The pandemic is hitting military families in multiple ways

Career opportunities, mental health top concerns
Posted at 1:17 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 08:17:52-05

NORFOLK, Va. - A nonprofit organization that supports education for military families released survey results that show the broad impacts the COVID-19 pandemic is having on that population.

ThanksUSA provides scholarships and employment assistance for children and spouses of military members.

In a recent survey, more than three-quarters of those who responded reported the pandemic had negatively impacted their career development and advancement opportunities.

"I think what was most compelling to me was just the broad concerns around uncertainty, you know, the deep concerns of fear and pain around the future," ThanksUSA President Jon Rosa explained to News 3 anchor Todd Corillo.

Employment concerns for spouses was of particular concern.

"This is a community that's already behind the curve when it comes to employment. Our military spouses prior to COVID-19 were somewhere around a 28% unemployment rate and again, that's not, 'I don't want to work,' that's 'I can't find work.' So having that compounded by the impacts of the pandemic has been really difficult on our military and our military families," Rosa added.

Outside of education, more than half of respondents reported suffering mental health issues due to the pandemic. Other concerns included financial worries and increased caregiver responsibilities.

While scholarships remain the core of what ThanksUSA does, they are also working on some additional programs to help military families. That includes a special mentor relationship pairing industry experts with individuals to help with planning and how to be successful.

"We've also put together an around the table series, where it's just a peer-based conversation around the dinner table, wherever you may be, to talk about relevant, time-sensitive issues like mental health issues, job hunting and college applications," Rosa shared.

You can learn more about the organization and their efforts here.