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Advancing the Careers of Military Spouses

Advancing the Careers of Military Spouses: An Assessment of Education and Employment Goals and Barriers Facing Military Spouses Eligible for MyCAA

Esther M. Friedman
Laura L. Miller
Sarah E. Evans
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 92
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  • Book Info
    Advancing the Careers of Military Spouses
    Book Description:

    The authors compare recent users and nonusers of My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA), a scholarship program for eligible military spouses pursuing associate’s degrees, occupational certificates, or licenses in portable career fields. Through survey data, they investigate program use and nonuse and educational and employment experiences, preferences, and barriers. They conclude with recommendations for the Department of Defense.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8946-5
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Business, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xi-xviii)

    Since the move to an all-volunteer force, the U.S. military has increasingly recognized the importance of considering the well-being of families of military service members. The military services currently provide an array of services to support military families, including programs to assist spouses in pursuing their education and employment goals, child care assistance programs, and many others. Education- and employment-related programs are particularly important, given that military spouses face several unique challenges related to military life that can make it difficult for them to maintain and develop careers.

    One program designed to help military spouses meet their educational and employment...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Programs to support military spouses’ higher education and employment are relatively new, as there was not much of a need for them in the draft era when most personnel were single and required to serve, or when women’s workforce participation in the United States was very limited (Rostker, 2006, 2007; Miller et al., 2011b). Historically, U.S. military spouses did not receive specific accommodations or benefits of any kind. Military wives were expected not to be employed outside the home but instead to be homemakers, raise children, support their spouses, participate in military functions, and do volunteer work for the military...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Analytic Methods
    (pp. 9-14)

    This chapter describes the Defense Manpower Data Center’s (DMDC’s) administration and weighting procedures for the 2012 ADSS, and RAND’s selection of the sample, survey items, and analytic approaches for this study.

    DMDC and the MC&FP developed the 2012 ADSS (hereafter referred to as the survey), which was administered by DMDC. In fiscal year 2012, there were 709,776 active-duty spouses (U.S. Department of Defense, 2013, p. vii). The survey was open from November 19, 2012, through March 11, 2013, and about 13,000 spouses from all four services participated.

    DMDC linked individual survey responses to demographic data from military personnel records, weighted...

    (pp. 15-28)

    This chapter explores who is and who is not using the MyCAA scholarship program. First, we review what previous research has documented about the potential need for such a scholarship and the factors that can explain spouse utilization of military programs in general. Next, we report statistics on MyCAA use in the past year for the rank-eligible spouses in our analytic sample, including demographic, family, and military characteristics. We also analyze spouses’ reported reasons for nonuse of MyCAA.

    An abundance of evidence suggests that military spouses are less likely to be employed than are their civilian counterparts, and that those...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Higher Education Preferences, Experiences, and Barriers
    (pp. 29-34)

    Education can provide spouses with more opportunities for promotion at their current job and might also directly improve a spouse’s job prospects. Higher levels of education can potentially compensate for the absence of continuous work histories by signaling to employers that spouses nonetheless have the skills needed to perform the job. MyCAA is designed to help eligible spouses establish and reach educational goals for associate’s degrees, occupational licenses, and certificates in high-growth, high-demand career fields. In this chapter, we consider how well MyCAA is helping eligible spouses establish and attain their educational goals. Specifically, we examine (1) the percentage of...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Employment Preferences, Experiences, and Barriers
    (pp. 35-44)

    MyCAA is designed to help military spouses obtain occupational licenses and certificates and some types of education and training that will serve them well in the job market and reduce unemployment and underemployment among this population. Thus, it is important to examine the extent to which recent MyCAA users and nonusers are working, why they may not be working, and whether they are successfully employed in jobs that are a good match for their training and are satisfying, for instance. More specifically, in this chapter, we summarize our analyses investigating (1) the extent to which spouses are working and looking...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 45-52)

    Although RAND’s analyses of a subset of military spouse responses on the 2012 ADSS do not constitute an evaluation of MyCAA program effectiveness, they do tell us that MyCAA and other DoD SECO programs are targeting some of the key education and employment hurdles facing civilian military spouses of active-duty service members in MyCAA-eligible pay grades. In this chapter, we present recommendations designed to address the issues raised in previous chapters.

    Of eligible spouses who did not use MyCAA in the year before taking the survey, more than half indicated on the survey that they were unaware of the program....

  14. APPENDIX A Demographic, Family, and Military Characteristics of Spouses Included in This Study
    (pp. 53-56)
  15. APPENDIX B Comparison of MyCAA Nonusers Who Were Aware of the Scholarships to Unaware Nonusers
    (pp. 57-60)
  16. APPENDIX C Results of Logistic Regression Models Comparing MyCAA Users to Nonusers on Demographic, Family, and Military Characteristics
    (pp. 61-64)
  17. References
    (pp. 65-68)