Supporting Military Spouses in their IT Education: A Journey of Resilience and Fortitude
As a military spouse, you are no stranger to moving around, adjusting to new posts, towns, and bases, and facing the challenges of frequent deployments. You may also simultaneously strive to build a stable and fulfilling career for yourself.
However, the very nature of military life can disrupt educational and career aspirations, leaving spouses feeling isolated and left behind. Pursuing an education in IT can remain a daunting and uncertain prospect, especially since according to the U.S. Department of Defense, the unemployment rate for military spouses is currently at about 21%.
Supporting military spouses in their IT education journey is not only a matter of fairness but also one of strategic importance. These resilient individuals possess a wealth of talent, adaptability, and determination that can significantly enrich the IT sector. Their diverse backgrounds and unique perspectives can contribute to innovation and excellence in the industry, making a remote career in IT a viable option for military spouses.
At QuickStart Military, we recognize the untapped potential of military spouses in our military community, and we aim to provide the vital support and resources they need to thrive in careers of their own. Through MyCAA-eligible training programs within our military program, we help you build in-demand IT skills that can move with you; no prior IT experience is required.
In this article, we will explore the challenges military spouses face while pursuing IT education, the immense value they bring to the field, and, most importantly, how you, as a military spouse, can overcome these challenges and harness the resources available to find the career that fits your unique lifestyle.
Scholarships and Grants Available for Military Spouses
Amidst the unique challenges faced by military spouses in their pursuit of IT education, there is a silver lining of support. Numerous organizations and programs recognize the immense potential within this community and have established scholarships and grants explicitly tailored to alleviate the financial burden and open doors to educational opportunities.
In the following sections, we provide a birds-eye overview into the various scholarships, grants, and corporate sponsorships available for you as a military spouse. These scholarships and grants may cover tuition fees, course materials, and certification exam costs, easing the financial burden as you pursue your IT career.
Dedicated Military Spouse Scholarships
- Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA): A Department of Defense program that provides financial assistance for military spouses pursuing licenses, certifications, or associate degrees in a portable career field and occupation. QuickStart Military also has a MyCAA program with approved IT Training and certification courses.
- National Military Family Association (NMFA) Scholarship: Offers scholarships for military spouses, including the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for education and training.
- ThanksUSA Scholarship Program : Provides scholarships to spouses and dependent children (ages 24 and under) of active-duty military personnel. Scholarships cover a wide range of educational pursuits.
- Folds of Honor Foundation: Provides scholarships to spouses and dependents of service members who have fallen or have been disabled while on active duty in the U.S. armed forces.
- Society of Military Spouses in STEM (SMSS) Scholarships: SMSS offers scholarships to military spouses pursuing education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields.
- Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program: The AFAS offers education grants and scholarships to dependent children and spouses of active-duty, retired, and deceased Air Force members.
- Army Emergency Relief (AER) Scholarships: AER provides scholarships to spouses and dependent children of active-duty, retired, and deceased Army members.
- Coast Guard Foundation Scholarships: Various scholarships are available to Coast Guard spouses and children, including the Fallen Heroes Scholarship and the Delta Dental Scholarship Program.
Government Grants and Financial Aid
- Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability: Eligible service members can transfer their unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouses or dependents. This program covers tuition, fees, and provides a housing allowance for higher education pursuits.
- Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) Program: DEA provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or of veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Military spouses can apply for federal student aid (FSA), including grants and loans like FAFSA, which assesses eligibility for various federal and state financial aid programs.
Corporate Sponsorships and Private Initiatives
- Cisco's Military Spouse IT Network Training Program: This free IT training program for military spouses focuses on network security, routing, and switching. The program includes online training, certifications, and career coaching, empowering military spouses to pursue IT careers. Cisco is also one of QuickStart technology partners.
