Moving every two to three years, a lack of available and affordable child care, and other unique obstacles continue to significantly impact the ability of military spouses to find and maintain a career. Seeking to reduce the decades-long high unemployment and underemployment rates within the military spouse community, DoD continues to work diligently to provide resources and programs to enhance employment options for spouses.
With the sheer volume of education and career information available on the internet, it can be daunting to figure out which programs are verified and trustworthy. To ease the burden on military spouses, DoD continues to enhance the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program, which provides education and career guidance to spouses worldwide.
"It is critical that the department explores new ways of supporting our military spouses," said Eddy Mentzer, associate director for strategic initiatives and SECO program manager. "Just as military spouses have evolved, our programs must do the same. We are always looking for opportunities to expand and refine our initiatives to support the military spouse community. 2021 has been a great year for new initiatives, and 2022 looks to be the same."
Through SECO, spouses have access to career coaches who provide customized career planning, résumé reviews, education assistance, financial planning, and more. These experts also connect spouses to a host of other tools and resources available to the military community.
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Spouses can learn about career paths that are best suited for the military lifestyle and research the requirements for specific occupations. The career coaches offer one-on-one sessions designed to help spouses take advantage of free premium LinkedIn accounts upon each PCS move.
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) job portal is another tool available on the SECO website. This portal provides military spouses with access to more than 540 companies and organizations that have committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining military spouses. Over the last decade, these employers have hired more than 200,000 military spouses across every employment sector and at every level.
Military spouses pursuing higher education can access college scorecards through the SECO website to learn more about programs, school accreditation, cost, portability of education programs, and more before making this major investment. Eligible spouses also can find additional information on the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship which provides up to $4,000 in financial assistance for the pursuit or maintenance of a license, certification, or associate degree. In 2021, MyCAA added the ability to utilize the program to support Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and to test for college credit through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES).
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Earlier this year, DoD launched the newly enhanced MySECO website to create an improved, more personalized experience for military spouses navigating career and education opportunities on the site.
Take a closer look at some of SECOs newest offerings:
- Free FlexJobs Membership – access thousands of flexible and remote job openings in more than 50 career fields through a free one-year membership to FlexJobs. This career platform specializes in vetted, flexible, and remote job openings.
[MOAA WEBINAR: Finding and Obtaining Remote Work with FlexJobs (Premium or Life Member Login Required)]
- Free Udemy Membership – meet career goals with free access to thousands of online, flexible courses on the world’s largest education site. Through this program, spouses can enhance current skills, learn new ones, and stay up to date on industry trends. This free membership is available through June 29, 2022.
- Remote Ready Program – Instant Teams, in collaboration with SECO, has launched Remote Ready – a skill training and remote employment pilot program for mid-career military spouses. This full-cycle workforce development program will provide spouses with the opportunity to earn Remote Ready Certification, complete skills training in one of four custom-selected tracks based on skills and aptitude, and conclude with remote employment offers.
These new programs showcase the impressive work DoD is doing to reduce military spouse unemployment. By thinking outside the box and developing partnerships with companies like FlexJobs and Udemy, the SECO program continues to lead the way.
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