The Paradigm Switch (TPS) is a nonprofit organization, connecting military spouses with other career-oriented military spouses for motivation, mentorship, and community. The organization also connects spouses with career resources and offers skill-based scholarships for remote-friendly professions. It’s a place for spouses to speak up and refuse to put their career on hold. It’s a place for spouses to be recognized by their skills, experience, and ambitions, not by their service member’s rank.
We interviewed the Paradigm Switch Chief Operating Officer Lauren Grimshaw, to learn how she and her dynamic team are changing the way military spouses unleash their full potential and thrive in their careers. Lauren, a veteran and fellow military spouse, didn’t want to just complain about a problem, but instead took a founding role in TPS so she could help do something about it!
Daily Mom Military (DMM): How did The Paradigm Switch come to be?
Lauren Grimshaw (LG): The Paradigm Switch was originally founded in 2017 with the mission to award scholarships for skill-based programs to veterans and military spouses to address unemployment and underemployment.
However, as we dug in, we discovered a huge problem that we couldn’t ignore. There are over 45,000 organizations serving veterans and transitioning service members — and fewer than 35 serving spouses — yet military spouse unemployment is three to five times higher than veteran unemployment. Even worse, over 90 percent of employed female spouses in 2013 were underemployed with respect to their education and/or experience, and by 2016 most were still earning less than $20k.
Military spouses come from some of the most diversified and dynamic backgrounds in the world and possess incredible depth and breadth of experience. Unfortunately, their careers are often stunted by the realities of military life. There was no one-stop shop for military spouses seeking to unleash their full career potential, and that clearly needed to change. So, we decided to put military spouses first and relaunched The Paradigm Switch in May 2017 with the economic empowerment of military spouses as our complete focus.
Tell Us More
DMM: Who’s your target audience?
LG: The Paradigm Switch empowers military spouses to achieve their professional goals, whatever those may be. While we’re primarily devoted to offering options to spouses who want to pursue their careers, we know that’s not for every spouse or every family. Ultimately, we want to give spouses the resources and community they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
DMM: You’re a nonprofit. How does that work?
LG: Amazing partners, donors, grants to deliver scholarship opportunities and our digital community help keep us running. Plus, we rely on a team of volunteers.
DMM: Who runs the program?
LG: The Paradigm Switch is built by spouses, for spouses. We were founded by U.S. Navy veteran, military spouse, and community builder, Justine Evirs, and are operated by an all-volunteer team of veterans and spouses spanning five time zones and multiple continents.
So, What’s Next
DMM: What do you see for TPS’s future?
LG: Our digital community exploded with over 100 members in under a week and has more than tripled in size over the past two months! We are the only central connection point for career-minded spouses to link with each other and with the resources they need. There are amazing opportunities and specialized networks out there, but no one place that pulls it all together and makes it truly accessible to spouses. That’s where we are really going to make the difference!
DMM: If people are interested in getting involved in the team, what can they do?
LG: This is a movement, and it will only thrive if military spouses and their supporters work together! We need your help, talents, and passion. Please join and invite others into our digital community, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on contributing to our mission!
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Photo Credits: Unsplash | The Paradigm Switch
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