Hire Me, Hire My Wife: New Program Gives 'Trailing Spouses' Jobs

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Trailing Spouses Here's an interesting solution to the dilemma faced by most working couples at some point or another: One spouse gets a great job offer in another city, but the other spouse doesn't want to leave his or her job for an uncertain professional future in a different job market. Which spouse makes the sacrifice?

If they're considering opportunities in southwest Michigan, neither has to make that sacrifice; through a new program called Connect Sixty-Four, businesses along a 64-mile stretch between St. Joseph and Battle Creek have formed an alliance to hire what they call "trailing spouses."

The partnership was formed to give organizations more muscle when competing with other communities for top talent. After all, southwest Michigan is not necessarily at the top of everyone's list when it comes to relocation. But if both spouses can get good jobs relatively close to each to each other, it could move the area up a few notches.

All of the Fortune 500 companies who have headquarters or divisions along the Connect Sixty-Four area are part of the program, including Stryker, Eaton, Kellogg's, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Whirlpool. Other, smaller-yet-influential organizations, also are part of the hiring program.

The way the program works is that trailing spouses get a sort of push to the front of the line if they have the qualifications that the businesses in the area are looking for. Resumes and openings are organized and matched by Connect Sixty-Four. So if you're a marketing executive being recruited by Kellogg's and your husband is a project manager looking for work, the companies in the program that have project management openings should give him consideration.

"That VIP pass gets trailing spouses exposure to hiring managers -- exposure they wouldn't get on their own," said Robyn Rosenthal of Connect Sixty-Four, who trailed her husband to the area three years ago.

Rosenthal would be proof that the program can work. Makes you wish there would be similar programs in other areas, doesn't it?

Maybe there are. That's just one more thing to find out when considering a move. It never hurts to ask.

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