Army Career Education and Readiness...We take the guesswork out of spouse-work
By MaryTherese Griffin, U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - Army Warrior Care and Transition's Career and Education Readiness Action Officers get the joy of giving guidance to Soldiers and families to help them be successful. One of those action officers is Roberta Berry who has good news for military spouses trying to find a job.

"New this year, spouses can receive reimbursement for state licensure and certification costs resulting from a permanent change of station or permanent change of assignment of a Soldier sponsor to another State," said Berry. Berry presented updates on military spouse employment during the 2019 Family Readiness and Training Summit at Fort Belvoir, Virginia in August. The spouse of a military retiree herself, Berry says the purpose is to inform the CER programs across WCT with the new procedures for authorized reimbursement from all Defense Military Pay Offices, Financial Management Companies, United States Army Reserve Pay Centers, and U.S. Property & Fiscal Offices.

The new information regarding reimbursement can make a world of difference for families as they move in support of their Soldier's career.

"As the Army downsizes and military funding becomes limited for programs that assist spouses with careers and employment, it is important to provide the resources and tools to assist military spouses with realistic expectations in obtaining meaningful long-term career, employment and educational opportunities," said Roberta Berry, Action Officer for WCT's Career Education and Readiness Program. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the military spouse unemployment rate as of this summer is 16%, which is four times the rate of civilians.

Some additional relief and good news is coming to military spouses with the Military Spouse Preference and the Priority Placement Program, or PPP. The program, established to lessen the career interruptions of spouses who relocate with their military sponsors, has removed its requirement for spouses to register and be referred for positions. The change now enables military spouses to have more control over their careers by allowing them to exercise their preference for a greater variety of positions. Spouses no longer are required to contact a human resources officer or wait for a notification about a job announcement; they can simply submit an application. More information on the changes to the PPP is located on the website at https://www.dcpas.osd.mil/EC/Advise.

For CER, transitioning out of the Army is a family affair, especially for Soldiers in the Warrior Transition Units. Berry says CER has plenty of information and tools for spouses seeking employment just waiting for use.

"Supporting spouse employment is key to making every WTU family successful as they move back into the civilian workforce. Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program, Army Community Services Military Spouse Employment and programs offered by Hiring our Heroes at the Chamber of Commerce provides tools for positive work outcomes for spouses."