Military Spouse education benefits return
NORCROSS, Ga., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With great anticipation, military spouses are counting the days until the October 25 re-launch of the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) program. For countless spouses it's an opportunity to get the career training they need to become as marketable as possible during times when suitable jobs are scarce.
It would be an understatement to say that the initial MyCAA program, which launched worldwide in 2009, was a great success. According to the Department of Defense, nearly 133,000 military spouses wanting to train for a portable career -- one that can withstand frequent military moves -- applied for the initial phase of the program, with approximately 98,000 spouses approved for financial assistance. The program was paused in February 2010 for modifications.
When MyCAA returns later this month, spouses of junior service members (E1-E5, W1-W2, O1-O2) will be eligible to receive up to $4,000 in education benefits to pursue associate's degrees, certificates and licenses.
"For more than 10 years I was out of the workplace raising my son. I knew that when he started school I would need additional skills to become more marketable," said Cassandra Duvall, who is currently pursuing an online Paralegal Associate's Degree with Ashworth College (http://www.ashworthcollege.edu). "MyCAA has made a significant impact on my life by allowing me to go back to school – something that otherwise would not have been possible due to the high cost of education."
Duvall, whose family is stationed with the U.S. Army in Heidelberg, Germany, first learned about MyCAA and Ashworth College through a friend who is also enrolled at Ashworth.
Military spouses seek to overcome roadblocks to career advancement
Highly mobile and unpredictable, military life can change the dynamic of the military family with little notice. While the service member is focused on his or her duties, it's the spouse who is left to deal with the challenges of relocation, household finances, family morale, and finding suitable employment in the new community.
Although MyCAA launched in May 2009, overall awareness of the program and specific eligibility requirements remains a challenge among its primary audience -- military spouses.
"One of the greatest needs we've found is for information -- Which benefits do I qualify for? Which programs can I take? Are there extra costs? Can I manage school on top of work and my kids?" said Melissa Maddox, Ashworth's Military Education Coordinator. "One of the most important things we try to communicate is that they have an ally in this process. Once you get us on the phone, we're going to make sure that all questions are answered. The military spouse's life is challenging enough. We want to do what we can to make it a little easier."
Schools like Ashworth College are frequently contacted by spouses who are seeking additional career training because they have experienced the frustration of not finding suitable employment following relocation. And many find that what jobs are available in their new town don't always fit with their previous work experience or education, requiring many to train for more portable careers, including jobs that can allow them to work at home.
According to Leslie Gargiulo, Vice President of Education at Ashworth College, distance education programs like Ashworth's offer a seemingly unlimited opportunity to learn for anyone with a computer and access to the Internet.
"Online programs are ideal for military spouses, giving them the flexibility they need to become successful students," said Dr. Gargiulo, referring to spouses being able to pause a program during relocation and the convenience of being able to study at home. "Because all of Ashworth's programs are nationally accredited and our instructors are working professionals, spouses are assured to get the quality education they deserve."
Dr. Gargiulo went on to point out that many of Ashworth's programs lend themselves to the military lifestyle, including those in childhood education, health care, and computer technology.
About Ashworth College and Ashworth High School
Ashworth College, a leader in online education, offers students worldwide more than 100 online college degrees, online career certificates, online career training and high school online diplomas that are affordable and fit the busy schedules of working adults. Ashworth also offers military education online as well as specialized programs for corporate partners and homeschoolers.
Headquartered in Norcross, GA, Ashworth is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission of the DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Ashworth High School is further accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). For more information, visit http://www.ashworthcollege.edu.
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Dr. Leslie Gargiulo, PhD
SOURCE Ashworth College