Area military spouses are advancing their education goals thanks to a Department of Defense program designed to aid their employment and career opportunities.

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account, MyCAA, provides employment, career, education/training, counseling and financial assistance for spouses of active duty and activated Reserve and National Guard service members worldwide.

Spouses married to an active duty or activated service member are eligible to participate in MyCAA. This includes active Guard/Reserve and Coast Guard deployed with the Navy.

The Internet-based MyCAA tool allows spouses to apply for up to $6,000 in financial assistance for education, training, licensing or certification necessary for their portable careers. Portable careers are those that are likely to provide job opportunities in most locations where military service members are stationed. These might include but are not limited to: business/management, construction trades, education, financial services, health services, homeland security, hospitality management, human resources, information technology, real estate, etc.

MyCAA provides funds for eligible spouses directly to participating schools or other programs.

To apply for MyCAA financial assistance, spouses can set up a profile on the MyCAA Web site at www.militaryonesource.com and click on the MyCAA link to review and digitally sign the agreement (by entering name and password) on the MyCAA online Statement of Understanding and Terms and Conditions. If they are already listed in the MyCAA system, a spouse and his or her school or other program can proceed with their request for financial assistance. If not, the spouse needs to click "Can't Find School" to request that the school or program be added.

MyCAA will pay for expenses such as post-secondary education and training, tuition, licensing and credentialing fees. It does not pay for computers, school application fees, graduation fees, student activity cards, child care, parking, transportation, medical services or testing fees.

One Aberdeen Proving Ground spouse said the program is working out for her. Kamola Julien, the wife of Staff Sgt. Rigaud Julien, 22nd Chemical Battalion, was one of the first in the area to sign up for the program in June. A first-year nursing major, Julien is enrolled in online summer courses and will take one class on the Harford Community College campus during the Fall semester.

She said for spouses already enrolled in DEERS the process is simple.

"You just go to the Web site to create your education profile," she said. "I was approved the same day the counselor gave me the information."

She said she enjoys the convenience of online classes but looks forward to attending classes on campus as well.

"The online summer programs are more fast-paced which works better for me with an eighteen-month old daughter," Julien said. "I usually study at night when she and my husband are asleep."

For more, information about MyCAA, call a Military OneSource career/education consultant at 1-800-342-9647, visit the Military OneSource Web site at www.militaryonesource.com, or contact Tressie Stout at the APG Education Center, 410-306-2042.

Page last updated Fri August 7th, 2009 at 12:14