There is nothing more exciting than finding out where your next assignment will be. A million questions run through your mind including; where will we live? What will life be like for us? If you have kids, how are the schools and the neighborhoods? But one of the questions that weigh heavily on military spouses is will I be able to work at our new location?
The buzzword in the community is job portability. Do you have an occupation or skill that is portable and can be easily be transferred to each new location? Many military spouses, including myself, are confused on how we can maintain our career and skill sets while being married to the military.
Moving every two to four years can be a turn off to some employers. Location is everything for some occupations. Promotions are few, if not nonexistent. Timing of job openings is really nothing more than luck and going to back to school for training in a new career is expensive, especially when you don’t have that second income of a job coming in.
The Department of Defense (DoD) cited the challenges of military spouses in their 2008 Report on Military Spouse Education and Employment. “Two major issues face the military family/spouse that must frequently relocate: managing the education of their children and trying to sustain a career while their military sponsor is in the service of his/her country.”
According to the DoD report and others like it, the military spouse is paid on average $3 per hour less than her/his civilian look-alike. Spouses also tend to be under employed, which means they agree to be hired into a position for which they are over qualified. The statistics also show that most spouses are searching for a higher education or new training.
Over the years, the DoD has tried to address the unemployment and under employment of the military spouses. There are new programs and funding assistance that can ease the process of finding that right portable career for you.
MyCAA – Military Spouse Career Advancement Account is a program designed to help military spouses find and fund the search for the portable career. The program was wildly popular when it was first released and quickly ran out of funding. However, they have recently reopened it with revised guidelines.