10. April 2008 15:59
People who spend time around military installations know that there is considerable concern about the availability of quality jobs for military spouses.
A military family's move from one duty-station to another means the end of a spouse's job and the disruption of any ongoing military spouse education.
Statistics bear this out, with military spouses suffering far greater unemployment than civilian spouses. And today, as the American economy continues to show weakness, aid for military spouses has become a real priority.
The federal government responded to this unacceptable situation by creating the Military Spouse Career Advancement Initiative. The initiative began in January and provides military spouses at 18 select installations with Career Advancement Accounts (CAA) - these accounts provide eligible military spouses with $3,000 they can spend on post-secondary education. The pilot is scheduled to continue for a second year when it will be evaluated for possible expansion to more installations. Spouses should understand that the funds are not student loans for military spouses, but grants that spouses do not need to pay back.
Learn more about Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts.
A recent article in North County Times reported that 250 spouses at Camp Pendleton in Southern California have applied for CAA funds, with Camp Pendleton having no limits on how many spouses can be awarded grants.
An education specialist at Camp Pendleton stressed to military spouses that for the pilot program to be expanded to more installations across the country, completion rates for those using CAA funds must be high.
Military spouses using CAA funds to pay for career education - particularly those with young children - should consider enrolling in an online school; military distance learning classes allow military spouses to study while staying home with their children.
Many military spouses cite the expense of childcare as a significant barrier to their career and educational goals. 100% online courses allow military spouses to study when and where it's convenient - like when a child is napping or asleep for the night.
Military spouses should contact their base Education Centerto learn if their installation is participating in the pilot program. Military spouses who are not eligible for CAA funds shouldn't fret, because many schools offer military spouse financial aid for school, so that spouses can access affordable training programs. When military spouses speak with an admissions representative at a school, they should be sure to ask if the school offers any military spouses benefits such as no charge training or discounts.