- Veterans United Foundation: This foundation offers the Military Spouse Scholarship Program, providing financial aid to military spouses pursuing education. Scholarships cover a variety of educational pursuits, including certifications, degrees, and vocational training.
Flexible Learning Options Tailored to Military Families
While financial support is a pivotal step towards realizing your IT education goals, many organizations recognize the need for education options that accommodate the ever-changing circumstances of military families.
There is an array of flexible learning opportunities tailored to suit the demands of military life. From hybrid programs (online courses with occasional in-person classes or workshops) to self-paced online programs for a more personalized and self-direction approach to IT education, military spouses can master the specific skills and obtain the required certifications without the constraints of traditional classroom schedules.
Online Immersive Certification Programs
Online IT certification programs designed for military spouses offer a range of flexible features. Because the learning is entirely online, often with accelerated options, military spouses can seamlessly continue their education, regardless of changes in their duty station or deployment schedules. Military spouses can adjust their study load to accommodate the demands of their family life, creating a harmonious balance between their education and their role as support systems for their service members.
At QuickStart Military, we offer immersive IT training in the following bootcamps:
These IT bootcamps are available through a variety of university partners and are led by expert instructors in both an on-demand (self-paced) and live, online class setting. We work with employers, hiring managers, and technology partners to create industry-aligned programs that contain virtual hands-on lab assignments and capstone projects to help build out your portfolio.
We also have a sustained Career Services program that starts immediately upon enrollment in your chosen bootcamp and is with you six months after program completion, to help you successfully land a job in the IT industry.
For those who are more interested in training for specific certifications through technology providers, such as Microsoft, CompTIA, EC-Council, Project Management Institute (PMI), enrolling in an on-demand IT certification course is the best option for you. Many IT professionals looking to upskill their certifications or even transition to a new IT field take these on-demand training to increase their job prospects.
Regardless of the option you choose, as technology advances, military spouses can stay current and competitive by progressing through courses on their own schedule, ensuring that they acquire the latest skills and knowledge relevant to the IT field.
Support Networks for Military Spouse Education
Beyond the realm of financial assistance and flexible learning options, the camaraderie and shared experiences within a supportive community play a pivotal role in overcoming challenges.
From mentorship programs to online forums, these networks offer a sense of belonging, encouragement, and valuable insights, ensuring that military spouses feel empowered to navigate their educational pursuits with confidence and resilience.
There are also organizations offering specialized career counseling services for military spouses. These services, such as QuickStart’s Career Services, provide guidance on choosing the right IT specialization, job search strategies, and assistance in securing IT-related employment opportunities after completion of education.
We also recommend popular online forums, social media groups, and platforms where military spouses interested in IT education gather. These digital spaces facilitate networking, knowledge exchange, and emotional support, fostering a sense of community.
You can also participate in local military spouse support groups and community events. These gatherings provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions, mentorship, and shared experiences among military spouses pursuing similar educational paths in IT.
And finally, we always advocate for the formation of collaborative study groups within military communities. These groups, whether virtual or in-person, enable military spouses to collaborate on assignments, share resources, and provide mutual encouragement, enhancing the learning experience.
The Resilience and Fortitude of Military Spouses
In the pursuit of IT education, military spouses face unique challenges, yet they exhibit remarkable resilience and determination. Through targeted support mechanisms such as dedicated scholarships, flexible learning options, partnerships with military support networks, these spouses are not only equipped with the necessary resources but also surrounded by a community that understands their journey.
By harnessing the power of education, these spouses can forge fulfilling careers in the Information Technology sector, contributing their valuable skills and perspectives.
As a society, it is our collective responsibility to empower these unsung heroes, ensuring they have every opportunity to succeed in their IT education journey and, subsequently, in their professional endeavors.
Together, we can create a supportive environment where military spouses thrive, leaving a lasting impact on the IT industry and inspiring future generations. If you would like to learn more about how QuickStart can help support you with your IT education, connect with an expert today to request more information and get the guidance you need.