Military spouses now have more flexibility to use the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship to pursue education and professional credentials.
The FY20 National Defense Authorization Act expands the program to help pay tuition up to $4,000 for a license, certification or associate degree to pursue any occupation or career. As long as the military spouse, school and a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach work together to define a clear career path, called an education and training plan, the funds can be applied. Previously, MyCAA could only be used toward 13 defined fields and 170 careers.
''These expansions are part of a comprehensive suite of services that connect military spouses to education and employment opportunities, as well as support throughout relocations, deployments and the transitions inherent to military life,'' said Mr. Joseph D. Ludovici, principal director for military community and family policy.
The Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program offers the MyCAA Scholarship program. Spouses of service members in pay grades E-1 through E-5, W-1 through W-2 and O-1 through O-2 are eligible. Under the new law, spouses will remain eligible for the financial assistance if their sponsor is promoted above the eligible ranks as long as they have initiated the process and have an approved education and training plan in place.
''MyCAA provides crucial tuition assistance to support spouses in identifying a career path in which they can grow and advance,'' said Lee Kelley, director of Military Community Support Programs.
Military families move frequently, with as many as one-third of service members moving every year. These moves can make it difficult for military spouses to find work and advance in a career of their choice. MyCAA, and the corresponding support available through the SECO program, are all free resources provided by the Department of Defense to empower military spouses in overcoming employment challenges associated with military moves. SECO career coaches work with each MyCAA spouse to help them define their education and professional goals and decide how best to apply the scholarship funds to support those goals.
A RAND study of the program showed that MyCAA is associated with positive changes in military spouse employment and increased earnings. The same study showed that service members whose spouses use MyCAA were more likely to stay in service.
The best way to get started is to call Military One Source at 800-342-9647 to connect with a SECO career coach.
See a list of participating MyCAA schools and detailed information about the scholarship at https://mycaa.militaryonesource.mil/mycaa.
The Defense Department established the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program to provide education and career guidance to military spouses worldwide, offering free comprehensive resources and tools related to career exploration, education,
training and licensing, employment readiness, and career connections. This program also offers free career coaching services six days a week.
Military OneSource is a DOD-funded program that is both a call center and a website providing comprehensive information, resources and assistance on every aspect of military life. Service members and the families of active duty, National Guard and reserve (regardless of activation status), Coast Guard members when activated for the Navy, DOD expeditionary civilians, and survivors are eligible for Military OneSource services, which are available worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the user.