The Foreign Service Journal, November 2005

W ill I find a job? Will my partner be able to work? Will I be able to advance my career? Does the embassy find jobs for family members? Is there help with the job search when I return to Washington? Can only U.S.- citizen spouses work overseas? How can I work on the local economy? In short, what can the Family Liaison Office do for me? These are just some of the many questions FLO receives regarding family-member employment in the Foreign Service. The queries arise during the briefings FLO conducts for new Foreign Service class mem- bers and other groups; are submitted by Community Liaison Office Coor- dinators and Local Employment Advisers at posts; and come in through individual e-mails, telephone calls and visits from current FS personnel and family members. A recent AFSA survey found that 81 percent of respondents agreed that “AFSA should press for action to increase employment opportunities for family members overseas.” (Twenty- seven percent “strongly agree” and 54 percent agree.) Shawn Dorman’s arti- cle in the July-August Foreign Service Journal , “Family Member Employ- ment: At Work in the Mission,” also addresses the issue in depth. In the near future, the Family Liaison Office will conduct a world- wide survey of spouses asking these and other questions regarding their employment aspirations. In the meantime, with the active support of the director general’s office, FLO continues to advocate on behalf of Foreign Service family members and their employment concerns, and to provide client services covering a wide range of employment initiatives. Addressing local family-member employment issues is one of the eight areas of CLO responsibility. Com- munity Liaison Officers at 200 posts worldwide sit on post employment committees, present family-member employment concerns to post man- agement and provide client services focusing on employment. These ser- vices include workshops, dissemina- tion of information from FLO and, at posts where the Strategic Networking Assistance Program operates, coordi- nation with the Local Employment Adviser to assist individuals. The SNAP Contribution FLO’s SNAP pilot program started at Embassy Mexico City in 2001. Today, SNAP serves clients in 31 countries around the world, including three regional programs covering southern Africa and Central America. Seven countries have graduated from the pilot program and have now insti- tutionalized SNAP by funding Local Employment Adviser positions with International Cooperative Adminis- trative Support Services funds. In addition to creating a network of employment opportunities on the local economy, LEAs, often in con- junction with the CLO, offer pro- grams that address family members’ employment concerns in a variety of ways including career development seminars, discussion groups, and information on available training, business development and telework resources. The concept of SNAP was further expanded last year through FLO’s new Global Employment Strategy, de- signed to create a network of multina- tional corporations, NGOs, interna- tional organizations and consulting firms in the U.S. committed to hiring professional FS family members. The most far-reaching program created by this expansion of SNAP is the Depart- ment of State’s partnership with Manpower, a worldwide human re- sources recruitment and placement agency. Manpower’s most immediate benefit to FS spouses and Members of Household at all foreign affairs agen- cies is free access to thousands of online courses through Manpower’s Global Learning Center. This re- source, now available, gives family members the opportunity not only to brush up on old skills, but to learn and 22 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / N O V E M B E R 2 0 0 5 FLO Is Here to Help with Career-Employment Issues B Y D ONNA A YERST FS K NOW -H OW State’s Family Liaison Office advocates in many ways on behalf of FS family members and their employment concerns. w