Tagged: military spouses

Online Degree Options for Military Spouses

Posted by Debi Teter
You’ve sacrificed for your country, traveled to places beyond your imagination and dedicated your life to your job. And now you’ve decided that it’s time to make a change. Perhaps education is part of your plan, but you know that you will need to work, care for your growing family and go to school in order to make it happen. It’s a scheduling challenge, to be sure, but it’s not impossible. Exactly how is this supposed to work, you may be wondering? Two words: Online. Education. An online degree program gives you the structure of a degree program, deadlines to work against, and support from professors, advisors, and students – but puts you in the driver’s seat.  They’re a smart choice for many working adults because they offer the prestige of an accredited university along with the flexibility that online services provide plus they acquaint you with technology like video conferencing and shared workspaces that you will encounter in many workplaces. If this sounds like an option for you, consider these popular online degree programs.   Business Administration Looking for an entrance to the business world? Look no further than a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The Appeal: It’s the closest to a “jack-of-all-trades” degree you can find. The business administration degree provides a solid foundation in the basic building blocks of industry: finance, accounting, marketing and communication. These skills are what most employers seek, regardless of how the economy is performing. The Degree: The College Board, an academic group that administers exams like the SAT, says that a degree in business administration teaches students how to “plan, organize, direct, and control an organization’s activities.” The Career Potential: Anything from a personal financial advisor to a marketing research analyst can begin with a bachelor in business administration.   Accounting If numbers are your thing, check out a degree program in accounting to jump-start a successful career. The Appeal: When all is said and done, companies need someone who knows how to balance the books and pay the bills. This makes the tools of the accounting trade desirable now and for years to come. The Degree: Most accounting students learn about financial measurements and methodology, plus specialized areas like business law, government accounting, auditing and nonprofit financial performance. The Career Potential: The possibilities are extensive with an accounting degree. From tax examiner or auditor to analyst or accountant, this degree can prepare you for a number of careers with staying power.   Health Care Administration Thanks to the nearly indestructible baby boomers, a health care administration degree is a highly desirable asset. The Appeal: Health care service providers are gearing up to serve their communities, and with the numerous changes taking place in the medical insurance industry, there will likely continue to be a need for savvy administrators for the foreseeable future. The Degree: Health care administration majors learn all fathomable aspects of overseeing health care facilities.  According to the College Board, coursework can include health care law, ethics, aging, and long-term care. The Career Potential: This degree is a must-have if you want to be an executive administrator in the medical field, according to the U. S. Department of Labor.   Communications With the click of a mouse, any message can be delivered in virtually any media anywhere within seconds. If this fact fascinates you, you are not alone. This is why communications degrees are in demand. The Appeal: Organizations need people who know how to craft, distribute, and monitor messaging in order to both protect their brand and help grow it successfully. Degree Details: In addition to learning how to read, write and speak publicly, communication majors learn to deconstruct a media message and debate issues. The Career Potential: A bachelor’s degree in communications is one option to help you prep to pursue a public relations management position, according to the U. S. Department of Labor. You can also take a communications degree to get a job in marketing, advertising and marketing communications.   Computer Science To paraphrase Madonna, we live in a technological world.  If you’re tech-savvy and want to continue to adapt with the ever-changing times, a degree in computer science might give you the staying power you seek. The Appeal: Application and software development are going to continue to be needed as long as we continue to work and play on mobile devices. The Degree: Courses in computer science degree programs usually include programming in various “languages” as well as software design and user interaction. The Career Potential: Application and software developers, system administrators and technicians usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or in a related field.   Education Molding the next generation of thinkers and do-ers is a noble – and much needed – pursuit.   If this appeals to you, a bachelor’s degree in education could be the way to go. The Appeal: Baby boomers are beginning to exit the workforce, and their absence is not going to go unnoticed.  The need for strong teachers is perhaps more urgent than it has been in several years. The Degree: Education majors study curriculum theory, teaching strategies, special education needs, educational psychology, and practical issues like lesson plan design, school health, and safety issues. The Career Potential: To teach in a public school, you must have a license from the state plus a bachelor’s degree in education.

Family and Medical Leave Act Now Includes Same-Sex Military Couples

Posted by Debi Teter
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 gives eligible employees of covered employers the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for specific family and medical reasons. Eligible employees who need time off to care for a service member who becomes ill or injured in the line of duty may take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. On Feb. 25, the Department of Labor (DOL) amended the definition of “spouse” to include legally married same-sex spouses. Further, the rule clarifies that, if an otherwise eligible employee is currently living in a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized, as long as the person and his or her spouse were married in a state that does recognize same-sex marriages, the employee will still be eligible for benefits under the FMLA. The revised rule becomes effective March 27.

