Spouse Employment Effort Pays Off
By Debbie Gregory.
While there has been a heavy emphasis placed on bringing down the unemployment rate and increasing post-9/11 veteran jobs, less attention has been paid to military spouse jobs. Military spouses often have trouble finding jobs due to frequent moves. In many cases, military spouses move from one community to another when their spouses are assigned to new duty stations. These transfers can make it very difficult for spouses to continue with their careers or to find similar jobs in new locations.
However, over the last several months, private companies have made substantial progress in creating military spouse jobs, hitting the goal of 50,000 hires, well ahead of the 2015 deadline.
An announcement was made at a recent meeting of the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council marking the success for a program that was launched in 2011. Jessica Wright, acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, told those in attendance that the 180 employers who are part of a partnership with the Pentagon have hired 28,000 spouses since November.
In addition, First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden began the “Joining Forces” initiative. Joining Forces, a partnership with private companies, is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
With this type of awareness, many federal and private sector initiatives have been developed over the past few years. These initiatives can impact a military spouse’s ability to start and maintain a career, while still being “married to the military.”
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides financial assistance to military spouses seeking to gain the skills and credentials necessary to develop careers that can move with through frequent relocations and deployments. MyCAA covers the costs of training and education, enabling participants to earn a degree or credential in an in-demand, portable field, in almost any community across the country. The program can be used to pay up to $4,000 in financial assistance, depending on eligibility.
Portable career training and experience allows a military spouse to obtain full time or part time work wherever their husbands are stationed. The life of a military wife is in constant change, and career portability is paramount. MYCAA provides financial assistance to seek a college degree, license, or certification that leads to employment in a viable career.
The Defense Department is committed to helping military spouses find jobs, and offers resources for education, training and networking. Enhancing spouse stability and military family quality of life also aids retention.