You’ve taken the plunge, tied the knot, attached the old ball and chain; whichever way you phrase it, you’ve gotten married. However, your marriage includes one extra member; a branch of the United States armed services. Along with the traditional vows of “love, honor and cherish” comes the unspoken agreement of “moving at least every three years” and “the possibility of being a single parent when your spouse is deployed in a war zone.”But the unasked question often should be “What about my career?”
According to the Office of Military and Community Family Policy at the Pentagon, as of the end of 2011 the unemployment rate for military spouses is at 26%. In response to this, the Department of Defense has developed the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Program (MyCAA), tailored to the needs of those spouses who may need an extra boost in career development and employment assistance. It is designed to help spouses gain education and/or licensing in occupational fields that are more easily transportable from duty station to duty station.
This program is limited to spouses of those service members in the initial grades (E1-5, W1-2, and O1-2). It pays up to $2000 per year (up to two years) for education and training programs that will lead to an Associates Degree (no General Studies or Liberal Arts-it must be in a specific field) or a professional license (real estate, cosmetology, etc.).
The program also offers assistance with career exploration, resume writing, interviewing techniques, and much more. In partnership with local programs such as One Stops, MyCAA is able to help spouses explore career opportunities and improve job search skills with the overall goal of decreasing military spousal unemployment.
As a “Devil Pup,” (daughter of a retired U.S. Marine), I’ve often heard the adage “The only thing tougher than a United States Marine is his wife.” Dated? Yes. (Dad retired in the 1970’s.) True? Most definitely. Military spouses have an additional set of issues unique to their situation that most married couples never have to encounter. With the help of MyCAA, the armed services are looking to alleviate at least one of these issues; take advantage of it.