alumni events. Reach out to friends, family, former classmates and colleagues.
  • Maximize the Internet. Use career-focused social media portals, like LinkedIn to connect with former colleagues and bosses. Be sure you have a professional, noteworthy profile on Internet sites, like LinkedIn. Join relevant industry groups.
  • Reach out to potential employers. Find out about career opportunities and current openings at companies you like. You can also connect with employers who are committed to hiring military spouses through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.
  • Make a great first impression. If you’re invited to interview for a job, get there early, dress for the position and know something about the company. Be sure to bring along your business cards and a polished resume. It’s also a great idea to have a well-rehearsed elevator speech when the interviewer asks you about yourself. This is a 30-second summary of your skills, experience and goals.
  • Be confident. When you’re confident in your abilities, others will notice.
  • Write a winning resume. Make sure your resume is polished and professional.
  • Write a brief thank you note within three days of meeting a potential employer. It should include where and when you met, any follow-up items and your contact information.

Take advantage of networking opportunities

  • Career fairs provide an opportunity for job seekers to meet with people from several companies in one location. Employers may be recruiting for specific job openings or giving information on future job opportunities at these events. Also, look for job fairs exclusively for military spouses.
  • Chamber of commerce groups hold regional events, like mixers, workshops and fundraisers. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation leads the Hiring Our Heroes initiative, which helps veterans and military spouses find work.
  • College career and networking events are generally for alumni and students and typically take place on campus.
  • Community service groups allow volunteers to staff fundraisers, where you might interact with hiring authorities. Don’t be afraid to work for free. Volunteering and interning are great ways to get your foot in the door, and it can be a great learning experience. The same is true for meetings, workshops and conferences for professional and trade associations.

Visit MySECO if you want to know more about marketing yourself for your career. You can also call 800-342-9647 or click here for overseas calling options to speak with a certified Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach. You should also join the Military Spouse Employment Partnership LinkedIn page for potential contacts.

COVID-19 Surge Response Program Lets Federal Employees Fill Needs

Military man on laptop

Current as of April 20, 2020

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is creating tremendous needs across the nation and world. Current federal employees now have a new way to help meet those needs. The COVID-19 Surge Response Program provides a governmentwide platform — Open Opportunities — where federal agencies can post professional development opportunites for current federal employees. These include details, microdetails and/or temporary rotational assignments.

Here’s how you can learn more about the program and apply for or post an opportunity.

Apply as a current federal employee

Follow these steps to learn more and apply:

  • Visit the COVID-19 Surge Response Program platform on Open Opportunities.
  • Explore opportunities for details, microdetails, and/or temporary rotational assignments. Fields may include human resources, communications, epidemiology, social work and food service.
  • Apply for opportunities for details, microdetails and/or temporary rotational assignments. You will need to create a user profile account on Open Opportunities to apply. You will also need approval from your supervisor in writing, such as in an email message. Approval is being encouraged as much as possible during this time of national emergency. You do not need to work in a similar position or field to qualify for an assignment.
  • Wait as federal agencies review applications and make selections.
  • Know that if you receive approval for an opportunity, your home agency and host agency (or component, if you are rotating within your home agency) will need to complete a Memorandum of Understanding for your detail, microdetail, and/or temporary rotational assignment.

Create, post and fill an opportunity for federal employees

Follow these steps to create and post an opportunity:

  • Check with your supervisor. You will need to get approval before you create an opportunity.
  • Create a user profile account on Open Opportunities if you do not already have one.
  • Sign in to Open Opportunities and select “Create Opportunity.”
  • Choose your audience and provide as much detail about the opportunity as you can. Try these tips to help you write a great opportunity announcement. Announcements include series, title, grade level, open period, position type, duration, number of openings, location, responsibilities, qualifications, application process, security clearance requirement.
  • Preview your announcement for accuracy.
  • Choose “Submit” if you are ready for the opportunity to go live, or save it for later. Return to your drafts on your homepage, under “Created opportunities.”
  • Watch for an email confirming that your opportunity is either live or needs changes.
  • Advertise your opportunity. Use this email template and the “Share” link on Open Opportunities.
  • Review applicants. You will receive an email each time someone applies for your opportunity. Select an applicant’s name to review their profile. Call or email them if you would like to know more about their skills, interests or other details.
  • Assign participants. Select an applicant or applicants to fill your opportunity by using the green circle with a white plus symbol and then selecting “Next Step.” Open Opportunities will notify applicants you select, and your opportunity will be in progress.
  • Email assigned participants to get them started on tasks. Once someone finishes a task, select “Task complete.” Once your opportunity is complete, select “Complete opportunity.”

Consider creating or applying for an opportunity today. You can make a difference in supporting the federal response to COVID-19.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

COVID-19 Surge Response Program Lets Federal Employees Fill Needs

The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is creating tremendous needs across the nation and world. Current federal employees now have a new way to help meet those needs.