Tag Archives: employment

Advocacy on Capitol Hill: a military spouse’s perspective on speaking up for her own

Advocacy on Capitol Hill: a military spouse's perspective on speaking up for her ownFor more than 44 years our staff and volunteers, comprised mostly of military family members, have built a reputation for being the leading experts on military family issues. I had the pleasure of joining the Association’s Government Relations team last summer when my husband and I PCSed into the Washington D.C. area. As an active-duty military spouse, I have a vested interest in our unique population and hope to shed light on just one exciting facet of this position.

Currently, I am working with the offices of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Representative Matt Cartwright (D-17th/PA), and Representative Rob Wittman (R-1st/VA) to support legislation titled Military Spouse Job Continuity Act. This legislation provides a tax credit to a military spouse to offset the cost of a new state-required license after a government-ordered move. Not only do we support federal legislation, but we also work to support military spouse licensing on the state level. Our Association believes that state legislation can expedite the employment process and Congress can alleviate the financial burden with a tax credit.

Looking at my portfolio for the Association, I focus on quality of life issues that pertain to military spouse education, employment, credentialing, financial literacy, commissaries, exchange, relocation, housing, and military construction.

I truly enjoy working with different Congressional offices to discuss issues of importance to military families. The past several weeks have been very busy! I have had the unique pleasure of visiting Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional staff from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Our Association’s accomplishments have made us a trusted resource for families and the Nation’s leaders. I look forward to visiting and working with other Congressional offices to ensure that our military families are taken care of and help communicate the stories that we hear from military families that are located around the world.

Continue to follow our Association’s advocacy work on our website, here on our blog (subscribe at top right!), and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

ccPosted by Christine Gallagher, Government Relations Deputy Director at the National Military Family Association

Tips for PCSing with your professional license

Tips for PCSing with your professional licenseMilitary spouses move 14% more often than their civilian counterparts, making it difficult to maintain a career. As an active duty military spouse, I can certainly understand the challenges of frequently moving and finding a fulfilling career at a new duty station. The National Military Family Association hears from many military spouses who face career challenges, especially with professions that require a state license.  Although state licenses and certifications are in place to meet a certain level of competency, the difficulties that spouses face in obtaining these credentials often mean a delay in employment, additional out-of-pocket costs, lengthy background checks…the list goes on!

Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced renewed efforts to streamline state licensing requirements for returning veterans and mobile military spouses. To date, there are 28 states with legislation that assist military spouses with license portability, but there is still a long way to go. The National Military Family Association has provided several support letters urging states to pass this needed legislation.

Finding employment can positively affect not only a family’s financial situation, but also the professional development many spouses yearn for. Since PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season is right around the corner, here are a few tips and resources for military spouses who have a career that requires a license:

Visit our website for more information on Spouse Employment.

Are there any additional resources you would add to the list?

ccPosted by Christine Gallagher, Army Spouse and Government Relations Deputy Director at the National Military Family Association

Tips for using volunteer experience on your resume

Using volunteer experience on your resumeAs military spouses dealing with frequent moves to exciting and new locations, we’re often faced with potential gaps in our resumes. So, you ask yourself, what can I do to keep my expertise current, learn new skills, and add to my resume? The answer is easy. Fill your soul and your resume at the same time by volunteering!

The most important fact to remember is that experience gained through volunteering shouldn’t be put at the bottom of your resume under “Volunteer Positions.” When you volunteer, you are working. You have made a commitment of time, resources, and energy to complete a mission. Don’t short-change yourself, your accomplishments, your skills, or your time spent helping others.

Place your volunteer experience in with your “paid work” experience. If you are writing a skills-based resume, include the skills you learned or utilized while volunteering. If you volunteered with several organizations or projects, you may want to group and categorize them to keep your resume at an appropriate length.  Looking for a helpful guide? “Making Volunteerism Work for You” is a great resource.

One question I am asked regularly is, “What if I volunteered with an organization that my employer may disagree with? Should I include it on my resume?” My answer is that it is completely up to you. If you don’t feel comfortable including it, then don’t. You can still find a way to incorporate your skills without listing specific organizations. It’s all about what you are comfortable presenting as a reflection of you.

Remember, just because you didn’t collect a paycheck for your work doesn’t make it less valuable. The skills you learned or shared, and the impact your work had on a person, project, or organization are invaluable. Volunteering may fill your soul, but it also fills gaps in your resume.

Have you used volunteer experience to fill gaps or enhance your resume?

christinaPosted by Christina Jumper, Director of Volunteer Services at the National Military Family Association

Military spouses with professional licenses: we need your feedback to improve the process

Military spouses with professional licenses: we need  your feedbackWe all know it – between frequent moves, maintaining the household during a service member’s deployment, and providing strength and support to the entire family, military spouses make sacrifices every day. Their service to this country is invaluable and such an important part of the success of our military.

These sacrifices often include a spouse’s career. We often hear that many of you face career challenges due to frequent moves, especially with professions that require a license.

The National Military Family Association has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense State Liaison Office to address state licensing issues to ensure military spouses can pursue their careers regardless of the number of times they have to move. We were asked to reach out to see if state legislation has impacted your professional career in a positive way. If you have a story or experience to share, tell us the following information:

  • What is your spouse’s branch of Service?
  • What is your professional affiliation?
  • Have you applied for a license in your current state using new legislation? Which state?
  • Have you benefited from spouse licensing state legislation?
  • Was it a positive experience? If so, please tell us why!

We look forward to sharing your positive experiences with state legislators so more states can support military spouse career portability!

To obtain more information about state-specific licensing, review our 50 State Licensing Chart and see where your state stands.