Finding Support for Military Spouses and Their Families

Posted by Debi Teter
Military families may be a lot of things, but one thing they are not is all the same. That’s why finding the right support group to help you and your family weather the ups and downs of military life is important. There are as many types of support groups as there are people, so you have to go into your search knowing what you’re looking for. Do you need a group of enlisted wives to help you get acclimated to the military lifestyle? Or are you looking specifically for people who understand what it’s like to have overinvolved in-laws? If you’re not sure, pick the one that seems to be closest to your needs and give them a try. You can always keep shopping until you find the right mix of people for you. But don’t forget – it isn’t all about you. Being part of a support group is as much about giving support as it is about taking support. If you’re going to join, you have to be ready to offer some of your own time, compassion, humor, or other skill. Otherwise, you’re not going to win any friends or influence people. If you don’t know where to start looking – here’s some tips:
  • Search the Internet. Search for organizations near your base, community, or area of interest.
  • Visit your installation’s military support service center; the Navy, Army, Air Force, and the Marine Corps all have support centers for military spouses and families.
  • Talk to people. You are not alone in this. Whatever you’re going through, there are others out there who can help – or at least just listen. Ask your neighbour, the checkout person at the commissary, anybody you might come across where to find like-minded groups to join.
Military life is full of ups and downs. The right support group can make all the difference. What’s worked for you? Tell us how you’ve connected with others in the comments below.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership

Posted by Admin

Unemployed military spouses receive help from DoDThe national unemployment rate is around 7 percent, but it is much higher among military spouses who have to change jobs frequently because of moves. A Pentagon program called the Military Spouse Employment Partnership was started three years ago to help unemployed military spouses find jobs has surpassed its goals, connecting more than 60,000 military spouses with 220 private- and public-sector partners, including Fortune 500 companies.

Meg O’Grady, a senior program analyst in the Pentagon’s Office of Family Policy and Children and Youth, said “Eighty-five percent of military spouses actually have some college, 25 percent of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 10 percent have an advanced degree.” The problem is that it can be difficult for large employers who want to hire military spouses to find them.

“We know that military spouses make great employees and businesses recognize that,” O’Grady said. “Through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, we provide a variety of ways for businesses to actually connect with military spouses.” Companies such as Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, as well as other big names in corporate America such as Verizon, AT&T and JP Morgan Chase are marquee brands that O’Grady said also have their eye on service members and their job-seeking spouses.

Officials say the inability of a spouse to find employment can affect the well-being of military communities, thereby affecting readiness and retention, which is why the department has been reaching out to corporations, small businesses and organizations to expand the network of potential spousal employers.

Resources available through the program include education and training, career guidance and mentoring programs. In addition, more than 1.8 million jobs have been posted on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership’s career portal.

Mental Health and PTSD Among the Troops

Posted by Debi Teter
PTSD and mental health resource for soldiersTwo shootings at military installations in a week. More suicides by service members in a year than deaths in combat. These are the realities of today’s military. Theories are varied as to why suicides and murders by service members and veterans are on the rise. One point that everyone agrees on is that mental health issues have been stigmatized for so long that many people who need help are afraid to ask for it. The Defense Department and VA are concerned. When Leon Panetta was Secretary of Defense, he laid out a four-pillar strategic approach to prevent military suicides: leadership; improving health care quality and access; elevating the importance of mental fitness; and increasing research into suicide prevention. There is clearly still much work to be done, but there are resources available. The VA lists more than 20 organizations and services available to active duty personnel, veterans and families. The US Army offers a Psychological Health Care Fact Sheet. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association offers general mental health assistance in addition to services specific for PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. USAA provides a book on suicide prevention that is free to download. PTSD and other mental health issues also take a toll on military spouses and can cause serious health issues. Active duty troops and veterans alike may be able to benefit from the recent emphasis on suicide prevention. If you are currently feeling despair or hopeless, or if you are concerned about someone else’s health, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800·273-TALK (8255). #FtHood #PTSD #mentalhealth #veteransresources

What I Learned From “Gravity”

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

MilitaryAuthority.com Gravity Sandra Bullock George Clooney

In case you’ve been living under a stack of textbooks, the space-thriller Gravity opened in theaters nationwide in early October. It’s been praised as a filmmaking advance the likes of which we haven’t seen since King Kong climbed the Empire State Building. It’s also been panned as a flat, lifeless script. But love it or hate it, there are a few things we can learn from it. [Warning- mild spoilers ahead]

1. Sometimes, trouble just keeps flying at you.

The first conflict the heroes encounter in the film, in hindsight, is a small one: the mechanism Dr. Stone has created to solve a problem on the Hubble telescope doesn’t work properly. In fact, it doesn’t work at all. Then a radio communication from Houston signals the next, more ominous problem: a wave of debris is hurtling toward them. And the fun just continues from there. 

