A U.S. European Command job hiring pilot program tested on spouses in Europe will now be used Armywide, according to U.S. Army Europe officials.

The Military Spouse Preference Choice initiative will become the plan family members use worldwide when vying for jobs on Army installations.

The new program will take spouses’ names out of databases for automatic job filling and allow them to accept or decline temporary positions without losing their military spouse preference, according to Patricia Rothrock, a human resources specialist in Seckenheim, Germany.

During a telephone interview Friday, Rothrock said that previously in the States and elsewhere, when applicants seeking work were listed as “qualified” for a position and offered the job, they had to either accept it or lose their spouse preference for hiring all together.

Donna Best, a human resources specialist, created the pilot program 2½ years ago during an Army Family Action Plan meeting, Rothrock said.

She said it was created to help spouses continue to work in intermittent jobs while waiting for a permanent position to open. The idea was then instituted at the Civilian Personnel Operations Center for USAREUR as a pilot program, she said.

According to a USAREUR release, under the new program military spouses can use their spouse preference to accept or decline temporary jobs until they get a permanent position, also known as a “continuing position.”

The release said spouses could work in these temporary, or non-continuing positions, and then use their hiring preference to get a new job beginning 60 days before the temporary job expires.

Military spouses who have lost their preference because of accepting or denying a temporary position will have their preference reinstated, but only if the spouse meets all other applicable requirements for military spouse preference, according to the USAREUR statement.

“Now spouses have a choice,” Rothrock said. “If something temporary comes up that they’re qualified for, but they don’t really like the position or where it’s at, they can decline the job without losing their spouse preference for future job offers.”

However, the USAREUR release said, military spouses who previously accepted or declined a permanent position would not have their preference reinstated.

“Spouses are going to be interested to know that the way we do business here is the way the rest of the world will be doing it,” Rothrock said.

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