Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let me tell you how I feel....

I know this blog has been mostly about light hearted fun things going on in our life, but today's post is a bit more serious in nature. (Stay tuned in the coming days for a replay of bridal and bachelorette party events!)

The National Military Family Association (NMFA) is the organization that helps coordinate and organize the 2010 FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship. This fellowship gives military spouse the opportunity to get their AFCPE licensing and become financial counselors, which is a highly portable career, and a portable career is key to the military lifestyle.

Three years ago FINRA decided to make all civil service and government contracted employees ineligible for the fellowship, EVEN if they are a military spouse.

Here is a letter I wrote to a NMFA representative regarding my dissatisfaction with FINRA and their rules for the fellowship: (Don't worry, she asked me to write it and thus she knows the tone is not directed towards her)

I am writing regarding my disappointment with the rules created by FINRA regarding the eligibility for the 2010 FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Application. Individuals are not eligible for the fellowship if they are a "current employee of contractors serving the United States government" - this is an unfair rule. It seems as though spouses who work as a contracted employee for the government are being punished and not able to receive the same program support as, say a spouse who is working at a credit union or financial institution. Many spouses, due to their service member's duty location, live in a place where the best chance of employment is to work as a contracted employee for the government. It seems to me that this fellowship was created to help military spouses get the funding needed to get their financial counseling certification and "build a rewarding career that is flexible to the demands of the military family lifestyle."

I am a military spouse first and a contracted employee second. Every 3-4 years I will pack up and support my husband as he fulfills the oath he took to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that he will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that he will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over him". My husband joined the Navy and dedicated his life to the job of serving his country. The day that I married him, I too dedicated my life to the job of supporting my husband in every way possible to serve his country. The purpose of the fellowship is to help the spouse with the certification needed by the AFCPE to start a portable career. The job a spouse currently holds should not have any bearing on the fact that she wants to improve her self and find a career that will be available to her no matter where she moves.

It is disappointing to see that the purpose of this fellowship to help military spouses somehow got lost. The program should not discriminate against a spouse who is currently a contracted employee of the government; but should instead look at individuals on a case-by-case basis to make sure this certification is in fact for their own benefit, and not a ploy or scam. Your purpose is to support the military spouse who is in constant support of her service member - if that means you have to take an extra few minutes to legitimize the application, then I believe it is the least that can be done to show your support for the military family lifestyle.

I hope you will take the time to review your eligibility rules and remember why you started this fellowship in the first place: to support the military spouse.


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