It’s exhausting. But it’s also relatable. Because we’ve all had periods of time when it seems like challenges snowball into an avalanche of trouble. When one obstacle – whether it’s a test, a deadline, or a personal challenge passes, another is often lined up right behind it. 

In the film, once the flying space trash of doom passes, the clock begins ticking. Since it’s orbiting the earth, it’s only a matter of time before it returns to wreak more havoc. And in the midst of the havoc-wreaking, the only thing anyone can do is to go through it the very best they can.

The message the film sends is one of patience and perseverance. When you’re in school or working, or both – those pieces of debris will hurtle toward you. Guaranteed. And, like the fated astronauts in “Gravity,” you can- and will – find a way to keep moving.


2. We can choose how we respond to catastrophe.

At one point in this film, for all intents and purposes, there is absolutely no hope whatsoever. None. Every possible route back to earth has been effectively nixed. Nothing doing. 

The decision the astronaut has to make at this point is an important one, and a lesson for everyone who’s ever felt cut off from the rest of the world, backed into a corner, or in an otherwise crummy spot: You get to decide whether you blaze forward and make your own way or fizzle out. 

Even when we feel at our most alone, we still have resources to call on, bounce ideas off of, and guide us back into orbit. That’s another important lesson from this film – the beauty of the human spirit’s resiliency and power to hope, even when the possible outcomes aren’t clear.


3. Perspective

There are moments in Gravity when the camera shifts to first person point of view – we see what the astronaut sees. It’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring to say the least. 

When you realize that there are astronauts occupying the ISS who see similar views of earth and space each day, it puts trivial problems like traffic, a late homework assignment or a ruined pair of khakis into perspective. It’s a good reminder that we earth-dwellers are a tiny part of the cosmos and whatever troubles we have – although they’re important to us – are temporary. 

So if you were wondering how Military Authority relates to Gravity and its stars, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, hopefully we’ve answered your question. Whether you’re a soldier, student or spouse, there’s something to be said for an action-packed film that’s able to make hurtling through space a uniquely personal experience. It’s a space movie that grapples with the kind of human struggles you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand. 


Have you seen Gravity yet? Did it speak to you? Are there other movies that resonated with you? Tell us in the comments.










Copyright by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

#militaryauthority #gravitymovie #bullock #clooney

A Shift in Mindset Can Help Military Spouse’s Employment Search

Posted by Kelli McKinney

militaryauthority.com military spouse employment searchMarriage – whether military or civilian – is about cooperation. It’s hard work making a relationship between two unique people successful. And when one (or more) of those people are committed to a military career, it can feel like there’s a third person in the relationship at times. A military marriage often contains the needs and well being of three: the two spouses plus the nation.

Most military spouses are extremely proud of their career soldier, and share similar views of service, honor, duty, and integrity, whether or not they choose a military career for themselves. But what happens when the career aspirations of one spouse need to take a back seat to the other?

That’s not an uncommon situation in marriage. The vision of a 50-50 partnership might be a bit short-sighted, when you consider that, very likely, the single constant in any marriage is the love and commitment shared between the two people. Everything else – jobs, homes, hobbies, possessions, kids – changes.  Perhaps these few simple tips can help bring the military spouse some peace in their search for employment.

  1. Who you are is more important than what you do. Are you passionate about reading, or music? Do you have a passion for nutrition, or science, or serving others? Think about what you can contribute as opposed to whether your particular field has a set career path to follow (spoiler: most don’t). If you’re between jobs at the moment, just spending a little time doing something you enjoy – or even taking classes to learn about something you’re interested in – can help.
  2. You’re a professional. If you think of yourself as “an unemployed sales representative,” or “out-of-work aerobics instructor” guess what you’ll probably be? But if you shift your thoughts just a little bit, away from limiting job titles and toward what you want to do, that opens up your potential. For example, “sales rep” above might consider himself a “professional influencer.” The “aerobics instructor” might switch gears into “fitness professional.” This slight shift can help you make the leap from feeling like you’re being shuffled from job to job to realizing that you have knowledge and experience to give. Even if you have to wait tables a little while in a new town while you seek new opportunities, changing the way you think about your skills can make a huge difference.
  3. Remember why you’re here. It’s easy to get discouraged and bitter during a dry spell. Thinking of happier times, and remembering the excitement of the early days of your adventure will help the discomfort pass. Share your feelings with your spouse, friends or family, and remember that your service member also has days like this – you will carry each other through them.

