THe Harting Family

THe Harting Family

Friday, February 19, 2010


Here is what I recieved today via my Family Readiness Officer.

Military Spouse Employment
MyCAA Program in Hiatus
Response to Query
As of: February 18, 2010

POC: Major April Cunningham, OSD/PA

Current news: DoD announced February 16:

"Effective immediately, the MyCAA program is temporarily halting operations. We are reviewing all procedures, financial assistance documents and the overall program. This pause will not affect approved financial assistance documents. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please check back for updates.”

The announcement was posted to the MyCAA Web site.


“Military spouses represent a significant, young, diverse and motivated component of America’s labor force. We recognize that the military lifestyle calls for portable careers and that military spouses need access to education and training for careers that are portable and high-growth nationally. This short-term break will allow us to better assess the program to ensure we are achieving that goal.”

Tommy T. Thomas
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
Military Community and Family Policy

Background: More than half of today’s 1.3 million active duty servicemembers are married; of these spouses, nearly 77 percent – about 675,000 – say they want or need to work. These spouses represent a significant, young, diverse and motivated component of America’s labor force. However, almost three-fourths of military spouses who would like advance their careers report that the cost of education is the reason for not attending school.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account – “MyCAA” –employment program, in a soft launch since March 2, 2009, will undergo an evaluation. In order to accomplish this assessment, the program will be halted temporarily. The operational pause will not affect financial assistance already approved for military spouses in academic programs across the nation.

Since the beginning of the program, more nearly 133,000 military spouses have applied for the MyCAA program. Currently, 98,000 are enrolled in courses or have been approved for tuition assistance. The program provides military spouses with opportunities to pursue portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations.

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account program, an employment assistance program sponsored by the Defense Department, has three components: training, job readiness and employment assistance and career services.

• Training – Eligible active duty military spouses may receive a financial assistance to help them pursue education, training, licensure, certification and degrees leading to employment in portable career fields.
• Job readiness – Military spouses may request free career counseling through Military OneSource (800.342.9647 and online at to learn about market conditions, finding child care, successfully relocating to new communities, and balancing the demands of military life.
• Employment assistance and career services – DoD is currently developing networks of military-friendly employers who want to place military spouse in paid internships, hire and retain as they relocate.

During the DoD review of the MyCAA program, previously approved financial assistance for military spouses will be unaffected. Counseling support will remain available at the local installation and through Military OneSource. Military spouses are encouraged to continue to pursue career counseling and the development of their career training plans.

Related information:

Career Advancement Accounts are flexible, self-managed education funding accounts that will enable military spouses to gain the skills needed to successfully enter, navigate, and advance in portable careers.

o Accounts were made available to military spouses entering the workforce or transitioning between jobs and careers, and to incumbent workers in need of new skills to remain employed or move up the career ladder.
o Spouses are required to use their accounts to pay for expenses directly related to post-secondary education and training or and credentialing and licensing MyCAA will only pay for coursework (not laptops, fees, parking, etc.)
• The career advancement accounts target nationally identified
high-growth, portable occupations such as education, health care, information technology and financial services.

Questions and Answers

Q1. How many military spouses have contacted you for the MyCAA program?

A1. Nearly 133,000 military spouses have applied and approximately 98,000 spouses have been approved for financial assistance.

Q2. What is this "pause"?

A2. This pause is to review the procedures, financial assistance documents, and the overall program. This pause will not affect approved financial assistance documents. However, during the pause, no new MyCAA accounts may be created, and no new financial assistance applications will be accepted. Spouses who already have a MyCAA account may continue to use the MyCAA website for career counseling and planning.

Q3. Why is this pause necessary?

A3. The program, without any formal advertisement, has been extremely successful with high demand. The Defense Department is conducting this review to ensure the program is meeting the intent of its establishing legislation, which was to provide spouses with increased opportunity for portable careers.

Q4. How long will the pause continue?

A4. We will do our best to keep this operational pause to a minimum.

Q5. Are there other similar programs available to military spouses?

A5. There are a wide variety of government programs open to military
spouses. The most prominent among these are the Post 9/11 GI Bill and selected voluntary education programs available on installations and program Web sites.

Q6. Where can military spouses go for additional advice and counseling?

A6. Military OneSource, toll-free at (800) 342-9647 and online at is the best place for military spouses to start in getting information. Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Consultants can provide education and training, career exploration, assessment, employment readiness and career search assistance.

Q7. What about spouses who have an approved career training plan, but do not have financial assistance approved for some courses?

A7. No new or pending financial assistance accounts will be approved during this review period. Spouses with a MyCAA account may continue to use the MyCAA Web site for career counseling and planning.

Q8. Who made this decision? Isn’t this a decision that can only be made at the Secretary of Defense level?

A8. The decision to initiate this pause was made on behalf of the Defense Department by the leadership in the office of Military Community and Family Policy, which is responsible for management of the program.

Q9. Why are you taking this action now? Is there a problem with – staffing (not enough people to manage the program); a problem with fraud (ineligible people getting funding); problem with the software (can we help fix it), etc, etc.

A9. No single event, circumstance or problem directed this review. As we near the anniversary of the soft launch of this new program, we believe it is appropriate to conduct full-spectrum analysis of the program.

Q10. What is the real reason for this decision? Your answers sound like code for “can we afford this program?”

A10. We are conducting a comprehensive top to bottom review of
the program to ensure the program is meeting the intent of its establishing legislation.

Q11. Is there a plan to cut or reduce the program?

A11. It is premature to discuss what actions might - or might not - be

Q12. Why didn't you give people a warning that the program was about to take a break so that those so close to getting their financing approved could do so?

A12. The DoD regrets the inconvenience that some have experienced due to this decision. However, it is DoD's assessment that, in the long term, this will better serve participating spouses.

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