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Peak moving season is approaching. If you know you’ll soon be searching for a new job, starting a career, changing careers — or are thinking about those possibilities — check out the Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program.
Defense officials have added a tool to SECO that lets you create career road map. First, you choose an occupation from the available list, which is constantly expanding.
Then, the tool helps you delve into the challenges that come with your chosen occupation — such as child care, licensing and time management, and the growth opportunities. It pulls all this information, along with data directly from the Labor Department, to compile an “Individual Career Plan” (or “MyICP”), with suggested actions for you to take to get into that field.
Going a step further, it connects spouses directly with employers who are linked into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership and have jobs available in that career field.
If you don’t see your particular occupation of interest, or need other help, you can call Military OneSource to speak to a SECO counselor at 800-342-9647. Spouses can create a custom MyICP with a career counselor if their occupation hasn’t been included in the list.
Officials also are working on adding the capability for service providers at military installations, and in communities, to have access to parts of the site so that they can help spouses with career resources.
SECO is open to all spouses of active-duty and reserve-component members in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force; surviving spouses of troops who die on active duty; and spouses of troops separated from active duty or a reserve component for fewer than 180 days.
Spouses must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System to use SECO, and obtain a Defense Department self-service logon. Information is provided on the site, https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil.
There are some limitations: Financial assistance under the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program is limited to spouses of active-duty members in paygrades E-1 through E-5, W-1 and W-2, and O-1 and O-2.
SECO has many self-service tools that can help you explore careers, such as search tools for education, training and licensing certification programs, and scholarship and financial aid information. That includes a scholarship database for spouses.
Spouses can find resources in the employment readiness section, ranging from interview tips to building résumés and connecting résumés through LinkedIn. A certified career counselor can assist.
Even if you don’t think you need SECO now, you never know what will happen three months or three years down the road. It never hurts to be prepared.
Karen Jowers is the wife of a military retiree.