I am a greedy little woman. It isn’t enough that I am in love with a sailor who also folds laundry. It isn’t enough that I have three kids who brush their teeth every day (OK, the ten year old ain’t so good on the teeth thing, but we’re working on that). I want more.
I want an education.
I want meaningful work.
I want to be paid.
See, I told you I was greedy. But I know a lot of military spouses who are every bit as “greedy” as I am—if that is what you want to call it. Military spouses do want it all—maybe not all at the same time, but we do want it all eventually.
That is why I am psyched for the panel that I am moderating for the Spouse Summit being held Saturday, March 3 in Washington, DC. I get to interview experts about all the hottest issues that affect military spouse employment and spouse education. But what the experts think is hot and what you readers think is hot might be two different things. So see if I am on the right track here:
Do you have age-specific advice?
Advice for new spouse jobseekers without children is necessarily different than advice for the spouses of career military whose children are back in school. Since every military spouse has his or her own constellation of family demands, professional skills, geographic boundaries and personal ambition, how do we figure out what works now?
How do you get a 4 year degree?
I still dream about the old version of the MyCAA program. It allowed spouses married to military members of any rank a total of about $6000 to seek training in transferrable job skills. This included money toward a four-year college degree or a Masters degree. We spouses liked the program so much we signed up in droves—and crashed the program. I want MyCAA back because it was the right program. What do we have to do to convince Washington that spouses are capable of much much more?
What are our MSEP strategies?
Although there are quite a lot of partners in the new MSEP program, I keep hearing that there aren't jobs specifically aimed at spouses with transferrable skills—yet. The program is still growing. What is the best way to use that program and its military spouse job fairs right now?
So that is my idea of “hot.” Which is not nearly as complete as it should be. What is the most important military spouse career topic for you? Do you care about the new licensing agreement? Is working for yourself a better option for military spouses? Do you have time to pursue education now or are programs needed in the future? And most importantly, do you really think military spouses can have it all or are we kidding ourselves?
Navy wife Jacey Eckhart is Editor of SpouseBuzz and author of I Married a Spartan?? The Care and Feeding of Your Military Marriage.