Gov. Matt Bevin recently signed legislation into law expanding the veterans’ preference for state jobs to include military spouses. The opportunities that this preference presents, which will aide in the interview process, cannot be understated.

Currently, more than 17,000 active-duty spouses living in Kentucky potentially could be impacted by this change.

As a military spouse myself, I know all too well that the call of service goes beyond the service member. Affording military families the same treatment and preference as the veteran shows a deep commitment to support the American military family. This change could truly be life changing for military spouses and their families in Kentucky.

Military spouse unemployment rates range from 12 to 26 percent, and those who are employed, receive an average of 25 percent less than equally qualified counterparts. With some families being uprooted every two to three years, moving from city to city, it can be difficult for spouses to plant roots that could foster an enriching career.

Thanks to this change, military spouses now will have a foot in the door and be one-step closer to taking advantage of the incredible employment opportunities in Kentucky state government. This expansion says to all military families, “Thank you for your service. Kentucky sees you and appreciates you.”

We will see hundreds of veteran and reserve military families coming to Kentucky, joining our workforce and bettering our communities.

We will see active duty personnel comforted that their family and spouse will be looked after, and encouraged to join the bright men and women who work to make the Bluegrass great.

The Commonwealth will benefit from a talent pool waiting to be tapped, leading to prosperous jobs, cutting edge innovations and economic growth. This expansion establishes Kentucky as one of, if not the most, military-friendly states in the country.

I have found my passion working for the Commonwealth. It brings me great joy to know the systems and processes I create enable other employees to reduce their time maneuvering through outdated and tedious administrative tasks and more time diving into their careers and passions. I know more military spouses will find their passion serving the Commonwealth as well.

I want to thank the General Assembly and Gov. Bevin for recognizing this need within Kentucky’s workforce and their commitment to make Ken­tucky the most military-friendly state in the country.

Stephanie Carpenter works for the Department of Human Resources Administration in the state Personnel Cabinet. Her husband is Lt. Col. Travis Carpenter, deputy director for personnel, Kentucky Army National Guard. She can be reached at stephaniel.carpenter@ky.gov.

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