Many military spouses who maintain a career often sacrifice high-paying jobs to follow their active duty sailor or soldier every time they a relocated, which can happen as often as every six months to two years. Military husbands and wives find it difficult, if not impossible, to train for a new career in high-demand, easily-transferable fields, due to the cost of education, tuition, books, and child care. Many military spouses just give up, accepting the fact that they will not have a career of their own until after their spouse retires from active duty.
However, help is now available in the form of financial grants for military spouses. The Military Spouse Career Advancement Initiative is designed for spouses who move frequently and meet income requirements. The grants are backed by $35 million from the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor.
Participants must be married to an E1 – E5 active duty service member, or an active duty junior officer O1-O3. Eligible spouses need to have either a high school diploma or their GED.
Spouses are eligible for up to $3,000 per year in grant money for training in the health care, education and information technology fields, among others. The program will begin in January of 2008, and is being unveiled at 18 military installations across the country.
In Washington State, participating bases include Fort Lewis, McChord Air Force Base, and Naval Base Kitsap. For more information, call Robin Moeller at the Fleet and Family Services Center at Naval Base Kitsap at 360.396.1768.
To see if you qualify, or for a list of other participating military installations, see the Military Spouse Support Center at http://www.military.com/spouse/cf/0,,cf_CAA_111407,00.html.