Have you ever heard the acronym “MyCAA” tossed around in conversations?

If so, there’s a good reason for that. 

MyCAA stands for the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account. It’s a scholarship program that offers up to $4,000 in tuition assistance to eligible military spouses so they can focus on advancing in an in-demand, high-growth, portable career field through licensing, certifications, or associate degrees.

Curious who qualifies? Spouses of active-duty service members in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2, who can start and complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders. This includes spouses married to members of the National Guard and Reserve Components in these same pay grades.

And the great thing about MyCAA is that you can use the tuition money at a variety of programs and schools. For example, Instant Teams Academy, now accepts MyCAA funds! Learn more about our Academy here.Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 11.56.02 AM

So, to give you a closer look at how you can make the most of this program, we sat down with two military spouses, Victoria and Kara, to hear about their MyCAA journey and how they put their scholarship to good use at none other than Cornell. Read on for the full interviews. 

How Victoria Made the Most of MyCAA:

What was your career journey like leading up to the MyCAA program through Cornell?

Leading up to the MyCAA program, I worked in a couple of different fields, from rental cars to insurance. While the jobs were good, and I learned a lot, I knew they were not what I wanted to do with my life. I had a deeper passion for those around me and wanted to find a way that I could truly help them.

How did the MyCAA program help you land remote work? 

While I wouldn't say that the MyCAA program directly helped me land remote work, it did provide me with very useful skills both for my job and working remotely. All of my coursework was online for my program, meaning that I learned my way around a computer very well. It also provided me the ability to make sure to follow my own deadlines and work drive. Another positive was it helped me further my education to become the best caregiver that I can be in my position.

What advice would you share for a military spouse looking to advance their career with MyCAA?

Do it. Just do it. It can be hard going back to school or just finishing school when you're a military spouse. Moving around can be difficult and challenging; however, with the MyCAA program, you have the ability to choose a program that fits your schedule and your desire for a job. There are many different options, beyond mine (Medical Assisting), to choose from, giving a wide range of possibilities to military spouses looking to add extra income for their family.

Threepillars3How Kara Made the Most of MyCAA:

What was your career journey like leading up to the MyCAA program through Cornell?

Leading up to the MyCAA program, I dabbled in many things. I’ve always admired the people who had one thing and just knew that’s what they were meant to be, but that just wasn’t me and never has been. I honestly struggled with that for a long time, spending (sometimes it felt like wasting!) money on education for various things. As the years went on, I realized that my love for many things was actually shaping me into what I would become today. I spent several years in on-site operations, managing teams in several states, which served as my foot in the door for remote work, teaching me how to communicate with people who weren’t there in my physical office.

After having my first son, I decided that even though I was great at my job, I wanted to take a more entrepreneurial route so that I could be home with him, which is why I opened my own business. I ran that business successfully for about 7 years while concurrently working as a Virtual Executive Assistant for several years. After about 4 years of doing both, I started to get burnt out, so I decided to close my business and concentrate on growing my remote management skills. Over the next few years, I remained in operations, working for several customers across the United States, until I realized that the time was right and I was ready to get back into a management-level position. That’s when I found Instant Teams! I saw an opportunity to remain in operations while growing and mentoring others - all remotely!

What made you decide to upskill with MyCAA while already working remotely for Instant Teams?

Honestly, I have such a deep love of learning and upskilling. I’ve always referred to myself as a lifelong learner, and I love knowing as much as I can! It’s, of course, even better if someone else is paying for it. 

I already had two Masters degrees, so I knew that if I used it, that it would be on something more succinct and specific to where I wanted my remote career to head. I spent a few months researching education programs and finding out more about how MyCAA worked. I was initially a little turned off by the thought of it because I frequently saw people posting about MyCAA in forums that made it seem like, in order to use it, you would have to sell it to people after the fact. After finding out that wasn’t true - I was totally in.

What made you decide to pick Cornell as the place to use your MyCAA tuition? 

For me, Cornell made it an easy decision because not only did they have a program that was geared toward what I was seeking, but the team was responsive, the school itself has a great track record, the workload wasn’t so extensive that I would get burnt out again, and the cost fell within a range that I knew would work with MyCAA, without burdensome out-of-pocket expenses.

How is the MyCAA program helping you further your remote career? 

At the heart of my decision to attend yet another school was my urge to keep sight of the fact that every move we make here at Instant Teams involves a person on the other end of it. As I moved back into the management side again, I didn’t want to forget that sentiment by becoming a people manager, which is often easy in a remote environment.

The MyCAA program provided me the opportunity to get a certificate in a relevant area that enhanced my current skills and gave me new skills to ensure that I stay true to that goal.

What advice would you share for a military spouse looking to advance their career with MyCAA?

If you qualify - use the funds! There’s always something new to be learned, whether it is to supplement what you already know or to take a step toward a whole new career. If it has been on your mind, take the leap!

Visit the MyCAA webpage to register or connect with a career coach who can answer any questions you may have about the program.  

Then, when you’re ready, apply to Instant Teams Academy! You can read Krista's story here, she's a graduate of the Academy. After graduating she found a job quickly and is making more money than she ever has before!

Visit Instant Teams Academy

by Instant Teams