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Defense officials are launching a pilot program in the fall that will help military spouses put together portfolios of education and work experience for possible college credit.
It’s part of the Defense Department’s continuing effort to improve education and career opportunities for spouses, who face issues with maintaining careers through multiple moves with their service members.
The program will help spouses get college credits that can serve as transfer credits to a college or university. These credits “can really help expedite things and save money,” said Lee McMahon, acting program manager for DoD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, in an Aug. 18 briefing to DoD’s Military Family Readiness Council.
Defense officials wanted to provide a resource for spouses who are not eligible for the My Career Advancement Accounts program, McMahon said.
MyCAA provides financial assistance to spouses of service members in paygrades E1 to E5, O1, O2, W1 and W2 for up to $4,000 in costs for education, training, licenses and credentialing related to a portable career. But spouses who use MyCAA also are eligible for this pilot program.
The pilot is in partnership with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. The list of colleges and universities that will accept those credits is proprietary to the council and will not be available online, McMahon said.
However, spouses will have access to that list through SECO career counselors, she said, so the first step is to contact a counselor through Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Counselors will explain the requirements, and look at the list of educational institutions to ensure spouses are not wasting their time, McMahon said.
In 2013, more than 144,000 military spouses received career assistance through these counselors.
McMahon said those who have success with prior learning assessments for credit typically have 10 years of work or volunteer experience, in addition to being comfortable with college-level writing.
In another step to increase employment opportunities, an additional 30 to 40 employer partners are expected to sign agreements later this year to become part of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, McMahon said.
About 240 employers are MSEP partners, agreeing to increase employment, provide career promotion opportunities and ensure pay equity for military spouses. Information about job postings for military spouses is available at https://msepjobs.militaryonesource.mil.
More than 62,000 military spouses have been hired through MSEP since it was launched in June 2011; and more than 2.3 million jobs have been posted.