With the active duty service members mobile career taking prominence in the military family, it is difficult for the non-military spouse to gain and maintain a career. Mobile careers are not common and are often seen as unicorn jobs. Gaining experience and educational opportunities also become expensive, especially if spouses have to change job types with each move due to the availability of job opportunities, childcare, and the military schedule. The higher-than-average unemployment rate among military spouses, in addition to a wage gap among those who are working, has led to the development of these resources for military families to utilize.
My CAA is My Career Advancement Account. This scholarship is $4,000 of tuition assistance to spouses of active duty service members in the paygrade of E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2. Spouses additionally must have completed high school to apply for tuition assistance. There are restrictions on what tuition assistance can be used for. It does not cover tuition assistance, preparatory courses, general studies, transportation, childcare, lodging, study abroad programs, or high school programs. In addition, assistance cannot be used for books, supplies, equipment, or past courses. This tuition is also extended to spouses of active reserve and National Guard members. Looking to become a yoga instructor, masseuse, or work in cosmetics, this tuition assistance can help. Check out which courses and schools are covered here, and apply if desired.
Military One Source Spouse and Education Career Opportunities
The Spouse and Education Career Opportunities services are for military spouses of active duty, National Guard and Reserve military members, spouses of military members who separated from military service in less than 365 days, and surviving military spouses who died while on active duty service. The Military Spouse Employment partnership offers a job search engine with jobs from companies looking to hire military family members. These are often telework positions in addition to traditional work.
Not sure where to start, or what to do for work? Take the career assessment here.
Part of SECO is the Spouse Ambassador Network Organizations, a list of organizations associated with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. These organizations are dedicated to being aware of military spouse education and employment resources, in addition, to recruiting, hiring, promote and retain military spouses.
Blue Star Families
The Blue Star Families network providers a range of tools and networks for military spouses. The Blue Star Families toolkit offers resume tips including translation tips on how to phrase duties performed while doing volunteering, ombudsman, or family readiness in addition to life skills.
Networking is often a variable of difficulty for military spouses. Networks are often built over time while living in an area, but with frequent moving that network is evermoving. Blue Star Networks has created groups for military spouse professionals. There are online networks for teachers, counselors, social workers, and educators in Blue Star Educators. Health care workers and professionals can network within the Blue Star Health Care Professionals. Those spouses who own their own business or work as independent contractors are able to network in Blue Star Entrepreneurs. Technology-skilled spouses are invited to check out the Blue Star Tech network.
Salesforce is a software as a service technology business. Military spouses in addition to active duty, reserve, guard and veterans are offered tech training curriculum, fellowships and interviews. The first step is registering and then taking the first course which can be completed at your own pace and then take the exam cost-free. Interviews can be set up for a position with a tech company. In fact there are over 500 companies that partner with Salesforce that have agreed to interviews with Salesforce graduates. There is no limit to the number of courses or certificates that can be completed and earned. There is also a partnership between Hiring Our Heroes and Salesforce for a 12-week fellowship program developing and nurturing the skills needed for the tech realm.
Hiring Our Heroes
Hiring Our Heroes offers hiring events, fellowship programs, education, and networking. The Career Forward program is a free program that offers Google Career certificates to all, even without prior education or experience in the technology world or field. Google Career Certifcates are offered in Data Analytics, IT Support, Project Management, and User Experience (UX) Design. The certificate program is flexible and can be easily completed part-time (about 8-10 hours a week) over three to six months. After the certificate is earned, there are interview preparation and career workshops prior to interviews with potential employers. You can even participate in the program while living overseas if you plan to return to the United States within one year and after returning to the states can apply for the fellowship program.
Networking for military spouses is also linked in their Facebook group of Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network. The AMPLIFY program offers a two-day career intensive prep program for a small group to allow for one-on-one attention. The 2022 programs will be a mix of virtual and in-person based on region, including overseas in Germany, England, and Okinawa. Check out locations here.
Military Spouse Advocacy Network
The nonprofit provides a virtual education and resource center, military spouse mentorship program, and military spouse leadership development program which offers peer-to-peer mentorship. Virtual training of all types are available for review.
LinkedIn offers one free year of LinkedIn Premium for military spouses and veterans to help with the job search.
ACP was developed to ease the transition from active duty to civilian life for military veterans. Active Duty Spouses can apply to be linked with a mentor for a year-long relationship with at least once a month connection to help develop career exploration, development, and networking as part of their mentoring program.
National Military Family Association
The NMFA organization was created by military spouses who wanted to create a network of support for each other. The program has grown over the years to include many programs. The NMFA offers scholarships to cover the costs of earning degrees, professional licenses, and certifications including re-licensure, business, and entrepreneurial expenses, continuing education, and supervised clinical hours. Eligibility is open to spouses of the active-duty service member, retirees, 100% disabled veterans, guardsmen, reservists, fallen service members, or a 20/20/20 spouse and hold an eligible and valid military/uniformed services ID. Applicants can currently apply once a year.
MilSpouseFest is a virtual and in-person event all over the United States. In addition to events, MilSpouseFest has grown into a large online community providing resources and spouse content for the modern military spouse who has lived through multiple military moves, deployment, and building community along the way.
This platform allows service members, veterans, and military spouses to select mentors to assist with shaping the job and career desired. Job hunting time after time, move after move requires effort and the mentorship platform makes that effort a little bit easier.
The Rosie Network
The Rosie Network has a mission to build strong military families through developing entrepreneurial programming and support services. One program is the Service2CEO Program where free training is provided to small businesses through virtual programs, one-on-one mentoring, and peer-to-peer support. This service is provided fee-free.
Armed Forces Branch Organizations
The Marine Corps Community Services has the Family Member Employment Assistance Program which assists military family members with networking, resume creation, career development, salary negotiations, and hiring events. Each Marine Corps base has its own MCCS offering workshops and classes.
Fleet and Family Services offers to program for military families living on their bases with career services, resume assistance, and classes. Look at the calendar for your base Fleet and Family Service Center to see what is offered.
Army Community Services offers to program to military service members, civilian employees, and families who are assigned to their post through their Employment Readiness Program (ERP) offering coaching skills, classes, job fairs, networking, and resume assistance. Check your post’s MWR for more information about your location.
Air Force Family Support Programs (AFAS) runs the spouse employment program offering training to military family members with tuition, fees, and coordination of classes at local community colleges. Check out your local Airman and Family Readiness Center to learn what is on offer.
Coast Guard bases offer programming through Fleet and Family Support Program (FFSP) through family employment programming offering spouse licensure reimbursement, classes about the Military Spouse Preference Program, volunteer opportunities, and federal employment.
There are difficulties and challenges with career maintenance and advancement for military spouses. There are many organizations available and ready – look them up, get plugged in and see where your journey takes you! Have you used any of these organizations – tell us about your experience!