Monday, March 31, 2014

4 Free Career Programs for Military Spouses

I had the awesome chance to attend MOAA's Spouse Symposium in Alexandria, VA Wednesday last week. Maybe you saw my live tweeting and Instagramming! It was pretty epic, I've got to say. My live tweeting, of course! Just kidding. The symposium was amazing. (And that's a picture of me on the train, amped up, goofy, and ready to get to the conference.) 

Military spouses are notoriously underemployed, and it's easy to get discouraged. Heck, after just a month of being a military spouse, I felt discouraged about my career. I can't imagine what it must feel like after multiple moves and deployments. Increasingly, more agencies and businesses are trying to make it easier for military spouses to become employed and stay employed. There are so many obstacles for maintaining a successful career, but it can be done. 

The whole time I was at the symposium, I was trying to soak up as much information as I could to bring back to you! There are some truly fantastic programs out there-- it's time for you to get connected to them! 

This certificate program is offered by Syracuse University and underwritten by JP Morgan Chase & Co. It is online and it is free for post-9/11 separated or retired vets, military service members transitioning to the civilian workforce in 18 months, and spouses whose military members are active duty or eligible vets.  There are three tracks to choose from: Professional Skills, Tech, and Independent Study.  I'm very impressed by the offerings. They range from CCNA to business analysis to Microsoft Office fundamentals. Check it out, further your education, and make yourself more marketable... for free! 

Simply put, My Career Spark is a resume builder for military spouses. It's created and maintained by Hiring Our Heroes, Toyota, and Blue Star Families. You can build your resume, set and track career goals, read up on interview prep, and refine your job search. 

SECO stands for Spouse Education and Career Opportunities and is run through Military OneSource. This is a fantastic go-to source. There are tons of  resources-- articles, programs, and other links. You can also access MySECO, a personal career portal. SECO offers comprehensive career counseling and can help guide you through tricky problems like certification and licensing issues. They can also help with career coaching, child care referrals, transportation options, job application and resume assistance, and education counseling.

MSEP links Fortune 500 Plus companies that are committed to hiring military spouses. These companies specifically work to make sure that spouses can take their careers with them as they PCS, and if there aren't opportunities where they move, the companies will refer them to other partners in MSEP. (And for those of you interested in working remotely, there's a whole section devoted to those jobs.)  

If you ever have the chance to attend a MOAA Spouse Symposium, go. It's not only an incredible networking event, it's exceptionally informative. There honestly was not a moment of the symposium that I felt was wasted or that I felt could have been done better. Just all around awesomeness. 
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