Get more practical career advice and education tips for military spouses at militaryauthority.com.

Study: PTSD Affects Spousal Health, Too

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

PTSD affect spousesA recent doctoral thesis by University of Utah graduate student Catherine Caska suggests that the negative health effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, spill over into spouses, too.

The study compared emotional and physiological responses of two groups of military veterans and their partners during and after engaging in a “disagreement task” set in a clinically-monitored environment. The veterans in one group had been diagnosed with PTSD, and those in the control group had not.

According to the researchers, the most remarkable finding was that the partners of veterans with PTSD showed even greater increases in blood pressure during conflict than the veterans with PTSD themselves, suggesting that these partners may be at similar, if not greater, risk for health consequences from relationship conflict and PTSD as the veterans.

The study found that female spouses and other partners of veterans who have PTSD had even bigger blood pressure spikes than the vets. While the fact that those diagnosed with PTSD are liable to have significant blood pressure increases during periods of stress has been long established, Caska’s study was the first to look specifically at the experiences of spouses.

“Overall, we found that couples where the veteran has PTSD showed greater emotional and relationship distress than military couples without PTSD,” said Caska. “The couples affected by PTSD also showed greater increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and other indicators of cardiovascular health risk in response to the relationship conflict. Veterans with PTSD showed larger increases in blood pressure in response to the relationship conflict discussion than did veterans without PTSD. These responses and the greater emotional reactions and overall relationship distress reported by veterans with PTSD could contribute to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease previously found to be associated with PTSD.”

Caska is no newcomer to the study of the unique mental health problems and needs of military families. In 2009, she authored a thesis paper called Caregiver Burden in Spouses of National Guard/Reserve Service Members Deployed During Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Caska also co-wrote a chapter in the book Risk and Resilience in U.S. Military Families entitled “Distress in in Spouses of Combat Veterans with PTSD: The Importance of Interpersonally-Based Cognitions and Behaviors.”

“The results of our study emphasize the potential role of relationship difficulties in the increased risk for cardiovascular disease among Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans with PTSD,” concludes Caska. “These data also suggest the possibility of similar heath risks for their partners. These findings could have important implications for the focus of treatments and services for this population, and further drives home the need to continue to focus research and resources on understanding and better serving military families.”

National Military Appreciation Month: Band of Brides

Posted by Debi Teter

National Military Appreciation Month takes place each May, as designated by Congress. It’s a time we stop to reflect on the achievements of our armed services and all of the individuals who make up the ranks.

One group honored is made up of military spouses. Both men and women comprise the ranks of military spouses, and they are the foundation of military families dealing with the stress of everyday life as well as extended deployments of one parent.

One military wife, comedienne and motivational speaker Mollie Gross, has labeled these women as “A Band of Brides” who offer support to each other as only other military spouses can and has created a series of one-hour documentaries chronicling their experiences.

To all military spouses, the unsung heroes who are silently serving our nation, we say “Thank you.”

Happy Friday, everyone.

FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Application Period Open From March 1 – 31

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

National Military Family Association logoThe Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) in association with the National Military Family Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation is pleased to announce the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Accredited Financial Counselor® Fellowship. Military spouses can apply to become a member of the 2013 class of fellows until March 31, 2013. This program provides military spouses with the education necessary to enter the financial counseling career field.

The fellowship covers the costs associated with completing the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) training and the first two attempts at both exams. Upon successful completion of the program and required practicum, the participant will be awarded the Accredited Financial Counselor® designation from AFCPE®.

Many employers such as credit unions, financial aid offices, and community housing agencies need well-trained, ethical and caring financial counselors to meet the increasing demand for financial counseling services. Military spouses can fill this need while building a rewarding career that is flexible enough to meet the demands of the military family lifestyle. Applications are accepted online and are due by midnight ET March 31, 2012.


(Press Release, Reprinted from the Military Family Association, http://www.militaryfamily.org.)