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A professional couple drinks coffee while looking at a laptop computer and talking.

A spouse or partner's employment situation is important to personal and professional adjustment for new faculty members.

Relocating support

Dual-career services offer job resources for spouses and partners of new faculty and staff

By Mary Everley

Brief, Aug. 8, 2007

They're here! New faculty and staff members are moving into their offices and gearing up for fall semester. They're also settling into new homes and lives. Because many academics are members of dual-career couples, their spouses and partners may need help finding a job. The good news is that the U's Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) can provide support for this often daunting and distracting task. The spouse or partner of any new faculty or staff member that has relocated to the Twin Cities within the past year is eligible for career services. Individuals may be referred through the primary hire's department or they may directly contact the RAP office. Whether the spouse or partner is seeking an academic or nonacademic position within the University or in the larger higher education or business communities, RAP will help them explore employment options. Following a vitae/resume review, connections are made to U departments and colleges, area institutions, companies, government units, schools, and other profit and nonprofit entities. RAP collaborates with the Academic and Corporate Relations Center, campus career offices, University alumni, and corporate human resources staff to identify potential places of employment. A spouse or partner may post his or her vitae/resume on RAP's community employers Web site for viewing by recruiting and hiring managers.

Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester

For new faculty and staff at UMD, spouse or partner employment assistance is available through the UMD Career Services office. Contact:
Julie Westlund, director
UMD Career Services

For spouse or partner employment assistance on the Crookston, Morris, and Rochester campuses, contact the RAP office at 612-626-0775 or 1-800-227-8636.

To jump-start the job search each fall, RAP sponsors a workshop, "Conducting a Job Search in the Twin Cities," designed to help newcomers identify potential places of employment, conduct informational interviews, and make contacts through networking. It is particularly valuable for people who are unfamiliar with hiring practices in the United States or who have never sought employment outside of established networks. The workshop also provides a comfortable place for spouses or partners to meet others in the job market, connect with area job clubs, share relocation stories and advice, and begin to establish social circles. For more information or to register, go to the workshop Web site. Through the Relocation Assistance Program, spouses or partners are also eligible to attend other career development workshops offered during the year by various campus units. Spouses and partners are encouraged to take advantage of contacts they may already have in place. For example, they should get in touch with the officers of the Minnesota chapter of their professional association, companies affiliated with their former employers, and their college's alumni living in the Twin Cities. Some accompanying spouses or partners may view the move to a new area as an opportune time to reevaluate their career directions. Career counseling is available to help them determine interests and learn about educational options. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers spouses or partners support in dealing with personal or family issues surrounding career transition and relocation. Find out more at EAP.

While this year's cohort of new faculty and staff is just arriving, plans for fall 2008 searches are already under way. Research on new faculty shows that personal as well as professional challenges affect early career success. Concern for a spouse's or partner's employment situation can carry over into the lab or classroom.

By mentioning RAP's dual career service to candidates early in the interview process, colleges and departments can bring up the topic of spouse/partner employment before it becomes a time-sensitive issue. As RAP demystifies the Twin Cities job market and helps to make important initial connections, it provides resources for an accompanying spouse or partner in finding a satisfying and rewarding position. Current faculty and staff can make the first connection by referring new employees to RAP.

For more information on RAP and spouse or partner employment, see the Relocation Assistance Program or e-mail

Mary Everley, Ph.D., is director of the Relocation Assistance Program through the Office of Human Resources, Twin Cities campus.