When we talk about the unsung heroes of the military, we often forget about the largest military group: service members’ families. Thankfully the Department of Defense has not forgotten these people who sacrifice so much. So what are military spouses’ challenges and what is the DoD doing about it?
Unemployed or underemployed
Here are the stats: according to the Military Spouse Employment Report, 90% of military wives are underemployed and many are unemployed. In fact, 30% of female spouses ages 18-24 are unemployed compared to 11% of their civilian counterparts. Military wives 25-44 years old fare slightly better with an unemployment rate of 15%, yet their civilian counterparts have an unemployment rate of just 6%.
That’s not all. Military wives also earn a whopping 38% less than their civilian counterparts. It seems that even if military spouses have careers, their jobs are often not professionally or monetarily fulfilling. So what causes such discrepancies?
These unemployment trends could be attributed to the military lifestyle: frequent moves, inconsistent schedules, and unreliable childcare interfere with career training and many job opportunities. Additionally, bases are not always located near prime job markets, and many jobs may require a certain time commitment, an obligation many families cannot make.
Military spouses need more career support. Relocation assistance programs need to support job-seeking opportunities and childcare services. Initiatives that enhance the flexibility of military spouses during the work day—like extended childcare, flexible work hours, telecommuting, etc.—are also likely to enhance job prospects.
MYCAA to the rescue
MyCAA program says thank you to military families by helping fund military spouse education. MyCAA is a small effort by the DoD to provide career advancement and employment opportunities to military spouses. (Spouses of active duty service members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2 are eligible.)
Eligible candidates receive up to $4000 to pursue licenses, certificates, certifications, and associate degrees leading to gainful employment in high-growth, high-demand, and portable fields. Along with financial aid, recipients also have access to additional career resources. Many MyCAA-approved schools like Career Step even offer online training programs, so getting an education is easier than ever despite the challenges of a military lifestyle.
MyCAA is a small gesture of appreciation for your family’s many sacrifices. Being a military family is difficult, but achieving a military-friendly career doesn’t have to be. Take advantage of the MyCAA program and find the fulfilling career you have been looking for.