As the company’s vice president for global tax policy, Libby Coffin is used to advocating for Raytheon Technologies and its bottom line.
She’s now advocating for military spouses as well — a category of Raytheon Technologies employees that she once belonged to.
“I was a military spouse for seven years with a husband in the U.S. Air Force,” Coffin said. “I hadn’t thought much about that experience until I heard Raytheon Technologies was committing to the MSEP program. Suddenly, memories of the problems I confronted launching my law career during that time came flooding back.
“So, not only was it natural for me to raise my hand to help our MSEP effort — I wanted to jump into the deep end. I wanted to make certain our employees appreciate the challenges faced by military spouses seeking to enter the workplace.”
Military spouses must surmount a host of unique employment hurdles, Coffin said. Among the more daunting — the frequent relocations brought about by military reassignments. Finding a job is tough enough. That task seems overwhelming, Coffin said, if your profession requires you to meet state-specific requirements.
“I recall facing the prospect of taking multiple state bar exams and complying with different states’ continuing education guidelines,” she noted. “That’s expensive, and even if you accomplish that, you still must consider which aspects of your work will travel easily across state lines.”
Another concern for military spouses is underemployment. Many military spouses hold degrees, Libby says, “but often the only work available in their new location is child care or retail sales,” she says. “That’s discouraging, and it disrupts that person from building a career in their field of choice.”
Coffin believes the growing awareness within Raytheon Technologies to issues faced by military spouses boosts the company’s partnership with the Department of Defense. “I’m confident by becoming more knowledgeable about the difficulties military spouses encounter, and more committed to addressing those difficulties, we’ll attract, retain and promote more military spouses,” she said. “That’s important, because the unemployment rate of military spouses is four times the national average.”
The good news, Coffin said, is that Raytheon Technologies offers an excellent environment for military spouses to pursue fulfilling employment.
“We are a large, modern company with numerous locations and work opportunities in a lot of different fields,” she said. “That’s appealing to the military spouses wanting not just to find a job, but to further their career. In addition, those workers can expect to interact daily with a wealth of co-workers who possess deep technical expertise they are willing to share.”
Times have changed considerably since Coffin was a military spouse fresh out of law school. Her husband is now a civilian and finding fulfilling work is no longer a challenge for her.
“That phase of my life has ended,” she said, “but I’m now a military mom with a son in the U.S. Marine Corps. I’m seeing first-hand that military-spouse employment challenges persist.
“My hope is that, by using our heads and hearts, Raytheon Technologies can meaningfully assist the recruitment, hiring and promotion of military spouses. It’s a great way to retain talent and foster respect for our troops.”