We know that military spouses bring distinct talents to the workforce. We’ve been tapping into this diverse talent pool since 2018 through Amazon’s military spouse fellowship (MSF) programs in the U.S. These efforts also build on Amazon’s commitment to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2024.
We recently spoke with Ryan Belak, who leads our military spouse fellowship programs, to learn more about this initiative.
Can you tell us about yourself and how you came to your role at Amazon?
I had to take some time off in 2020 from my work with nonprofits. My kids were home-schooling, and my husband had to deploy about five months into the COVID-19 pandemic, so I knew that I couldn't hold my current role, be both mom and dad, and do home-schooling with a deployed partner. I resigned from my role and took about nine months off from working. My husband is an Air National Guard member, and every time he deploys for six to 11 months, I have to change my career around to align our support system for our kids, so I definitely empathize with active-duty spouses. We have our own unique challenges, and deployments is a big one for us. When I was ready to get back to work, I got connected to a position at Amazon through Hiring Our Heroes.
What is it about military spouses that makes them a unique talent pool?
The unemployment rate for military spouses are two to three times higher than that of the general population because they have to be able to support a military service member and provide for a military family. However, this group is uniquely diverse and often highly educated. Amazon feels really passionate about supporting not only the military community, but the military spouse community. We’ve made investments so that we could create these alternative hiring pipelines via fellowship programs to bring in much needed diverse military spouse talent.
What makes Amazon a great place to work for military spouses?
In many roles, Amazon allows military spouses to work remotely if their role can be done effectively from home. That flexibility allows them to support their military service member and attend to their family while continuing to grow their career. We also have a military spouse community group, which gives members an opportunity to discuss the unique challenges they may face, and share resources available inside and outside of Amazon. And, in addition to our partnership with Hiring Our Heroes and their program for spouses, we've invested and created our own military spouses program.
Can you tell us more about Amazon’s military spouse fellowships?
The goal of these programs is to bring military spouses in the U.S. into sustainable, meaningful career fields within Amazon. Through these 12-week fellowship programs, military spouses will gain and have access to professional training, networking, military spouse events, and hands-on job experience. We offer military spouse fellowships through two programs: Amazon’s Milspouse Fellow program, and through our partnership with Hiring Our Heroes. Since 2018, we've connected military spouses to a variety of roles, and we have been able to successfully fill roles across all business lines—from tax to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Alexa to fulfillment centers—based on their skillsets and work experience.
Learn more about Amazon’s Military initiatives and opportunities. Hear from leaders with Amazon Military Affairs and Warriors at Amazon who discuss Amazon's support of the military community: