USAA - Spring 2014 - (Page 22)
These Military Spouses Are Building Businesses
That Can Follow Them Anywhere
BY MOLLY BLAKE
and stretch their arms and legs. The owner,
Jennifer Whitley, turns up the music and claps
her hands. The students get down to business.
Whitley, a military spouse, moved to Colorado
in 2012 with her husband, Eddie, who is preparing
for his next permanent change of station
orders. "I will settle down at some point," says
Whitley, the mother of two girls, ages 5 and 7.
"But I still get excited about the opportunity to
experience a new place. I'll just pick up and open
a Studio J somewhere else," she says.
At last count from the Defense Department,
there are 726,400 spouses of active-duty service
members. Recently, there has been a concerted
effort from the government and the private sector
22 USAA Magazine SPRING 2014
group of women, clad in black leggings
and a rainbow of brightly colored tank
tops, pour into the Studio J Pilates
classroom in Colorado Springs, Colo.,
to help military spouses find training, mentors,
certification and portable careers to help with the
The reason for the support is clear: Military
spouses face unemployment rates in the double
digits and a big wage gap compared with civilian
spouses, Defense Department statistics show. And
the 2013 Blue Star Families Military Family
Lifestyle Survey found that lack of spouse employment
and frequent moves were among the top
obstacles to financial security for military families.
(USAA helped to underwrite the survey, available
Running a successful business is one way to
overcome those obstacles. "More and more, we're
seeing military spouses turn to business ownership
as a professional vocation," says Mike Haynie,
founder and executive director of the Institute for
Veterans and Military Families.
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