Eric Soto Jr. was looking for employment while his spouse was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.
Thanks to the Exchange, his job as a Subway food service foreman turned into a career. Soto was promoted 13 months later to a manager position and transferred to the same role when he and his spouse PCS’d in September to Fort Drum, N.Y.
“My life changed because of being hired by the Exchange,” Soto said. “In less than four years, I have switched professions and been promoted.”
With 85 percent of the Exchange’s workforce having a military connection, military spouses have long found a home with the Department of Defense’s largest retailer.
Knowing ‘unique challenges’
Last year alone, the Exchange hired 5,300 military spouses, part of the Exchange’s commitment to hiring 50,000 Veterans and military spouses by 2020. Nearly 21 percent of the Exchange’s workforce is made up of military spouses.
“No one knows the unique challenges and concerns of military families better than military spouses,” said Dr. Patrick Oldenburgh, vice president of HR operations. “The Exchange is honored to provide employment opportunities and financial security to these exceptional men and women.”
The Exchange has long been recognized for its emphasis on military spouse hiring. In October, Viqtory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs and Military Spouse magazines, named the Exchange a Military Friendly® Spouse Employer for the seventh year.
For Soto, working for the Exchange is a lifeline.
“My Exchange co-workers and customers are some of my best friends in the world. They are like family,” Soto said. “They understand military life and all that goes with it.”
When military spouses choose the Exchange, they are often able to keep their jobs when their family has a permanent change of station.
Career growth, stability
Much like Soto, Mindy Whitman, an Exchange logistics assistant at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., experienced this continuity, which brings
career growth and stability to military families.
When Whitman’s spouse PCS’d from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., in August, she transferred to the same position that she has held since 2016 with equivalent pay and hours at her family’s next assignment.
“Being able to transfer jobs during a PCS is fantastic,” Whitman said. “I don’t take that or retaining my retirement and benefits for granted.”