Military spouse education: the costs, the options, and whether it’s right for you

military spouse educationThe same story is told throughout military communities and within military support systems—military spouses are hard pressed to find employment. PCS moves are frequent and jobs come and go. Luckily there is a way to help combat the unemployment woes. Education.

Not only will a higher education increase the chances of employment for military spouses, it will contribute to your family’s financial well-being. A study from CollegeBoard.org reports, “the typical bachelor’s degree recipient can expect to earn about 66% more during a 40-year working life than the typical high school graduate earns over the same period. Higher earnings are one of the important outcomes of higher education. Average earnings for adults increase with years of education and particularly with degree completion.” Higher education degrees are now more accessible to military spouses thanks to distance learning programs.

The education community has shifted in favor of military spouses. Many private and public universities offer reputable degree programs online, an attractive option for mobile military spouses. Distance learning can also be more flexible when it comes to your military family calendar. Find additional information on pursuing a degree in higher education in our website section on spouse education.

One necessary price I know of that comes with education is the cost of tuition. To alleviate the inevitable costs of higher education, military spouses have options. Visit your installation’s Family Center, Education Center, and the financial aid office at the school you wish to attend for more information on financial assistance. Various military associations, including the National Military Family Association and some military spouse clubs, offer scholarships for military spouses. If eligible, you can use a portion of your service member’s GI Bill or apply for government funding through MyCAA.

The National Military Family Association is made up of many military spouses like me, so we know firsthand the importance of military spouse education and the difficulties that come with achieving higher education due to moves and expenses. If you’ve been following us on our website or social media, you know our Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarships are awarded to spouses of all Uniformed Services members and applications are live online now. The application deadline is TOMORROW, January 31st – there is still time to apply here!

I truly believe an education outweighs the cost that comes with more schooling. As a military spouse, my education has broadened my career options and allowed me pursue opportunities that would not be available if I did not have a degree.

Are you starting or continuing your education? What challenges have you faced in doing so and what resources have worked for you?

alliePosted by Allie Jones, Military Spouse Scholarship Program Manager at the National Military Family Association

Job searching? Here’s what the Military Spouse Employment Partnership can do for you.

Job searching? Here's what the Military Spouse Employment Partnership can do for you.My husband and I have moved three times in the past four years. To be quite honest, no one knows what the military lifestyle has to offer unless you have lived it and understand the complexities of deployments, moving, the TRICARE system, finding new friends, a new job….the list goes on. Although it can be difficult learning how to navigate the military lifestyle, I am very proud of my soldier and his service to this great Nation.

I remember moving to Fort Campbell, Kentucky after obtaining a graduate degree in Corporate Communication. It was a culture shock. I was looking for “Corporate America” and in reality all I could see for miles were corn fields. I was lucky enough to find a career teaching in higher education where I continue to educate many veterans, spouses, and military kids as an adjunct instructor.

Two moves and two jobs later, I landed a full-time position working as a Deputy Director in the Government Relations department for the National Military Family Association, an enduring partner with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP). MSEP is a White House-sponsored Joining Forces initiative that is housed under the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program. This initiative seeks to ease the challenges of military life by helping spouses find and maintain rewarding careers despite frequent moves.

As a spouse who wants a rewarding career that matches my education and experience, it is an exhausting process to prepare for interviews, be offered a position, love it, leave it, and start all over again! Although I have never applied to a position through the MSEP web portal, I have learned a tremendous amount about the program. The Association works very closely with MSEP to ensure that military spouses have career opportunities no matter where they live. The MSEP initiative is truly outstanding and I hope all military spouses take advantage of the service offered.

There are many private sector employers and government organizations that are actively searching for military spouses to join their workforces. These organizations want the skills, knowledge, credentials, and attributes that military spouses have to offer. To learn more about MSEP, create a profile on MSEP’s web portal which hosts over 130 Fortune 500 military-friendly partner employers who have pledged to recruit, hire, promote, and retain military spouses. As of today, there are over 180,000 positions posted that are available to military spouses of all branches.

In addition, SECO has other key components that offer career counseling, resume writing, professional mentoring, and support services for education and state licensure. A compiled list of available resources is available in the Spouse Employment section of our website.

I hope you take advantage of these resources as navigating the military lifestyle can be a challenge. I would love to hear from you and learn about your personal experience with job searching. Are you a military spouse seeking a new job? Have you applied for a position using the MSEP website? What challenges have you encountered while job searching?

ccPosted by Christine Gallagher, Government Relations Deputy Director at the National Military Family Association

Military spouse scholarship: apply now!

Have you finally found the time (or energy) to head back to school, but aren’t sure how you will pay for it? Apply for a scholarship! Our Joanne Patton Holbrook Spouse Scholarship program application period is open now through January 31st. Spouses of all Uniformed Service members, including active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, wounded, and survivors, are eligible to apply. Scholarships can be used for many types of programs, be it finishing your GED, or completing those last few requirements for your master’s degree. Don’t let money be the thing that holds you back from pursuing your dream career!

Apply for a military spouse scholarship at www.militaryfamily.orgAstin Laferriere, the spouse of an Army National Guardsman stationed in North Carolina, was a recipient of our scholarship in 2012. Astin is a graduate of Tennessee State University and she recently obtained her Physical Therapy license. Way to go Astin!

Licensing scholarships were a focus of our program in 2012 because we recognize the challenges that military spouses face in obtaining and maintaining licensing or certification. Read about how we’re speaking out on this topic in Congress here.

In last year’s scholarship program, we were able to assist more than 60 spouses like Astin. Applications for the 2013 Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship program are available now!

Military spouses: what obstacles have you run in to while pursuing your education? What are your educational or employment goals?

maranathaPosted by Maranatha Bivens, Communications Editor at the
National Military Family Association