Women’s Equality Day: Increasing Employee Equity Through Hiring Our Heroes Fellowship Program

Suzanne Hamberger
Suzanne Hamberger

Sales and Marketing

Today Clincierge celebrates Women’s Equality Day. In 1971, Congress designated August 26th as Women’s Equality Day to remind us of the past, present, and future struggles women face in their stride toward equality.

At Clincierge, we foster a corporate culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Clincierge leadership continually evaluates and strives to improve the level of staff diversity through equitable and inclusive hiring practices. Currently, women comprise 68% of our organization.

New Hiring Initiative Aimed at Increasing Diversity

Earlier this spring, Clincierge announced our fellowship with the Hiring our Heroes (HOH) organization. Founded in 2011, HOH connects United States (US) military service personnel, veterans, spouses, and caregivers to employers across the country.

Military personnel and veterans can successfully transition to civilian positions upon their separation from or retirement from their service upon completing a 12-week fellowship program. The education and skills acquired during their military service are matched with employment opportunities available through the program.

Military spouses participate in a 6-week fellowship program pairing them with employers who will utilize their talents, again resulting in an employment offer upon successfully completing the program. However, transitioning to full-time employment is often much more difficult for military spouses.

Increasing Rates of Unemployment for Military Spouses

A 2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey found that 20% of military spouses were unemployed and actively seeking a job. In comparison, at the time of the study, the national unemployment rate in the US was just 6%.

The survey also revealed the following statistics:

  • Unemployment is the most significant stressor for service members and their spouses
  • 43% of active-duty military families said spousal unemployment is a major issue

Barriers to Employment for Military Spouses

There are several challenges military spouses face when trying to secure employment. Career military life often includes various deployments for short periods and can involve cross-country moves or relocations worldwide.

Of the military spouses surveyed, 50% reported they would be searching for a new job within the next year, with a third of those citing relocation as the main reason for the need for a new position.

Another factor deterring employment involves childcare options. Twenty-four percent of respondents cited the lack of availability of reliable care, with many complaining of long wait times for their child(ren) to be accepted at childcare facilities in their new city. One-third of spouses reported the high expense of childcare as the main reason they are not in the workforce.

Launching the Fellowship with Hiring Our Heroes

Valerie Cloutier has been the Legal Assistant in our Compliance Department since 2021 and first presented the idea of a partnership between Clincierge and Hiring Our Heroes. As a military spouse, she understands the many challenges associated with frequent relocations and how these moves affect long-term employment opportunities. She explains how the HOH Fellowship Program is mutually beneficial for the company and the employee:

Valerie Cloutier Hiring Our Heroes
Valerie Cloutier

“As a military spouse of 20 years, I know firsthand the challenges of moving every two to three years and finding new employment each time while setting up your family in a new city.

The Hiring Our Heroes Program is so important because it offers transitioning service members and military spouses real-life world experience, mentorship, and the opportunity to show their worth. Many of these individuals may have been overlooked for similar positions in the past.

Employers who partner with HOH also benefit, as they gain access to high caliber applicants with specialized qualifications and experience beyond typical job applicants.”

Welcoming our Newest Hiring Our Heroes Fellow

The newest HOH fellow at Clincierge is Judy Gavidia, wife of a career helicopter pilot in the US Navy. Judy comes to Clincierge from San Diego, California, and started in June 2022. Upon completion of her six-week fellowship in August, Judy officially joined Clincierge as the Sales and Marketing Executive Assistant. Below, Judy shares why she chose to join Clincierge.

Judy Gavidia Hiring our Heroes
Judy Gavidia

“During the six weeks of the fellowship, I learned a lot about Clincierge, employee roles, and company goals. Clincierge has been very kind in ensuring I learn the necessary processes as a new employee, which is very important and something many companies overlook. I admire Clincierge for encouraging their employees to learn and grow.”

Sharing the Challenges of Military Relocations

Sandra Stevens began her HOH fellowship with Clincierge in May of 2022, officially joining the company in July. Sandra has been a military spouse on the move, living in six different cities in two countries over the past 13 years.

Sandra Stevens
Sandra Stevens

“The biggest challenges I faced came from frequent relocations to other states or even countries. Orders to relocate can come with as little as a few weeks’ notice, and you need to be ready to pick up and go. Because most military bases are located in rural areas, finding new employment can become challenging. In addition to leaving a job you enjoyed and the co-workers who became your friends, you also leave a support system that you built along with the familiarity of your area.

An additional example of hardships my friends have faced is that many medical jobs have state license requirements for which you need to recertify every time you move. At times, you will have to establish a new house, set up local utilities, and find schools in the new area yourself, because your spouse will have to leave as soon as you get to the new location. It’s a lot to handle on your own in a new place.”  

Insights From a Career Military Spouse

Our newest employee in the Compliance Department is Special Project Coordinator Shari Jackowski, who joined Clincierge in June of 2022. Shari did not come to Clincierge through the HOH program, but she is a military spouse who truly understands the many difficulties of military life.

Shari Jackowski

“The biggest challenge as a career military spouse is the constant moving. Certification requirements change at each location. Education requirements also vary, making it difficult to earn certifications/degrees. The hiring process can take many months, and often you are only stationed somewhere for 6 to 10 months for military training or short assignments. Some spouses opt to stay in one location longer while their spouse moves so they can finish their education or a specific job. This scenario comes with its own challenges as many become single parents for a time, as well as the cost of two households, and subsequently, a lot of travel costs. We must always weigh the mental, financial, and physical aspects of this decision “just for a job.”  As a result, many of us do things like substitute teaching, working at a daycare, or volunteering to utilize our skills on a more temporary basis. While I’ve personally volunteered and worked in many capacities, I look forward to learning and growing with one organization for a good amount of time, as well as to diving deeper into one field of knowledge.”

Remote-First Organizations Enable Equitable Opportunities

As a patient support services company, Clincierge understands the many challenges associated with relocating clinical trial patients and their families within the US and worldwide. This knowledge translates to compassion towards the many difficulties US military service personnel, veterans, spouses, and caregivers face through relocation and acclimation to life in new places.

Clincierge is a remote-first company, allowing flexible work-from-home schedules for all employees. This business model accommodates many of the challenges facing military spouses, as they can continue to work from various locations and around their family and military commitments. Also, this flexibility allows them to retain their position when they receive a new assignment, and a relocation occurs.

Clincierge is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a 28-year history and prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive employer. We are an LGBTQ-owned business and an active member of the Independence Business Alliance, the Greater Philadelphia area’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. In addition, our CEO Scott Gray chairs our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.

Women's Equality Day in Action

At Clincierge, we work daily to increase equality among our employees as we live out our support of equity and inclusion for all within our company. Our strategic hiring practices continue to increase the number of women and minorities on our staff.

These intentional practices produce positive results, as women comprise 50% of our senior leadership and 68% of our overall team. We look forward to securing additional mutually-beneficial partnerships in the future to ensure equality remains a pillar of our company.

Ready to join an organization empowering women?

Voice of the Patient Research

View the results of our recent research to explore how effective patient support strategies can reduce barriers, increase retention, and improve outcomes in rare disease clinical trials in our latest eBook.

Voice of the patient