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Approved spouses unaffected by career program pause

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- A week after announcing the temporary halt of the Defense Department's Military Spouse Career Advancement Account operations, the head of the program assured participants with approved financial assistance that their enrollment will be unaffected.

"For those of you who have currently approved financial account documents, your documents will be honored," said Tommy T. Thomas, the deputy undersecretary of defense for the Pentagon's office of military community and family policy.

"We encourage those spouses who were in the process of developing their career plans to continue to do so," he said. 

The halt, announced Feb. 18, came as a result of an unprecedented six-fold spike in enrollments during January. Since the soft launch in March 2009, more than 136,000 military spouses have applied for the MyCAA program. Currently, 98,000 are enrolled in courses or have been approved for tuition assistance.

"These applications were overwhelming the system intended to support the program and almost reached the budget threshold," Mr. Thomas said. "We are looking to ensure the viability of this valuable program."

The overall program, including all procedures and financial assistance documents, is currently under review, Mr. Thomas said, adding that he expects to announce the program's long-term strategy soon.

The MyCAA program provides military spouses with opportunities to pursue portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations through training programs, job readiness counseling, and employment assistance.

While no new financial assistance applications are being accepted, counseling support will remain available at local installations. Spouses also can receive assistance using other government resources such as Military OneSource and the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Spouses are encouraged to continue to pursue career counseling and the development of their career training plans, Mr. Thomas said.

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