MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Labor, kicked off the Military Spouse Career Advancement Initiative in eight different states, Nov. 14.
“The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts project is a time-limited demonstration to find an effective way of helping military spouses get the training and education they need to have portable careers,” said Loretta Cornett-Huff, command education services officer, Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
A limited amount of funds have been designated to this pilot program and have been divided among installations in the designated states, which were selected based on military population.
The states include California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Washington and here.
Hawaii’s military educational offices have been given $2.45 million for the spouses of active-duty service members. The program is limited to the spouses of E-5’s and below and officers O-3 and below.
“This is the most exciting thing,” said Cornett-Huff. “I have wanted tuition support for spouses for some time now.”
In order for spouses to be eligible:
The service member sponsor must be assigned to a participating installation or reside in one of the designated states at the time of eligibility.The service member sponsor must have at least one year remaining in an installation that is participating in the program.They must have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma.They must not be receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance.
If spouses think they are eligible, they are encouraged to go to their local joint education center, or the employment assistance office, to start their application process.
“They just need to come by and challenge themselves to at least seek out their options,” Cornett-Huff said.
The program focuses on funding spouses’ education, training or certification in key areas of study. Career Advancement Accounts can be used to receive training or education in one of these fields:
Health Care, including jobs such as nurses, radiological technicians, dental hygienists or pharmacy technicians Education, such as teachers, child care workers or teacher’s assistantsFinancial Services, including claims adjusters, real estate sales agents, credit analysts, bookkeeping clerks or bank tellersInformation Technology, which includes computer support specialists, network analysts and database administratorsSkilled Trades, such as carpenters, electricians or plumbers
“These were determined by the Department of Labor to be the most portable career fields,” said Craig Lockwood, an educational service specialist, MCBH.
The purpose of helping spouses to find highly portable jobs is to ensure transitions and frequent moves, normal to a military career, will not cause as much instability or financial hardship within the family, according to Cornett-Huff.
According to Cornett-Huff, the program is a test on how best the departments of Defense and Labor can provide educational assistance to military spouses. It is also a chance to get feedback on how many spouses will participate, if the program was to continue.
“So far we have had 20-30 calls a day,” she added. “One woman told me that a spouse was running down the street telling everyone about it.”
Briefings will be held every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Building 220 Classroom G, at MCBH and ever Tuesday at the Joint Education Conference Room, here.
Spouses and service members are encouraged to attend these briefs to see if they are eligible and to get started with the program.
For more information contact the joint education offices at 477-0003 here or, 257-2158 at MCB