By Marguerite Cleveland
The USO Pathfinder Program is a great resource for military spouses who are trying to have a career while moving every few years across the country and around the world. The program is located at 20 different installations around the country including Alaska and Hawaii.
1. What is the first step a military spouse should take if she is interested in employment or learning new skills?
The first step is evaluating the “Why” and what is the overall “Vision”. Then I recommend getting connected with a USO to determine the “How” to get connected within our network that has been established for over 75 years. Spouses are eligible to connect with a USO Pathfinder Scout at any time no just when your spouse transitions service. Those who are interested in getting connected with a Scout should download the USO phone application to get connected with a scout or just connect with us at https://www.uso.org/campaign/signup-pathfinder.
The USO Pathfinder program is committed to ensuring military spouses are taken care of just as much as their service member counterparts, both in service and through transition back to civilian life. USO Pathfinder extends the USO experience to service members and military spouses transitioning from the military as they settle into their new communities, as well as for military spouses at any point in their military journey as they transition from one installation to the next. USO Pathfinder provides a supportive community to keep military spouses and military families strong and connected, while ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met as they transition to life after military service. USO Pathfinder is a free service for military spouses and their service member counterparts to help transition from active-duty to civilian life.
me a little bit about the role a scout plays in the process?
Pathfinder Scouts, the heart of the USO Pathfinder operation, provide direct connections to services and resources in the following focus areas: employment, education, financial readiness, veteran’s benefits, housing, legal, family strength and wellness, and volunteerism. Through the creation of an individualized Action Plan, Scouts collaborate with individuals to identify their personal and professional goals and build a roadmap to achieving those goals. The individual’s Scout then populates their Action Plan with the services and resources that are the best fit for their needs and geographic location.
Pathfinder Scouts maintain communication with individuals throughout their transition to confirm the quality of service being provided by the resources they are connected to and collaborate with them to update their Action Plan if their goals or destination change. With Pathfinder Sites located across the country and Scouts mastering the landscape of resources available in those areas, the USO Pathfinder program connects people to resources and opportunities at their point of destination, and before they separate.
Individuals can access and update their Action Plan anywhere through the USO’s mobile app, where they can update their Action Plan tasks, add new tasks, and communicate directly with their Scout. The program’s Pathfinder Scouts are a trusted resource to develop a personalized Action Plan that best suits the needs of each individual spouse, whether moving to a new location or preparing for life after the military. Pathfinder Scouts can connect military spouses with services and resources that are the best fit for their individual needs. USO Pathfinder focus areas include: employment, financial readiness, education, VA benefits, volunteerism, housing, health and wellness, and legal assistance.
Military spouses play an important role in supporting military readiness and boosting morale among their service member spouses and their families. The USO has always placed an emphasis on not just the service member but the military family as a whole. Military spouses are just as strong as their service member partners, and backing military spouses strengthens our service members, their families, and communities, and is proven to have a positive impact on the communities in which they live. Although their fight is not on the front lines, military spouses work hard to support our nation’s service members and their families, often taking on burdens alone in tough times. However, through it all, they continue to push through and serve as the backbone of our military.
3. What about spouses who are going to PCS in less than six months?
stands ready to assist spouses at any time. Whether your family is preparing to
PCS, transition from the military, or simply looking for someone to assist you
in getting connected we are prepared to assist with supporting you to the
finish line of your goals.
4. What are some of the pilot programs for spouses and do you anticipate them becoming available?
Internally within the organization we are always looking at something new or improved ways to serve our spouses. I would always recommend stay tuned on one of our social media channels @theUSO.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com