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NEWS | Oct. 21, 2019

New options available for spouse employment, relicensing

By Devon Suits Army News Service

The Department of Labor recently launched a website to help military spouses that possess an occupational license and need to transfer their credentials to another state.

Through the website, military spouses can review each state's law concerning specific licensed occupations, said Kristopher Rick, assigned to the DOL's veterans' employment and training services.

Spouses can then arm themselves with information about a state's licensure portability laws, Rick said during a family forum at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 15.

In 2019 alone, 13 states have implemented changes to legislation to support military spouses who have credentials. Through the website, spouses can easily navigate an interactive map of the country and receive a short synopsis of each legislation.

The website also features a "CareerOneStop License Finder," providing users the ability to access information on a state's occupational licensure board. Further, spouses can review the necessary requirements to transition their license into that state, he added.

"More importantly, the site provides a point of contact information," Rick said. "Spouses can now build a roadmap on how to engage … when preparing to move to a new location."

The Army will also reimburse up to $500 in relicensing costs, said Krista Simpson Anderson, Army Emergency Relief military spouse ambassador. If expenses exceed the allotted reimbursement amount, Soldiers and spouses could receive up to $2,500 in Army Emergency Relief support.

Spouse relicensing support is a needs-based program and not designed to reimburse military families, she said. Regular Army, National Guard, and Reserve spouses can receive assistance up to 180 days after they move to a new duty station.

The intent of the program is "to relieve distress, promote resiliency and overall financial readiness of Army families," Anderson added.

Spouses with occupational licenses slated to move should review the "License Recognition For Military Spouses resource guide," Rick said. Users can find a downloadable version of the guide on the website, or click on the related link below.

Spouses who are looking to start a career search, or in the process of transitioning to a new field, can turn to Military One Source for support.

The Military One Source site provides a comprehensive suite of career resources to build, refine, and highlight a military spouse's unique skillset, said Lee Kelley, Military One Source director of military community support programs.

For example, spouses have access to a "certified masters-level career coach," available Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time, and all day Saturday. Spouses can access this resource through the phone or online via live chat.

"It's important to know that career assistance, resume help, and mock interview sessions are available when spouses are available," Kelley said.

Starting in November, spouses will have access to a 90-second career assessment tool that will provide insight into their career strengths, she said. This is just one example of how Military One Source is evolving to meet the emerging needs of military families.

"My message to military spouses at any stage of their career … I would recommend either walking into their base's family center or picking up the phone and calling Military One Source," Kelley said.

"With the thousands of resources out there, it is hard to know where to start," she added. Start with us -- your Department of Defense family of resources."

Spouses also have access to 400-plus companies and organizations committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining personnel through the Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership, she added. Thus far, MSEP partners have hired close to 140,000 military spouses since the program launched.

"I challenge spouses to put the Military One Source phone number in their phone right now --- 1-800-342-9647," she said. "You may not need it today, but you will have it for yourself and the rest of the military community family."

Spouses looking for a career in child care services -- or looking to maintain employment while raising their children at home -- may want to consider a family child care profession, officials said.

Family child care providers manage their own business, all while providing quality and affordable childcare to other military families, said Suzanne King, with Army Installation Management Command's Children and Youth Services family child care program.

Military family members, retirees, and qualified civilians living in on-post housing can apply to be an FCC provider. Home inspections and background checks are required for anyone living in the house over the age of 12, she said.

If accepted into the program, CYS will provide training and support. Providers will enter into an 18-month training program, which includes CPR, first aid, reporting child abuse, and other child development or special needs training.

"After the training, CYS specialists will continue to provide support to the FCCs," she said. "Providers could receive access to the supplies, equipment to open up their home childcare. They are authorized coverage under the Army's risk management program, and can receive referrals through the Military Child Care website."