Defense Department Pauses Spouse Employment Program
By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2010 The Defense Department has temporarily halted a popular employment assistance program for military spouses while it conducts a “top-to-bottom” review of its services, officials said today.
The My Spouse Career Advancement Account program, also known as MyCAA, offers military spouses opportunities to pursue portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations such as education and health care.
“We recognize that the military lifestyle calls for portable careers, and that military spouses need access to education and training for careers that are portable and high-growth nationally,” said Tommy T. Thomas, deputy under secretary of defense for the Pentagon’s office of military community and family policy. “This short-term break will allow us to better assess the program to ensure we are achieving that goal.”
Officials said they will use the time to review procedures, financial assistance documents and the program in general. The review was prompted by a need to ensure the program is meeting its intent, which is to provide spouses with additional opportunities for portable careers.
Military spouses who already have been approved for financial assistance won’t be affected, and spouses who have an account can continue to use the Web site for career counseling and planning, officials said. However, during this review time, spouses won’t be able to create a new account and new applications won’t be accepted.
The review will be conducted as quickly as possible, officials said, while still ensuring a comprehensive look at the program.
Nearly 133,000 military spouses have applied for the program since it launched last March, officials said. To date, about 98,000 spouses are enrolled in courses or have been approved for financial assistance.
The program offers spouses assistance with training, job readiness and employment and career services. Through the program, spouses can receive financial assistance to pursue education and training, free career counseling and access to military-friendly employers.
During the review process, officials encourage spouses to explore other government options such as the transfer of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other programs available on installation and program Web sites. Spouses also can visit Military OneSource, http://www.militaryonesource.com, for free consultations on education and training, career exploration, assessment, employment readiness and career-search assistance.