By Valerie Woods, Presidio of Monterey Army Community Service
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. Aca,!" Help could be available for military spouses in the Monterey area seeking jobs or training.
While the Presidio of Monterey is challenged with continued budget reductions throughout the Army, the Army Family Covenant has meant continued top-level support and funding for the Family Employment Readiness Program.
The Family Employment Readiness ProgramAca,!a,,cs mission is to assist participants to achieve their career goals.
Although jobs listings are available at all installations, the primary goal of the program is not necessarily immediate job placement, rather, the Family Employment Readiness Program is designed to do six things.
First, the program enables spouses to relocate more readily with their military sponsors.
Then, it provides information on employment, education and volunteer opportunities.
Next, it assists participants in planning careers that are compatible with the mobile military lifestyle.
It also teaches participants how to develop and use job search skills and strategies.
Additionally, it connects spouses with employers, business, professional and support networks.
Finally, it assists participants in finding employment opportunities that meet their needs.
At the Presidio the majority of family members seeking the Employment Readiness ManagerAca,!a,,cs assistance are looking for either Aca,!A"just something for the time beingAca,!A? or a job in the federal government. Rarely are they pursuing a major career position, primarily because they wonAca,!a,,ct actually be here long enough to become established in either the position or a career.
With the economy where it is today, there are fewer opportunities even for the most educated people. For example, spouses with teaching credentials are unable even to obtain jobs as substitute teachers, because all the local teachers who got laid off have priority for those positions. Additionally, even licensed nurses are having a very difficult time getting placed.
For just about all the PresidioAca,!a,,cs family members, there is a new initiative, Executive Order 13473, Aca,!A"Noncompetitive Appointing Authority for Certain Military Spouses.Aca,!A?
EO 13743 establishes a hiring authority that permits a noncompetitive appointment to permanent, term or temporary positions for certain military spouses into the competitive service.
The purpose of the authority is to assist military spouses obtain federal civil service positions. Its intent is to minimize disruption when military families move due to permanent relocations. There is a limit of one appointment per permanent change of station.
Also newly available is a program sponsored by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy called Aca,!A"Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts,Aca,!A? also known as MyCAA.
The program offers up to $6,000 to military spouses who are interested in pursuing degree programs, licenses or credentials leading to careers in high-growth, high-demand, portable career fields.
The program pays for expenses such as post-secondary education and training, tuition, licensing and credentialing fees.
The Department of Defense announced March 11 the resumption of the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account program. Beginning March 13 at 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the 136,583 military spouses who are currently enrolled in the program will once again be able to receive tuition assistance, according to a DOD press release dated March 11.
Aca,!A"We made a commitment to our military spouses when they established a career advancement account and we will be true to our promises,Aca,!A? said Tommy Thomas, deputy under secretary of defense, military community and family policy, in the release.
The first phase of the reinstated program will enable the department to continue to pay up to $6,000 in tuition assistance for spouses currently enrolled. The release said that the department is working hard to adjust and meet the demands of the program and develop a long-term solution for spouses not yet enrolled who would like to establish an account.
The program was launched March 2, 2009, to assist military spouses in attaining portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations. An unexpected spike in enrollment prompted the Defense Department to pause the program on Feb. 16, the release explained. A thorough review began immediately to assure the program was accomplishing its intended goals.
Aca,!A"When we determined that an operational pause in the program was critically needed, we failed to notify our spouses in a timely and appropriate manner,Aca,!A? said Thomas. Aca,!A"As a result of our failure, we know we will have to work hard to restore their faith in us. We are committed to earning that trust through improved communication and by delivering services.Aca,!A?
The Defense Department is currently developing options for the long-term management of the program and expect to be able to announce the details soon, also according to the release, adding that until new accounts can be created, Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Consultants will continue to be available to provide education and training, career exploration, assessment, employment readiness and career search assistance.
To establish a MyCAA account, visit https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa.