HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Hill Air Force Base resident Fabiola Sanchez set her sights recently on pursuing a career in the medical field, but was unsure how to proceed as a stay at home parent.
Determined to begin her education, Sanchez enrolled in a Certified Nursing Assistant program. Shortly after completion, she learned of the Air Force Aid Spouse Employment Grant Program operated by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, which gave her the funding needed for her to continue her education with a phlebotomy training course.
“I have been a stay at home mom, but I wanted to do something for myself and continue my education. The family readiness center was a good way to start by guiding me and telling me about their resources,” Sanchez said.
With her phlebotomy training completed, now Sanchez is poised to begin her career as a phlebotomist and credits her new opportunity to the program. “At the time I was raising kids and didn’t have a job, so I probably would have waited longer (for my education), but the fact that they were able to fund my schooling encouraged me to do the program,” Sanchez said. “My goal of getting back to school was reachable because of the Family Readiness Center.”
The Spouse Employment Program Grant is available to qualified military spouses. Scott Jones, Community Readiness Consultant at the Airman & Family Readiness Center says the program has enough grant funding each year to help out between eight to 10 military spouses.
“Some struggle with the financial opportunity, so we give an extra boost in order for a spouse to take on a certification program that normally incurs student loans and debt, which then compounds their financial situation” Jones said. “This program gives them access to complete their training and get permanent, full-time employment.”
Those who are awarded grant money through the Air Force Aid Spouse Employment Program can choose any program that leads to a certification process. One of the school choices, Davis Applied Technology College, has a vast number of programs, with the added benefit of requiring a 40-hour externship program after the training, which often leads to a job offer Jones says.
“The program boosts their confidence by acquiring skills for new employment they may not have been able to acquire through other sources,” Jones said. “Then during the externships, the students develop a relationship with their employer and they see you have the skills and capabilities, so they typically keep the students on.”
Sanchez credits the program for encouraging her and giving her advice through the application process and during the program. “They didn’t just have me sign up and say good luck. They actually were very caring throughout the course. It was very encouraging that somebody else cared about my education,” Sanchez said.
The program is available for military spouses to apply in February and March of each year. Spouses are required to go through an interview process, pass a reading comprehension test, and complete a background check. Immunizations need to be up to date and it’s helpful for military spouses to have reliable transportation.
For more information, contact the Airman Family and Readiness Center at 777-4681 and ask for the Air Force Aid Officer or Employment Program Manager.